Anglers have flocked to Port Stephens this weekend for the annual Club Marine Trailer Boat Tournament.
Competition kicked off this morning at 6am and will run until noon Sunday.
Decent weather is predicted for the weekend and there’s a hot bite on.
An invasion of garfish has drawn big schools of bluefin into the bay.
There’s also been a fantastic run of snapper.
‘‘A lot of customers have been nailing fish up to 8kilograms inside the port,’’ James Moss, from Tackleworld Port Stephens, said yesterday.
‘‘Pretty much from the marina, out to the bay entrance and around Tomaree headland.
‘‘They’ve been getting them every day – upwards of 50 over the last two weeks.’’
Luderick and bream have also started to run.
‘‘There’s been loads of blackfish [luderick] around Shoal Bay,’’ James said.
‘‘Thick as thieves, moving along the breakwall and anchorage.
‘‘They’re feeding on cabbage weed, and there’s heaps of that on the rocks.’’
Just like at the Twin Rivers Fishing Classic event held at Raymond Terrace a fortnight ago, the numbers and quality of bream in Nelson Bay has been a talking point this week.
‘‘Really thick fish – fat, really well-conditioned fish,’’ James said.
‘‘There’s been plenty around Soldiers Point.
‘‘May is the time they generally start to push up the system to spawn, so they seem to be running a little early this year.’’
Broughton Island and all the major reefs in the area are holding good numbers of kingfish, snapper and longtail.
Brett ‘‘Hammer’’ Hancock and Paul ‘‘Ringo’’ Lennon got some great kingies and bar cod fishing in 180metres of water off Allmark reef this week using livies and black magic flasher rigs that glow in the dark.
So all up, mighty fine prospects for Trailer Boat tyros.
Huge pulling power
Now in it’s ninth year, the family oriented Trailer Boat Tournament is a huge drawcard for the Nelson Bay area.
More than 420 boats and 1000 competitors have registered this year.
‘‘Traditionally 80percent of people who come to this event are from out of town,’’ event organiser Tony Poole said yesterday.
‘‘Tenpercent of anglers are juniors, 20percent women and 60percent are experiencing a fishing tournament for the first time.
‘‘So it’s a big draw for families and the emphasis is on fun.’’
Entry, as the tournament name suggests, is for trailer boats only.
Anglers can target 14species: Bream (live only – 30cm), cobia (65cm), black drummer (35cm), flathead (36cm), flounder (25cm), luderick (30cm), marlin/billfish (tag and release only), morwong (30cm), mulloway (50cm), tailor (35cm), teragalin (45cm), tuna including bonito (40cm), snapper (30cm) and yellowtail kingfish (65cm).
Organisers reserve the right to add a species if something wild comes along.
About $100,000 worth of fishing and lucky draw prizes will be handed out.
First, second and third place-getters in each species win a prize in both junior and senior divisions.
There will also be a range of raffles climaxing with the big boat draw – an Evinrude-powered Savage Jabiru 305 with Club Marine insurance and a Lowrance sounder – on Sunday.
D’albora Marina has organised bands on the waterfront tomorrow and Sunday.
And the public is welcome to come and watch the fish being weighed in the big tank and witness the presentation from 1.30pm on Sunday.
‘‘Nearly every customer I’ve served this morning was from either the Gold Coast or Victoria,’’ James said.
‘‘They’re all stocking up.
‘‘They’ve come a long way. ‘‘I guess they’ve heard it’s a good tournament, something different and they want to give it a go.’’
Don’t forget the Pirteck
Just another reminder that the Pirteck National Fishing Competition is coming up on Sunday, April 15.
More than $100,000 of cash and prizes are on offer and proceeds aid prostate cancer research. Register at pirtekfishingchallenge.com.au.
Monster lizard in bag
Stuart Granger bagged a monster flathead last Friday night off the rocks at Wybung.
‘‘It weighed in at 3.7kilograms and was 80centimetres long,’’ Stu reported.