2010 LUHRS BILLFISH SHOOTOUT
The fishing off Port Stephens prior to the 2010 Luhrs Billfish Shootout was nothing short of sensational with many boats reporting multiple blue, black and striped marlin hook-ups per day, some tagging double figures.
So as the weekend of the February 20 and 21 approached, the stage was set for one of the best Luhrs Billfish Shootouts ever.
Most of the fishing action was along the continental shelf in previous weeks so the majority of the 55 boats elected to run straight to local hotspot The Carpark. It soon became clear that the fishing was still red hot and within the first hour Askari recorded the first tag of the tournament.
Farther north along the shelf another bite was also occurring and Born Free recorded two quick tags of both black and striped marlin. From then on it was consistent action as most of the fleet found plenty of bites.
By days end most boats had tagged at least one fish but it was Born Free who had edged clear of the field with a total of seven fish for the day. However, things were still close with the ever consistent Capt. Tim Dean onboard Calypso (along with two female English clients who had never seen a marlin before) tagging five. Kaos and Diversion were close behind.
As the second day began it was Born Free, skippered by local legend George Trinkler Jnr, that recorded the first tag a mere 12 minutes after the start of fishing. But just as the crew thought they had a comfortable lead their attention was turned to the nearby Calypso where Capt. Dean had recorded two quick hook-ups and was hot on their heels. It soon became apparent that it was a clash of the titans with the two top crews battling it out until the end of fishing at 3pm.
As the call came to cease fishing it was Born Free that narrowly edged out the comeback from Calypso by just one fish with a total of 11 tags for the weekend to claim Luhrs Champion Boat Tag & Release and the $10,000 winner’s cheque from Tony Poole, the Australian Luhrs distributor.
It was a different story, however, for the capture boats with no fish weighing above the minimum 150kg limit. Of course, every tournament has hard-luck stories, with two boats saying they could have captured the winning fish.
The first came from The Force, where Shayne Wilson had a five-hour battle with a blue marlin, on 24kg line, that eventually won its freedom when the trace broke. The second was from another Port Stephens boat Cool Running’s, when, after hooking and fighting another nice blue on 24kg for two hours, their rod eventually snapped under the relentless pressure.
So with the 2010 Isuzu Capture Trophy cheque still up for grabs it was elected by Newcastle Port Stephens Gamefishing Club & sponsor Isuzu to jackpot the prize to $20,000 for the capture division next year!
Major sponsor Luhrs has committed to supporting this enjoyable event for the next three years. The 2011 dates are February 19 and 20. — Brent Hancock
For more info, visit www.npsgfc.com