The Australia Day long weekend in January saw the largest yet contingent of boats and anglers for the Redcliffe Billfish Challenge, hosted by the Moreton Bay Boat Club Game and Sportfish Section.
45 boats manned by 177 anglers and crew fished the three-day event in the waters between Point Lookout and Point Cartwright. The final skeds revealed 360 strikes, 304 hook-ups and 192 captures consisting of 24 black marlin, 15 sailfish, 19 yellowfin tuna, nine dolphinfish, 14 wahoo, two cobia, one Spanish mackerel and 108 assorted fish which didn’t exceed the regulation 8kg line class.
Many crews struggled as a result of the poor weather and it was a credit to the number of boats in the Under 7m class who tolerated 15-25-knot winds and seas which often exceeded 2m.
The final winners were announced at a presentation breakfast on Sunday morning. Sue Douglas on Luna took out Champion Angler and Champion Female Angler after tagging four billfish and weighing another species. Champion Male Angler was Simon Fletcher on Heatwave and the junior title was won by Ben Kelly on Play’n’Hard with Brock Taylor runner up.
Both the Champion Boat Over 7m and Champion Team titles were claimed by Heatwave, a Norcat 38, after they tagged six billfish. Sir Reel took out the Champion Boat Under 7m and Joel Hautula on Witchdoctor was named Champion Angler Tuna after a countback.
Karen Williams on Blue Black tagged the first billfish of the tournament, the first billfish by a lady angler and was also named Champion Angler Billfish for Day One after a countback. Simon Fletcher took out the Day Two Champion Angler Billfish title after tagging two billfish, and Sue Douglas on Luna took out the Day Three award and also last billfish of the tournament. The heaviest other species was a 13.2kg wahoo caught by Scott Grant on Sir Reel and Laurie Munro of Wistari took out a meritorious angler award.
The Moreton Bay Boat Club Game and Sportfish Section would like to thank their sponsors, including Sundown Marine, Hoffstays Jewellers, Redcliffe City Council, Reelax Marine, Gary Howard Custom Rods, Seiko Watches, Remax Reliance Realty and Noble Super-V. The club’s next major event is the Inaugural Redcliffe Heavy Tackle Tournament on March 23-26. Call Frank Downey on (07) 3886 3245 for a tournament brochure.
The Champion Crew at the Redcliffe Billfish Challenge 2006.Reads: 177