Well what can you say about Jim Dalling and his boat Reel Chase (www.reelchase.com) that hasn’t been said before. Coming off the back of 125 odd released Marlin during the month of August he blitzed the field in the Gilbert Group Mining Industry Challenge conducted by the Townsville Gamefish Club with eighteen tagged Marlin over the four possible days of fishing. The crew for this tournament comprised his wife Anne, daughter Kelly, Ken Douglas and number one deckie Wade. Wade clenched most of the individual angling awards for the tournament which would have been a nice change for him rather than wiring and tagging. Square Bear finished on fourteen, with Wild Turkey third place with twelve tags but they did win champion boat day five with eight tagged Marlin for the day. In the small boat section (under 8m) it was well done to local boat Sedative a Cairns Custom Craft with fourteen tags for their shortened three days of fishing. They took out champion boat on day four with nine tagged Billfish.
The big news of the event was the hooking and fighting for over six hours of a 350+kg fish on 6kg line by the crew of Utopia. Why this big girl was hanging around with the little fish is anyone’s guess but it was not alone and another huge fish was also hooked and lost during the tournament. I think their luck changed for the better in the Port Hinchinbrook Tournament held straight after the Townsville one. I also believe Andrew Ettinghausen from Escape with ET actually won one of the trophies in this tournament.
On the heavy tackle front which is in full swing as you read this, Iona was the first cab off the rank so to speak pulling into Cooktown early September. I believe they released four Black Marlin on that charter going 900 lbs, 650 lbs, 450 lbs and a rat at 250 lbs. Along with the Marlin they had a magic time on the big pelagics with triple hookups the norm on good Spanish Mackerel and Wahoo. My next report will in fact be written in Cooktown as I am fishing five weeks heavy tackle out on the Ribbon Reefs. Hopefully some good times and pictures will come out of this trip on a private boat.
At the time of going to press the prestigious Cummins MerCruiser Diesel Cairns Black Marlin 40th Anniversary Tournament was into its third day with Dean Beech’s Mauna Kea (www.maunakea.com.au/newsletter) leading on eight tagged Blacks from Kim Anderson’s Diamond Girl (www.kimandersensportfishing.com) and Bill Billson’s Viking II (www.australianmarlin.com) with six a piece. Day three honours went to Gold Coast Club Boat Andiamo owned by Tony Painter with three tagged fish.
Following the 40th Tournament will be the Mission Beach Tournament then the Yorkeys Knob Tournament. Followoing those is the big one, the 20th Riviera Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic. This is the tournament all the big names want to win. Young Chris “Sharky” Miles skippering Tenacious was the lucky captain last year. Who will it be this year? After the Lizard Island Tournament the next thing on the North Queensland Calendar will be the Half Moon Bay Tournament followed by the Ribbons Ladies Tournament. On the South East Queensland calendar, the SCGFC Sailfish Shootout will have been run and won but the Hervey Bay Boat Club Gamefish Club Tournament is set down for the weekend of the 17-19 November 2006 and I am sure Rob Wood will mention that in his report. The Mooloolaba Gamefish Club Billfish Bash will be the last thing on the Tournament calendar before Christmas and it is being held on the 25-26 November.
Onto the local scene and the Gold Coast continues to be quiet. Everyone seems to be biding their time till the run of small Black Marlin hit which traditionally occurs the week before Christmas on the Gold Coast. The top of Fraser Island and 1770 continue to be productive through spring and on the Sunshine Coast the fishing is steady but nowhere near as good as the glory years. Three tagged Billfish a day is a big day at the moment. Recent successful SCGFC boats include Fin Atic, Action Men and Keneka. The SCGFC end of year presentations were recently held at the Kawana Waters Hotel. Owning charterboats certainly paid off for the Yeh family (www.outsideedge.com.au). Nothing hones your fishing skills more than spending hours on the water and that is where charter boats have it over us weekend anglers. Good luck to them I say and points were only put in for tournaments and social days. Father Felix and his boat Outside Edge a 10.3m Black Watch scooped most of the trophies on offer and son Andrew with his 6.5m Kevlacat Inside Edge walked away with the rest. Clive Rutherford’s Riviera Slippery I gave the Yehs a good run for their money and did edge them out of a couple of awards. The trophies were well worth winning being Craig Smith (www.craigsmithmarineart.com) paintings of their successful boats in action. Every boat that experienced the magnificent run of Blue Marlin off Cape Moreton earlier in the year did well as the light tackle fish didn’t want to play the game last season. Let us hope they turn up this year, in fact the sea surface tempature graphs as of September are looking very encouraging. Let’s hope we also get some rain for the farmers and the impoundments as well. Remember a drought on land is a drought at sea!
Fin Atic in action off Mooloolaba recently. Photograph by Jeff “Phill” Oates.