Results from the Cairns Bluewater Game Fishing Club Light-Tackle Billfish Tournament
Held at Fitzroy Island, the Cairns Bluewater Game Fishing Club’s 3-day Light-Tackle Billfish Tournament in late August produced 247 tagged billfish from just 35 boats. Team Levante, skippered by Chris ‘Sharky’ Miles, won the top prize with 23 tags.
The Cairns Bluewater Game Fishing Club’s Light-Tackle Billfish Tournament in late August was a resounding success. Held at Fitzroy Island, just offshore from Cairns, the 3-day event took full advantage of the season’s prolific run of sailfish and baby black marlin on the inshore reefs. Using only 10-kg (22-pound) tackle, the fleet of 35 boats soon divided into those heading to the northern grounds and those staying closer to the Island.
Three boats hooked-up right after lines in, with the first tag placed just 14 minutes after the tournament start. The action continued to be fast and furious with 31 black marlin tagged by 10 a.m. and a total of 99 billfish tagged by the end of the day.
The perfect conditions continued for the second day, delivering sunshine, 10-knot winds and water temperatures around 24 degrees C (75 degrees F). Another 27 marlin were tagged within the first two hours, and the day ended with tags in 71 black marlin.
The competition was still open at the beginning of the third and final fishing day, with several potential champion boats and anglers neck-and-neck. Rising winds made conditions more challenging for the smaller boats, but in another blistering start to the day, there were 38 tags reported early on. The little blacks kept biting all day. Marlin were still being fought at cease ﬁshing, resulting in a race against time to get back to the jetty with the tag cards.
A total of 247 billfish were tagged over the three days, raising the benchmark from the previous high of 178 in 2014.
The champion team in the larger boat class (boats measuring greater than 7.5 meters or 24.6 feet) was Levante, skippered by Chris ‘Sharky’ Miles, with 23 tags. As winners of this qualifying event, they also won entry to the 2018 Offshore World Championships in Costa Rica. Champion team for boats under 7.5 meters was awarded to Ocean Haze, skippered by Chris Headley, with 9 tags.
Next year's tournament will be held from August 15 to 18, 2018.