FISHING: Title number seven beckons

NEWCASTLE-Port Stephens Game Fishing Club team 1 are well on track for a phenomenal seventh straight NSW Game Fishing Association Interclub team title after the first two days of fishing.

The team, comprising Gunrunner, The Force, Diversion, Anarchy and Born Free, lead the 50th anniversary tournament with 370,000 points (37 marlin) heading into this weekend.

Broken Bay (280,000) appear to be the only club capable of overhauling them. But as all competitors are aware, there are no guarantees in game fishing.

‘‘We’re not getting cocky,’’ Brent ‘‘Hammer’’ Hancock, who is fishing on Born Free, said yesterday.

‘‘We’re eight or nine fish ahead, but anything can still happen, so we’ll go out this weekend and fish for the team.’’

Hammer knows what he’s talking about when it comes to miracle comebacks.

At Interclub a couple of years ago Hammer came from six fish down on the final day to claim champion tag and release boat.

Gary Holt’s Diversion (12 marlin) and Broken Bay boat Shakara (11) are neck and neck in this year’s T&R boat division.

Gary’s son James Holt leads the individual champion tag and release section. Perfect conditions greeted competitors last weekend and the fish were plentiful but finnicky.

‘‘We saw plenty on the surface and marked heaps on the sounder,’’ Hammer said. ‘‘But the bite wasn’t as hot as it’s been over the last couple of weeks.

‘‘That could be due to the fact there’s a lot of bait and the fish are flat out feeding.’’

As predicted, most of the action was in the 80 to 100 fathom mark out on the Carpark.

‘‘We had 100 boats in a three-mile radius last weekend,’’ Hammer said.

A feature of the competition thus far has been the number of massive tiger sharks weighed.

Garry Fairlie’s crew on trailerboat No Excuse registered two on Sunday, one weighing 532kg the other approximately 460kg.

There were a number of others pushing 400kg.

Competition was tight in both divisions heading into day two of the midweek NSWGFA 50th Anniversary Billfish Challenge yesterday.

Only one fish separated Amokura (five), Running Bear, Gunrunner, Flying Fishing and Ever Willing in the over eight-metre category.

It was a similar story in the under-eight metre division.

Scott Lee, aboard Gunrunner, fought a blue marlin estimated at around 270kg for five hours on Wednesday before it got off.

Lizard Island Game Fishing Club boat Carbon Trading took out the Ladies Day event on Monday.

The champion female won with four marlin; the first was her first ever beakie.

Interclub concludes on Sunday with a presentation night at Wests, formerly Nelson Bay RSL.

There will be a food and wine festival on the foreshore this weekend and a free concert.

NSW Game Fishing Association is also putting on a huge fireworks display on Saturday night.

Check out the most recent Fish of the Week winners by clicking below.

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Top quality fish around

FOR those not into game fishing, Paul ‘‘Ringo’’ Lennon, from Nelson Bay Tacklepower, reports the estuary is firing for flathead, bream, whiting and tailor.

‘‘The flattie have been real good quality,’’ Ringo said yesterday. ‘‘We’re starting to see bream on the surface again after the water’s cleaned up a bit from the rain. There’s heaps of whiting and some cracking tailor in the bay, too, and on the beaches.

‘‘You’ve just got to make sure you fish those early morning, late arvo times.

‘‘I was down on Stockton this week fishing for jew with live bait and got tailor to 2.5kg. Good quality.’’

Classic keeps growing

JUNCTION Inn Fishing Club will host the time-honoured H&D Hardware Twin River Classic on March 17 and 18.

‘‘The event keeps getting bigger and better each year,’’ spokesman Jim Weston said. ‘‘Last year we were able to donate a sizeable amount to the Westpac Rescue service.’’

For details, ring Jim on 0419260463 or 49877179.

Super keen to fish

MATT Melhem (radiographer), Todd Alchin (nuclear medicine) and Michael Hipwell (molecular biologist) are young fishing-crazy fathers who work up at John Hunter Hospital.

Opportunities to wet a line are limited at the moment due to the demands of work and fatherhood.

But all are keen.

So when the call went out recently (anytime after 9.30pm) to wet a line, our mild-mannered lab rats jumped at the chance to shed their daily personas and transform into Radioactive Man, Nuclear Dude and Molecular Boy – land-based would-be fishing superheroes, devoted to doing good and maybe having a few quiet beers.

‘‘It was like, ‘Fishing? OK. When? Where? Now’,’’ Michael (Molecular Boy) explained yesterday.

‘‘Todd (Nuclear Dude) lives at Warners Bay, so we started from there and moved according to condition.

‘‘Our superpowers are restricted by drinking so we can’t fly, so we fished off the jetty at Rathmines and bagged a big 73cm flathead.’’

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