It is the start of the busy time for the gamefish tournaments and already some have been run and won. It is just a pity that no one told the fish to turn up in any numbers. The results so far have all been quite poor, however that just leaves everyone else in the field in with a chance.
The boys from Reel Kool, the Gold Coast based 29ft Blackfin Express, recently competed in the Sailfish Shootout held out off the Sunshine Coast. Skipper Scott Macdonald with his regular crew took only a single sailfish tagged in the last couple of hours of the tournament on the Sunday afternoon to scoop the pool. It just proves that perseverance wins in the end and luck will eventually come your way.
Held at the same time in tropical north Queensland was the 21st Annual Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic. The crème de la crème of Marlin boats assemble for this tournament each year. And a win looks very good in your skipper’s resume.
Young skipper, Chris ‘Sharky’ Miles, nearly pulled off the remarkable feat of winning the tournament three years in a row. However, he came up one fish short to Captain Dave Pemberton driving Kanahoee with gun deckie Wade Allyn running the cockpit and Townsville Club stalwart Greg Gilbert aboard as angler. The Townsville based team of Kanahoee finished with nine fished tagged. A host of boats finished with eight fish including Sharky’s charge Maritimo 55 winning runner up on count back.
The fishing was pretty quiet for the tournament. The strong southeasterly weather didn’t make things enjoyable for the smaller craft in the fleet. There were plenty of stories of fish being hooked and fought, but it proved super hard to safely tag in the conditions.
The bite is yet to start in the Tropical North, with three tagged fish a day about the best you could hope for. Captain Luke Fallon of the 47’ Obrien Kekoa has been the man to fish near this season. He seems to have an uncanny knack of finding the fish when everyone else is struggling. It could also be the new 47’ Obrien rumoured to be a fish raising machine like no other.
Luke has had a couple of American record setters aboard already this season putting them onto heavy weighted fish, although some epic battles end in fish finding freedom. In between times he seems to be putting his charter-goers onto a better class of fish than the rest of the fleet. The bite started in earnest last year in November, so there is plenty of time for the fleet to catch up.
Mr. Consistancy, Jim Dalling, and his vessel Reel Chase is still chipping away at them for his charters. You can read all about his exploits on his daughter Kelly’s excellent blog that is worth keeping up to date with as the season progesses.
The big news to hail out of North Queensland this year was the grander black marlin caught out at Myrmidon Reef off Townsville. This fish smashed the grand mark, it in fact weighed 1,109lb many hours after being caught. People always knew they were out there but this is believed to be the first Australian grander marlin weighed south of Cairns.
The skipper was Townsville Club President, Tom Hatrick. He was driving his old Rivieria which was renamed Rose Red for new owner and Magnetic Island resident, Mark Hislop, who happend to be the lucky angler at the time.
On the local front things look good with a bit of bait out the front waiting for the gamefish to arrive. There is to be a small bite off Mooloolaba with Rodney Marks and CJ Maycock getting into the sailfish action.
I think the trophy is still open on the Gold Coast for the first fish of the year. The water has been unusually cold from the record cold winter waters. At the top of Fraser is the only consistent place to venture for billfish action.
Andrew Earle’s Precision Reef Hunter II has been seeing fish every trip along with Rob Wood’s Watch Tower and Kingaroy local Scott Baker shot out in his trailerboat Xtasea. Tagging two sailfish from a swag seen for the day and were back in the harbour by 5.30pm in the afternoon.
The upcoming tournaments to place in your calendar include: Hervey Bay; the Mooloolaba Billfish Bash (official AIBT) on 24-25 November; the Gold Coast Light Tackle Masters on 18-20 January 2008; and the Moreton Bay Billfish Challenge on the 24-28 January 2008.Reads: 1970