THE Luhrs Billfish Shootout 2012 was hosted as always by Newcastle Port Stephens Game Fishing Club.
At the briefing on Friday 7th February, President Peter Simpson welcomed anglers from all over Australia, followed by the introduction of one of the few legends of marlin fishing in Australia, Captain Billy Billson. Billy surprised everyone by not speaking about marlin fishing but instead talking about marine safety; a subject which he is well qualified to speak on being a Master IV, and racking up thousands of hours at sea. Billy spoke about the large number of boats departing Port Stephens at 4am, travelling in close proximity while in restricted visibility - this was met by applause from skippers and crew.
Day one saw the fleet of eighty plus boats head east in fabulous conditions with only one thing in mind. We did not have to wait long until the radio was buzzing with marlin captures! I fished the Thursday and Friday prior to the tournament on board Capt. Billy's Viking II for a total of thirteen Striped Marlin released from eighteen shots. I was not surprised to hear stripes dominating Saturday's marlin count. I fished on board local boat “Akuma” and our count was one black marlin and one striped marlin tagged & released from three shots.
Day two and it was more of the same. The weather gods smiled on us for a second day in a row. Boats finished fishing at 4pm. Unfortunately, on board “Akuma” we only did one thing wrong all day - we zigged when we should have zagged - coming up with just two leather jackets for the day. But we enjoyed every minute out there!
Skippers and crew headed for the trophy presentation at the West’s Diggers Club Nelson Bay, a fabulous venue befitting this tournament. The following boats came in for mention: Viking II, Diversion, Smart Bill, Anike, Born Free, Shakara, Pelagic, Calypso and The Force, but the big cheque for $10,000 went to Gun Runner with most fish tagged and released thanks to Major Sponsors Luhrs Sportfish Boats.
The largest fish of the tournament was a 236kg Blue Marlin caught by “Baja", receiving a whopping $10,000 thanks to major sponsor ISUZU.
Congratulations to President Peter Simpson and Nigel Sec/Manager Newcastle and Port Stephens Game Fishing Club for handling such a well run presentation.
Tournament Statistics, a total of 189 marlin were tagged and released, 19 Black, 17 Blue and 153 Striped Marlin. To catch a marlin or find out how to catch a marlin from your boat go to. www.australianmarlin.com