Report: Record breaking billfish numbers at Gamex

LAST week we reported on the marlin mayhem that was unfolding at Exmouth’s annual Gamex comp, with over 300 billfish tagged and released during the opening three days of competition. As the remainder of the comp unfolded, the billfish bite remained red hot with some boats raising up to 10 marlin in a single day.

On the sixth and final day of competition the winds stayed light, allowing competitors to fish until the bitter end. One boat recorded an impressive 11-10-10 for raised, hooked and tagged billfish on the final day of competition. Black marlin in the 20 to 40kg category dominated the billfish division, with some sailfish, a handful of striped marlin and some big blues also tagged and released.

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The overall billfish statistics for the competition were: 1619 billfish raised, 1133 hooked with 601 tagged and released. That’s an incredible score for a billfish tournament, and possibly the highest number of billfish ever tagged and released in a single competition in Australia’s sportfishing history. If anyone has historical records proving higher statistics we’d be interested to hear from you.

In another interesting statistic, only three billfish were double-tagged for the whole competition, highlighting the shear number of billfish that are accessible off Exmouth’s current-rich western waters.

As baitballs were relatively scarce and the baitfish scattered, trolling current and contour lines in 60 to 120m of water proved popular, especially for the smaller trailerboats. The bigger blues were encountered further offshore in the 200m-plus depth range, which is about a 30-40 mile run offshore. Pakula skirts in 10″-14″ claimed plenty of fish throughout the week, with lumo green seeming to be a popular colour amongst some of the successful competitors.

Although the emphasis is largely on billfish, there are also line-class divisions for 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, and 15kg and over line classes. There were some fantastic fish caught on each line class, with multiple state and national record claims to be submitted, along with two potential world records. Some great wahoo, Spanish mackerel, mahi mahi, queenfish, golden travally, chinaman fish, tiger shark and spangled emperor were also weighed in during the competition.

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Credit must be given to Exmouth Game Fishing Club, the sponsors, event organisers, and countless volunteers who all contributed to make Gamex 2014 a highly successful and well-run competition. It’s fair to say Exmouth has securely cemented itself on the world stage of bluewater sportfishing. Word will doubtless travel fast amongst fishing circles with the number of billfish tagged and released over the duration of the 2014 competition (that’s 601 billfish in six days in case you missed it the first time!). Here’s predicting Gamex 2015 will undoubtedly be an even bigger event.


Stay tuned for a full rundown on competition results once the final results and point-scores become available.

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