Two game fish tournaments took place this last month in South East Queensland. The Gold Coast Gamefish Club held the Cabo Classic Heavy Tackle Tournament out of the Marina Quays resort off theCoomeraRiverand the Mooloolaba Gamefish Club held their Billfish Bonanza Tournament out of the Mooloolaba Yacht Club. Both tournaments were held in reasonable weather with the Billfish Bonanza suffering close to perfect conditions. Blue Marlin put in an appearance at both tournaments but in lesser numbers than 2006. There were also some light tackle Black Marlin and Sailfish available to boats in the right place at the right time in theCapeMoretonto Noosa region during the Bonanza. The Bribie Island Tournament is the next one on the calendar and that will virtually see out the South East Queensland tournament scene until October and the running of theSunshineCoast’s Sailfish Shootout from the Kawana Waters Hotel.
Final figures for the Billfish Bonanza saw 23 Blue Marlin tagged, two Black Marlin tagged, a Striped Marlin tagged and a Sailfish tagged from only 21 boats fishing the tournament. Considering not all boat fished heavy tackle greater than 100m of water depth these are good figures for Blue Marlin. Scarborough 48’ RivieraSoul Mate with deckie Jan Patterson aboard clinched the title of champion boat with four tagged Marlin on the Sunday and a couple of tagged fish from the Saturday. Boats who had their chances included Pleysier Shakara, Spartacus who seemed to be hooked up most of the day but fishing 24kg was costing them time on the good fish and the only SCGFC boat present, Andrew Earle’s Precision, Reef Hunter II who were leading after day one but had an all zero day on the Sunday. Interestingly the Reef Hunter II crew found and reported the floating half cab late on the Saturday afternoon that had been adrift for many months from one of theCoral Sea islands.
The Cabo Classic on the Gold Coast saw a late charge by local RivieraRocky to take out the tournament for the second time in three years. Rocky found its own little marine ecosystem, a floating rope with the entire food chain present from baitfish up. Off this rope and before other boats found them and joined in on the action, they pulled a few Wahoo, some Mahi Mahi including the heaviest weighed fish of the tournament, a 19kg model, as well as some Blue Marlin. Tournament sponsor Graham McCloy fishing out of his 43’ demo model Cabo Yacht came second, the Dobinson’s fishing out of their 46’ Cresta Amy Dee with gun angler Glen Crawford and Reel Chase decky Wade Alleyn aboard came third with some tagged Wahoo and two tagged Billfish, Monroe Howser’s Deep V 310 Fair Dinkum came third with two tagged Billfish and fifth was the Riviera corporate boat Fascination II skippered by Bobby Jones with the star crew of Alistair McGlashan www.almcglashan.com, Bluewater Magazine Editor Tim Simpson and David and Michael Green aboard. Thirty one vessels fished this tournament out of the Gold Coast Club’s home of the Marina Quays resort. The other big news out of this weekend was the swamping on the Gold Coast Seaway of Kingsley Young’s 26’ boat Men In Black. The boys were in the water for an hour before the alarm was raised by a jetski riderr who thought he had just found a whale when in fact it was the upturned hull. Everything worked out ok for the guys and they were in reasonable spirits back at the Marlin Bar on the Saturday night. A full rewire and a new motor and they should be in action for summer.
In general the fishing has been quite good considering it is April as I am writing this report. Light tackle size fish are being caught all over South East Queensland, both on the light tackle grounds and also out on the heavy tackle grounds. The bite on the heavy tackle grounds is hard to keep on top of at the moment. Just ask Kekoa (www.kekoa.com.au) skipper Luke Fallon. As I write he has light tackle specialist Gary Carter aboard chasing records on 3kg line. Luke has been everywhere from Fraser Island to Ballina chasing the elusive Blue Marlin record. They have been switching a few fish but it is yet to come together for the team. Along the way they have picked up a pendingYellowfin record, a pending Wahoo record on 2kg line as well as a very big Mahi Mahi. Captain Andrew Yeh on Outside Edge is experiencing the same thing, finding the Blue Marlin one day but not the next. Once you find them the job is keeping the hooks in them. Maybe doing a deckie course with the likes of ex Bluewater Magazine editor David Granville (www.davidgranvillephotography.com) aboard Andrew’s boat or with Bill Billson aboard his magnificent Woodnutt Viking II (www.australianmarlin.com) will help you to keep the hooks in. We went from a successful double hookup on Ymer social fishing with first time anglers, the Bugg family of Nathan and Darryl to losing six in a row. They are such a frustrating fish this year compared to last when they were hitting like no tommorrow. We got out of the rut with a Sailfish that was swimming around on the heavy tackle grounds. Lets hope they come in close soon like they did in the glory years of ’98-’99. The odd one is getting tagged by the boats putting in the time a little bit wider than the normal light tackle grounds. When they are finding the Blue Marlin guys like Nick Rogers and Craig Nykiel in their trailerboats from the Gold Coast and the Lee family in their 5.2m boat Misty on the Sunshine Coast are making every post a winner. At the time of writing Misty was actually the leadingSunshineCoast boat for Heavy Tackle.
The big news however this month which really lit up the internet chat boards was the capture by Rob Stevens ably assisted by Mick Brewer of a 120kg Blue Marlin from Rob’s 4.3m tiller steer open boat on a TLD25 loaded with 24kg line. I am not advocating everyone go out and try this but it is a great achievement for the boys after having a lot of people saying it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done. This caps off a remarkable season for Rob and his Ocean Cylinder boat with over 50 Billfish releases so far even though he isn’t a club angler.