Sixty-four teams tagged and released 100 black marlin during the recent Cummins MerCruiser Diesel Cairns Black Marlin Tournament held on 26–29 September.
The tournament attracted international anglers from USA, London, New Zealand, New Guinea, Zimbabwe, Denmark and Hong Kong. Legendary angler Richard Obach, whose record 1064kg black marlin back in 1966 was being celebrated, flew in from the USA to attend the anniversary functions.
The first tag of the tournament went to Robert Aukett from New Zealand’s Bay of Islands aboard Take Time, skippered by Tony Kemp. Robert just beat Julie Salthouse on Don’t Ask Me, the Cummins MerCruiser sponsor’s boat, for the daily cash prize of $1,000 and bronze trophy for the first marlin tag.
Lorraine Stewart, fishing from Moana III, caught and tagged an estimated 950lb (432kg) black marlin late in the afternoon. Lorraine went on to tag another two marlin during the remainder of the tournament.
On day one 24 marlin were tagged including a fish by Dave Curnock on Sea Baby IV. Dave is remembered for his capture of a 1133lb black marlin from his 5m tinnie Sea Mite in November 1979. The Broken Bay Game Fishing Club’s team on Mauna Kea shot to an early lead with three of the 24 tags.
On day two Peter Schultz, an entrant from Moreton Bay Game Fishing Club, kick-started the day with a marlin tag at 10.35am for the first fish daily prize on Shakara.
Bill Billson’s Viking II team came into contention with another two marlin to add to the four caught the previous day. Similarly, Kim Anderson’s Diamond Girl team tagged three marlin which made a total of four tags for the two days.
However, nothing could stop the Mauna Kea boys who caught another three marlin, keeping them in the lead with a total of six tags. Cooktown angler Sue Ahlers, aboard Hellraiser a 9m Bertram, proved the girls could hold their own when she caught and tagged two marlin to add to her 13.6kg cleaned dolphinfish.
Day three proved to be the most productive of the tournament with 35 tags. Brisbane’s Les Hancock’s tag aboard Kamari, Team # 2 the Cummins sponsor’s boat was the first for the day. Jeffrey Mount on Sir Reel, skippered by Laurie Wright, also caught and tagged another big marlin estimated to be 950lb (432kg).
The three lead boats, Mauna Kea, Viking II and Diamond Girl all tagged two marlin during the day, making a total of eight tags for Mauna Kea and six tags for both Viking II and Diamond Girl.
On the fourth and final day Ralf Weiss, from Hong Kong, was fishing from Kajiki when he caught the first marlin at 10.12am. Sally Rice from Hawaii also caught a black marlin from Balek III, skippered by Paul Whelan. Sally is remembered for her two world record marlin over 1000lb caught in TNQ in the 1970s.
Only 16 marlin were tagged during the day including two fish by both anglers on Viking II, giving them a total of eight tags. However, when Mauna Kea’s angler Martin Booth tagged a marlin it was all over bar the shouting — a tremendous effort by the Broken Bay GFC boat and team.
Taking out champion team honours at the presentation dinner was Mauna Kea, a Cummins MerCruiser-powered gameboat, skippered by Corey Hard and crewed by Glenn Johnston. The winning team of Jeff Jennings, Rod Findlay, Martin Booth, and Darren Ikin won an impressive $47,000 in cash, bronze trophy and prizes. The prizes included free entry into the Lizard Island GFC Black Marlin 20th Anniversary Tournament and an invitation to the Rolex/IGFA International Offshore Championship Tournament to be held in May 2007
Take Time’s team won a pair of custom rods courtesy of Oz Formula One Rods, Laurie Casey and Shimano Tiagra 130# reels courtesy of Dunphy Sportsfishing, Shimano. Awarded from draw of the four boat winners of first fish tagged daily over the four days.
A 22.8kg cleaned wahoo secured the overall and daily heaviest gamefish prize for Craig Wyatt fishing from the local Half Moon Bay Game Fishing Club entrant, On Strike, skippered by John Pecl. Other daily gamefish prizes went to Tom Hinrichs, On Strike, for a 15.7kg wahoo; Luke Searle, New Moon, for his 6.4kg dolphinfish; and Con Savis, Top Shot, with a 21.2kg wahoo.
The first and last tournament tag trophies were awarded to Robert Aukett on Take Time, and Matthew Graham on Barry Cross’s Joe Joe, respectively. The team captains’ daily prize for the most marlin tagged went to Jeff Jennings on Mauna Kea for days one and two on a count back, Tony Painter on Andiamo on day three, and John Clarke on Kajiki on day four on a count back.
Runner-up boat and team went to Bill Billson’s Viking II, whose two anglers, Henning Hasle from the USA and Nils Christian Foss from Denmark, won a trophy and $10,000 cash.
Corey Hard and Glenn Johnston took out the honours for the champion skipper and crew on Mauna Kea.
Riviera, the exclusive luxury cruiser sponsor for the Cummins MerCruiser Diesel Cairns Black Marlin Tournament, awarded Diamond Girl a special trophy as the highest point scoring team aboard a Riviera cruiser.
Brad Craft, captain and owner of Pirate, a 10m Ocean Craft, won the lucky draw for Cummins-powered boats. Brad and his partner will be flying to Adelaide for an all expenses paid holiday to the V8 Clipsal 500 round 1 in March 2007 courtesy of Cummins MerCruiser.
Lucky Draw compliments of Jarvis Walker and Penn Reel awarded to Peter Cox of Northern Territory Game Fishing Association who fished on Calypso. Bransfords Tackle proudly sponsored for most tagged fish using Circle hooks and lures awarded to the vessel Diamond Girl. – Barbara Leptig and Jennifer McDougallReads: 2003