THE Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic is a catch and release competition with a 10kg line class only, meaning southern bluefin tuna must equal 10kg line weight (or minimum 780mm long) to qualify as a tournament size fish.
Each competing boat receives a custom made aluminium rod bent at each end at 780mm to make it easy to measure and to get the tuna back in the water quickly and in good condition.
The Tournament was originally created in 2005 by fishing gurus and world record holders, Ron Forster and Rolf Czabayski, and was then called The Shootout. Peter Teakle and Nina Mattingley took over the Competition in 2011 and renamed it the Port Lincoln Tuna Classic and it has continued to go from strength to strength.
The briefing night for this year's event was held Friday 5th April at the Marina Hotel with 140 people attending. At this time, it was obvious the weather was going to be perfect, but there were grave concerns for the amount of tuna about.
Fishing hours were 09.00 - 18.00 on Saturday and 08.00 - 15.00 on Sunday.
The Tournament was run by Peter Teakle and Nina Mattingley using a base radio from their home at the Lincoln Cove Marina.
Peter conducted the first Radio Sked at 12.10pm (three hours after start fishing on Saturday) with Nina and Marketing Director of Riviera Stephen Milne and his wife Kim, eagerly waiting for the initial results. Would there be any fish announced at all?
Russell Bianco on Majessnik called in with 32 tuna, followed by Rob Swincer on Saltiga with 36 and Bryan Stokes on C'World with an astonishing 39 SBTs, in three hours! The pressure was off and the committee were very relieved to say the least.
628 fish were caught and released on Day 1 with Bryan Stokes and his team on C'World leading the field.
Sunday, Day 2 and final day of the Competition, provided flat calm seas, no wind and warm temperatures. Fishing concluded at 15.00 and Peter and Nina couldn't believe the Final Scores. The fleet of 20 boats caught and released 897 fish with another three fish being boated and weighed for the Heaviest Fish Trophy and the Runner Up Heaviest Fish.
The Presentation Night was held at Port Lincoln Hotel in their magnificent Ballroom where 155 guests dined and were entertained by the Trophy Presentations.
Champion Boat winner (From left) - Stephen Milne (Marketing Director of Riviera), C'Word owner Bryan Stokes, John Monahan, Panteli Pyromallis, Tim Steer and Peter Webber Photo by: Tom McNab, Sharpshooting.
Champion Boat runner-up (From left) - Stephen Milne (Marketing Director of Riviera), Frank Ferella, Elio Auciello, Ches Detomaso, Frank Gabbana and owner of Majessnik Russell Bianco. Photo by: Tom McNab, Sharpshooting