Interclub 2011: Mixed conditions, 240 marlin T&R

THE 2011 Nautilus Boat Insurance Interclub tournament hosted by the NSWGFA concluded last weekend at Port Stephens on the NSW mid-north coast. Once again, the Interclub provided some fantastic fishing and some intense competition as over 170 boats competed for the various trophy categories.

The first two days of the tournament provided anglers with excellent conditions. Flat calm seas and a very light nor’easter made fishing extremely comfortable for all entrants on the first two days – whether they were fishing from an 18-foot trailerboat or a 50-foot flybridge gameboat.

inline_392_ 4 610.jpgPre-tournament briefing.

The first morning saw a fairly even split between the majority of the fleet focussing their efforts on two main areas: one being the famous “Carpark” (grid referenceSierra/Romeo 7) and another area that has been holding some real nicebait schools in 70-80 fathoms about 8nm north of the Carpark (gridref Papa 8). It was this area to the north (Papa 8) that provided the best fishing on day 1, with several boats tagging multiple marlin for the day. It came as no surprise that day 2 saw an increase in the number of boats concentrating their efforts on this hotspot; as many crews headed into the pack looking for a hookup. Day 2 saw local guns Capt. Shayne Wilson and crew tag seven marlin for the day onboard The Force – this was the highest daily total for the comp.

Unfortunately, the second weekend of competition saw some pretty fierce weather move in from the south.Several of the larger boats headed to sea in the darkness, only to be confronted with 3m+ seas and a solid 25+ knots of wind from the SE. After hearing these larger boats relay over the radio that conditions were pretty severe, the tournament committee made the decision to cancel fishing on day 3. The 4th and final day of competition dawned with slightly improved conditions, although they were far from comfortable in the morning. Most crews slogged their way to the shelf through the southerly slop and those towards the top of the leader board found a few fish to help keep them in the running. Again, it was the two major bait holding zones of the Carpark and Papa 8 that provided the bulk of the action.

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Another striped marlin prior to being tagged and released.

At the end of it all, the local guns from NPSGFC Team 1 proved too hard to beat in the T&R category, for the 6th year running! Their focussed and dedicated efforts saw them accumulate a total of 334750 points, ahead of BrokenBay GFC Team 1 who finished runner-up on 274500 points.

The Champion Boat for the T&R category was The Force, skippered by Capt. Shayne Wilson, who finished with a total of 123000 points ahead of Askari, skippered by Capt. Corey Hard, who finished runner-up on 100529 points.

In the Capture division, it was Broken Bay GFC Team 4 who took out the champion capture team trophy on76615.50 points, ahead of Lake Macquarie GFC Team 2 who finished with 61153.91 points. The Champion Boat Capture was DEALNE from Broken Bay GFC who had a great few days of light tackle marlin fishing to finish with 45261 points, ahead of Head Hunter from Lake Macquarie GFC.

In total, 240 marlin were tagged and released by the fleet over three days of fishing, with over 60 per cent of those being striped marlin. This year saw plenty of larger fish hanging around the bait schools, and a lot of those fish tagged were quite solid and upwards of 90-100kg. There were reports of some tagged stripes that knocked on the door of 120-130kg, and several large blue marlin up to around 220kg were tagged and released in 75-80 fathoms. This lucky dip of fish sizes saw some spectacular sport for those running the now commonplace 15kg lineclass!

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NSWGFA President Don Goswell was all smiles after another successful tournament.

A full listing of results is availablefrom the NSWGFA website

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