The 8th Annual Port Hinchinbrook Classic was run on September 16–20, from the wonderful base of Port Hinchinbrook in Cardwell north Queensland. The field consisted of 41 boats: Division 1 had 19 boats and Division 2 had 22 boats. Overall 130 anglers were battling it out for cash and prizes to $50,000.
Division 1 is all about tagging and releasing as many marlin and sailfish as possible over the competition hours. Within the Division were 40 foot plus boats alongside 15 foot boats all chasing these amazing sportfish! The line class is set at 6kg and anglers fish a variety of lures and baits. Division 1 anglers also qualify to fish for Division 2 species.
Division 2 is the total opposite. You get a chance to go up a river and drop a prawn for a jack or barra or head offshore and chase GTs or mackerel. The boats range from tinnies to 6m offshore trailer boats. This section really is for everyone!
Team Qld Fishing Monthly (Travis Davies, Greg Livingstone and Shayne McKee) was invited along to join in on the festivities and some fishing of course! 2008 we won the overall trevally trophy and we intended trying a few other species this year in between getting our arms ripped off by GTs. We were supplied a Formosa boat from the Tinny Shack in Mission Beach, and we couldn’t fish this event without the fantastic support of the locals.
It was drizzling rain and overcast when the organiser lined all boats up just outside the harbour, so the start was an amazing sight. To watch millions of dollars worth of boats have a race-style start and scream off to sea was awe-inspiring!
Prefishing had shown the marlin and sailfish available were feeding just inside and outside the Great barrier Reef, which is only about 65km from home base! Unfortunately the billfish were a little quiet throughout the competition and as the daily skeds were radioed through, Division 1 anglers had little to talk about. The skeds (or schedules) occur every few hours so the organisers can keep in touch with the field for safety reasons. Additionally, whenever a Division 1 team hooks a billfish they need to report this to the base. Telling the organisers how many fish were raised, hooked and landed does this. An example is 1-1-0, which means 1 fish raised, one fished hooked and 0 fish landed.
Division one results for the event were 24-20-12, which means the event recorded 24 strikes, 20 billfish were hooked and 12 fish were tagged and released.
The 12 billfish total was from 12 different boats, so the winner was decided on countback to the first billfish caught. Champion angler was also decided via the countback system.
The winning team and champion angler came from a local boat called Plan B and the champion angler who was on the boat was Lex Coutts, who walked away with cash and prizes for his fish, and was a very happy man to say the least.
Division 2 teams had plenty of options from chasing barra in the sticks to GT and mackerel offshore.
Team Fishing Monthly had GTs on their mind and that’s what we decided to do. This year the team decided to chase and battle these amazing fish and release them to fight another day. We stuck to this plan for the first three days then decided to head to a new area we had not fished. It was a deep drop off which we were told held good emperor and nannygai and we chose to use the banana-style jigs from Shimano and L.Wilson. We caught a heap of fish, but none that would have troubled the leaders so we then headed back to the GT spot to see if we could get Greg onto a GT. The GTs had sorted him out in no uncertain terms for the first three days of the event and the final day proved no different. But as they say it’s the fish you don’t catch that brings you back and Greg is keen to get back and experience the power of Hinchi’s GTs again. ,
We did manage a good Spanish mackerel but it got pipped on the scales by another boat. The mackerel were really on fire this year with most offshore boats getting into them. They really were the stand out species. We also caught some spectacular fish that were outside the species like shark, leatherjackets and gold spot cod.
We always made it back to watch the other teams weigh in their fish. It’s pretty exciting when an angler weighs a tuna in at 5kg and the next one goes 5.1kg. It’s a real nail biter for the teams and spectators.
We watched as grunter, barra, jacks, salmon and trout were weighed by most boats. Every team seemed to weigh fish each day, so Division 2 was very close and evenly matched.
The event was wrapped up with a massive presentation evening in the restaurant at the resort, with all the prizes and cash given away to the lucky winners. It was fantastic to attend and we were made to feel very welcome by all anglers and after two years fishing this event we are now part of the crew and are making a lot of new friends from attending.
Being a Brisbane-based company an event like this could not be possible in North Queensland without help from the locals. We would like to thank The Tinny Shack in Mission Beach for supplying a brand new Formosa boat for the event fully equipped with sounder, GPS and safety gear, also Sharon Cameron the operation manager of the resort, for the room and extras she helped us with. I also would like to thank Shayne and Greg for the time we were at the event, we are a close team and have a lot of fun together - of course thick skin is paramount before you step a foot on the boat!
Accommodation for Fishing Monthly was in the Lake Vue Cabins in the Port Hinchinbrook Marina facility. This style of room is first class with heaps of room and a spa to relax in with a beer at the end of the day. These are self-contained so fill it up like home and live like kings. Contact Port Hinchinbrook on 07 4066 2000 or see them and book online at www.porthinchinbrook.com.au .
Winners Division 1
|1||Plan B||Mick Clifford, Lex Coutts, Ian Barrett||$3000|
|2||Odds On||Ben Johnstone, Mick Lennon, James ‘Custard Arms’ Burn, Aaron Warat||$3000|
|3||Spanish Dancer||Dean Grieve, Ian Patch, Michael Fox, Andrew Moore||$3000|
|4||Kanahoee||Jack Eskine, George Campbell, Wade Alleyn||$3000|
|1||Plan B||Mick Clifford, Lex Coutts, Ian Barrett||$15,000 plus prizes|
|2||Kanahoee||Jack Eskine, George Campbell, Wade Alleyn||$5000|
|Champion Captain and Crew||Plan B||Mick Clifford, Lex Coutts, Ian Barrett||$1000|
|Champion Angler||Lex Coutts||Trophy|
Winners Division 2
|Mangrove Jack||Kevin Jensen||1.42||$100|
|Red Emperor||Nil weighed|
|Coral Trout||Colin Mackay||4.34||$100|
|Mangrove Jack||Allan Hancock||1.22||$100|
|Red Emperor||Craig Teitzel||2.70||$100|
|Coral Trout||John Benton||2.84||$100|
|Mangrove Jack||Nil weighed|
|Red Emperor||Nil weighed|
|Coral Trout||Craig Teitzel||2.62||$100|
|Mangrove Jack||Craig Teitzel||1.50||$100|
|Red Emperor||Paul Sharpley||6.16||$100|
|Coral Trout||Paul Sharpley||4.86||$100|
|Mangrove Jack||Craig Teitzel||1.5||$500|
|Red Emperor||Paul Sharpley||6.16||$500|
|Coral Trout||Paul Sharpley||4.86||$500|