Champion Tag and Release boat was Billistic; Team Calypso weighed a 331-pound marlin.
Champion tag and release boat was Billistic, captained by Brent Harding. They amassed 112,500 points to receive a Garmin prize for $12,500.
A combination of favorable fishing conditions, an abundance of marlin, and a feeling of fellowship among competitors best describes the 2018 Garmin Billfish Shootout.
The captains meeting at Wests Diggers Nelson Bay was well attended by more than 700 anglers, excited to hear the weekend weather report. Every skipper knew the marlin were out there, and they were eager to get fishing. Port Stephens mayor Ryan Palmer called in to wish everyone all the best for a successful tournament.
"We had another record number of entries this year, maintaining our status as the largest and most prestigious game fishing tournament of its genre in Australasia area," said Newcastle & Port Stephens Game Fish Club president Peter Simpson. "Totaling 166 boats and 766 anglers, crews tagged and released 152 black marlin, 90 blue marlin, 43 striped marlin and 7 short-billed spearfish. Four marlin and two sharks were weighed."
Congratulations to all competing skippers and anglers. Presentation night was at Wests Diggers Nelson Bay to hand out high-quality giveaways, surprise awards, well-deserved trophies, and substantial cash awards. Here are the results:
- Newcastle & Port Stephens Game Fish Club boat Calypso, skippered by Tim Dean, won the $12,500 Shimano prize for heaviest marlin over 150 kg (331 pounds). Their blue marlin weighed 231.4 kg (510.14 pounds). If Calypso's fish had weighed over 236 kg (520 pounds), they would have received a Garmin check for $100,000.
- The champion Tag and Release boat was Billistic, captained by Brent Harding. They amassed 112,500 points to receive a Garmin prize for $12,500.
- Heaviest shark over 350kg (772 pounds) was won by Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Club boat Victory 2, with a 375.6 kg (828-pound) tiger shark to receive the Game & Leisure Boats prize for $12,500
- Champion Junior Male: Thomas Frima 37, 500 pts
- Champion Junior Female: Not won
- Zacatack Award for the first marlin tagged by a Junior: Oscar Flett 17/02/18 at 8:50 a.m.
"A massive thank you to our major sponsors Garmin, Costa Sunglasses, Wests Diggers Nelson Bay, Shimano, and Game & Leisure Boats," said Peter Simpson. "Thanks to Neil Grieves and daughter, Leanne, for an excellent job manning base radio operations. I extend my gratitude to the entire staff who ensured the tournament was accomplished in a professional manner."