The Moreton Bay Billfish Challenge is rapidly becoming one of the most hotly contested tournaments in Southern Queensland, due to the quality of competition and the friendly atmosphere.
The first day of the 2005 Challenge was cancelled due to bad wether, but 150 anglers on 42 boats fished the remaining day and a half of competition. Several teams consisted of family groups, with 13 ladies and nine juniors fishing. From the 365 strikes and 271 hook-ups there were 34 black marlin, four sailfish and 20 yellowfin tuna tagged. Several fish which exceeded the 8kg line class were weighed, including five yellowfin, 15 wahoo, two dolphinfish, one spanish mackerel and eight other tunas.
George Stanley aboard Kajiki was awarded champion angler overall and champion male angler on a time countback, after he and Angelo Zappala aboard Vesuvius both tagged three marlin. Outer Limits angler Bernie Knowles was champion female angler and Matt Turnbull was champion junior. Junior runner-up was Josh De Raadt on Water Rat and the most meritorious angler award went to Paul Evans on About Time for his 26kg longtail tuna. Champion angler tuna was Alex Fenwick on Compromise and the heaviest other species was a 16kg wahoo caught by Jim Reedy on Wistari. The first billfish capture of the tournament was recorded by Anthony Skillen on the Riviera 51 Fascination, just eight minutes after start fishing. The Riviera Trophy went to Happy Hour. Champion angler billfish was won by Joel Hatula from Witch Doctor on day one and Peter Gilmour from Battledeck on day two.
In the hotly contested champion boat and champion team categories the under 7m title went to Surf Cutter. Taking out top honours was the same team who won the 2003 Challenge aboard the Caribbean 28 Sambucca. They proved it wasn’t a fluke, by again taking out champion team overall and also champion boat over 7m aboard the new Black Watch 30, Vesuvius.
Organisers of the Moreton Bay Billfish Challenge would like to thank all the sponsors who help make a successful tournament and hope to see everyone again at the 2006 event. - Moreton Bay Boat Club Game Fish SectionReads: 648