Newcastle Port Stephens Game Fishing Club are back in the winner’s circle after taking out the Champion Club team tag and release division of Interclub last weekend.
Competitors in what is officially known as the NSW Game Fishing Association State Championships enjoyed a fantastic bite with over 500 marlin tagged over three days.
N&PSGFC – Team 2, made up of boats Born Free (Geoff Leonard ©, Greg Miles, Shane Bashford, Paul Dickson, Josh Dickson, Shayne Trinkler, Colin Champley), Weekend Detention (Josh Sweeny ©, John Herbert Josh Holt, Cassie Herbert, Craig Sneedon, Caron Collins, Nick Mckay) and True Grit (Brent Hancock ©, Zac Mason, Shane Scott) amassed 434,950 points to claim the blue ribbon Champion Club Team Tag & Release crown.
“It was great to be back on top after taking a back seat to rival clubs in recent years,” NPSGFC president Peter Simpson said.
“There was plenty of fish – I haven’t seen so many in years.
“All species, black, stripes and a really strong influx of blues, plus stacks of bait.”
Shane Bashford, fishing on Born Free, was Champion male angler tag and release with 218,500 points. Shane tagged 19 marlin over the three days.
The heaviest marlin weighed was a 178kg blue by Jeff Nolot on Broken Bay boat Cookie.
The heaviest other fish weighed was a 63.2kg yellow-fin tuna boated by Kelly Sweetman on NPSGFC boat Public Enemy, who also took out the most tag and release points for sharks with four.
Broken Bay took out the Capture team division. Lake GFC angler Jake Livingston, fishing on Gloriana, won champion male angler capture with 25,523.86 points.
Lack of sharks was another feature of the weekend, with all competitors reporting a dearth of toothy friends.
As one lark quipped, perhaps they were full of kingfish fillets and not in the mood.
Heaviest shark weighed was a 124.4kg whaler weighed by Josh Hodder on Lake Macquaried GFC boat Lumpy.
“Lumpy” described the conditions competitors dealt with over the three days, according to NSW Game Fishing Association president Gary Chenoworth.
”It was a bit ‘how’s ya father’ but obviously not unfishable,” Gary said.
“The absence of sharks may be put down to the fact there were so many marlin about, and guys were just concentrating on that.
“Blacks outweighed blues and stripes in the main, with the majority of anglers focusing their attention on the Carpark.
“Everything came together in terms of bait, warm currents pushing inshore and lots of fish.
“It was a fantastic tournament with over 120 boats competiting.”
It augers well for the final game fishing tournament on the local calender, the East Coast Classic, hosted by Newcastle Game Fishing Club next weekend, March 10-11.
For a comprehensive round-up of provisional Interclub results, visit www.nswgfa.com.au.
Corey Reid, from Fisherman’s Warehouse at Marks Point, reports lots of whiting biting in the lake.
“Real elbow slappers too,” he said.
“Working well on prawns of a night, in your general sand dropover and shallows.
“A lot of guys have been letting fish up to 35cm go because they’re getting fish beyond 40cm.
“Real solid too.”
Corey also reports a ton of bream and nice reds.
“Flathead have been dormant on the lure – a bit hit and miss,” he noted.
“The key there is to change it up, by varying the area your fishing and approach.
“Most flathead that are being caught are big breeders, which we are urging everyone to release.”
Corey is involved in the Trophy Flathead Fishery tagging program in operation in the Lake at the moment.
“We’re encouraging anyone to release flathead over 70cm in length, and if they happen to recapture tagged flathead (you will see a pink tag on the second dorsal fin), to note the tag number, size and location of the fish and pass that information on to Fisheries,” Corey said.
“Or contact us here at Fisherman’s Warehouse, or your local fishing club, who can point you in the right direction.
“The data we’re gathering will be important in managing species sustainability into the future.”
Pinch and a punch, first day of autumn arrived yesterday and already we’ve seen evidence of the changing of the seasons with tailor and salmon starting to pick up.
“They traditionally indicate the swing over from summer,” Corey said.
“With the full moon tonight we’ll see some big tides and that will help fire up some species.
“The big flushes of water have played a major role in some of the great fish species we’ve seen inside the lake over the last couple of months.”