55 boats and 233 anglers competed in the Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Clubs Big Fish Bonanza competition held on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th February in a competition that I’m sure will be remembered for many years to come. A briefing was held at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club on Friday night for all competitors as President Paul Hogg outlined the tournament rules which had been amended this year to allow vessels to stay Saturday night in Newcastle at the Cruising Yacht Club as the dredging of Swansea Channel has not been completed and water depth towards the dropover is still shallow. Neil Grieves, our tournament radio operator (aka Gamefish Base) gave competitors the latest forecast which seemed too good to be true. Perfect weather conditions were predicted for the entire weekend and after a week of rain and strong windsthis was music to our ears. Most anglers talked about how good the fishing had been and wondered if it would continue over the tournament. I’m sure that most just couldn’t believe how good the fishing turned out to be!!!!
The boats headed to sea in near perfect conditions with most heading north-east to an area known as “The Carpark”. Conditions looked good with water temperatures above 25C and plenty of bait starting to lift early in the day so the marlin boats were soon off to an early start. Many boats were reporting multiple hook-ups with some boats fishing so close together that a few fish were lost by going under other boats.
As the day drew on it was obvious that the shark fishing boats were also going to have a great day with hook-ups of large Mako and Tiger sharks starting to be reported.
By the days end the tally had reached 61 Marlin and 1 shark tagged and released. The capture boats also saw plenty of action with 7 marlin, 7 sharks (consisting of 3 Makos, 3 Tigers and 1 Whaler) and 1 MahiMahi being brought to the weigh station. The largest shark was a 503.5kg Tiger shark caught on 15 kg by Bundy 1. A top marlin capture was a 94.5 kg striped marlin on 8 kg line for Iona 2 and a 20.5kg MahiMahi on 6kg from Blue Blooded.
Most boats headed out early on Sunday morning anticipating a busy day and they were not disappointed. By the time the boats started to reach the shelf it was obvious that we were going to be part of an amazing day. Reports of captures and tags started to flood into game fish base with many multiple hook-ups and extremely hard to keep count of all the captures and tags on each sched. By the end of Day 2, 158 marlin and 4 sharks were reported tagged and released to game fish base. Capture Boats reported 12 marlin and 1 shark to be brought into the weigh station at Swansea.
Total Fish Tally for the tournament:
Marlin Tag & Release 219 Sharks Tag & Release 5 OGF T&R 0
Marlin Captured 19 Sharks Captured 8 OGF Cap 1
Total Marlin 238 Total Sharks 13 Total OGF 1
Tag and Release Results: Capture Results:
Champion Boat: Champion Boat:
Diversion 195,000pts Offshore 42,044.26 pts
Runner-up Champion Boat: Runner-up Champion Boat:
Flying Fisher 179,000 ptsKurly 34,558 pts
Third Place Boat: Third Place Boat:
Shakara 153,000 pts Blue Blooded 31,611 pts
Fourth Place Boat: Fourth Place Boat:
Calypso 150,000 pts (countback) Outrage 31,096 pts
Fifth Place Boat: Fifth Place Boat:
Seaka 150,000 pts (countback) Stripper 28,368.8 pts
Tag & Release Angler Capture Angler
CHAMPION ADULT MALE ANGLER CHAMPION ADULT MALE ANGLER
JAMES HOLT 149,500pts BRANKO SPELJKO 31,096 pts (Diversion) (Outrage)
CHAMPION ADULT LADY ANGLER CHAMPION ADULT LADY ANGLER
KARLY CURTIS AMANDA CROMARTY
97,500 pts (Ningaloo) 15,094.5 PTS (Iona 2)
CHAMPION JUNIOR ANGLER CHAMPION JUNIOR ANGLER
JACINTA THOMAS 81,500 pts (Amakura) NOT WON
CHAMPION SMALL FRY ANGLER CHAMPION SMALL FRY ANGLER
NOT WON NOT WON
MOST POINTS T&R MARLIN HEAVIEST MARLIN
JAMES HOLT 149,500 (Diversion) AMANDA CROMARTY (Iona 2)
94.5KG STRIPED MARLIN ON 8KG
MOST POINTS T&R SHARKS HEAVIEST SHARK
CHAD FINCH 2,300pts (THE PACKAGE) BILLY GRAY (BUNDY 1)
503.5KG TIGER SHARK ON 15KG
MOST POINTS T&R OGF HEAVIEST OGF
NOT WON NATALIE KEEN (BLUE BLOODED)
20.5KG MAHI MAHI ON 6KG
I’m sure that all competitors will agree that this is an amazing tally for a 2 day tournament with 55 boats competing.
252 fish tagged or captured for the tournament is an exceptional result. It was great to be part of such a good tournament and one that will be talked about for years to come.
We are all hoping that the numbers of fish stay around for the forthcoming tournaments to be fished out of Port Stephens.
Tight LinesPaul Besoff