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Larva Lure - Change it, lock it, catch it

Final day recap: The earlier start time was also a pretty good test of the ‘gentlemen’s hours’ of fishing for the big blacks on the Great Barrier Reef where the best bite is usually in afternoon and noone really starts fishing until close to 11am.  When Capt. Brett Goetze’s Amokura hooked up at 8:14am, the fleet held its collective breath. But it was one of only four fish tagged in the tournament by cease fishing at 2pm (Bite Me tagged a nice one they called 950lbs), although several more fish were lost later in the morning.  The best bite wasn’t until 4pm when all of the tournament boats had gone in.

And it was a good one. Capt. Tim Richardson’s Tradition went 1 from 3 on the right fish, one that he put at 1000lbs+ for his guests on the first day of a new trip. Tim said everyone fishing where he was had some big fish action in the late afternoon.

Likewise, I heard from Capt. Corey Hard on Askari who just finished the first week of his big fish extravaganza with the Keinath brothers and Dreamin’ On and LevanteCorey said that they have caught 10 fish in the last 3 days in which 6 have been between 650 and 850lbs. 3 days ago they had a cracker day and caught 5 and one fish was 800 and another 850!  2 days ago we caught a 650 and 700 in a day which did all the right things for the video and still cameras. And yesterday they caught 3, 1 around 800 and another around 700 with the last being around 250lbs.  That’s 15 fish since their last report!

Catch up report from Capt. Darren Biggles Haydon on Bounty Hunter who caught two Friday at 400 and 150.

Back to the tournament, with 126 tags recorded, this has been the best event (number of fish) in years even with a smaller fleet partly due to the relocation. (2011 and 2009 had 125 respectively. 2005 was the best year previous with 194 tags but that was a fleet of 48 boats!) And there were a lot of big fish again too with 30 of the 126 tags recorded, fish over 800lbs!

As we settle back into a less strict time routine I’ll have some photos to share from the week from amongst the boats competing. But in the meantime, he’s another from us on KEKOA – the point of separation, coming unhooked! ;-)

point

Congratulations to the team on Capt. Ross Finlayson’s Top Shot who could not be beat. I think I heard that this is their third year running as champions with Tominori Omi taking out Champion Angler again with all 15 of their tags. In second place, was the team on Little Audrey who have been hovering in the top few places for the past several years and were the only boat really in range of Top Shot over the final few days (with 13 tags).

Third place went to the team on Althaldo (Lachie and Janice Eggins) with Tiger at the wheel and Wombat on the deck (a tiger, wombat and falcon wasn’t it!?!) with 10 tags from Capt. Brett Goetze’s Amokura also with 10 (and a big thanks to Brett for his assistance with one of the boats yesterday as well!) Rounding out the top five was the ladies on Hellraiser with 9 tags with Sarah Jackson also taking out the Champion Female award with 6 tags.

Full results are on the LIGFC website here.

thinkbig
Pakula Lures

Photo above from the other day of one of Sharon’s 900lb-ers on Think Big with Capt. Laurie Wright.

As I mentioned yesterday, fishing starts quite early today on the final day so I’ll get a quick update in now.

26 tags! That makes a total of 121 tags thus far. One day to go.

Day 6 was an amazing day on the water. Its been a long time since I’ve seen so many fish. Fish tailing in groups of smaller males around one big female again and again. Lots of fish up, lots also not interested in feeding/other things on their mind.  Big school of yellowfin feeding on the surface. Even a school (pod ?) of 10 or so manta rays on the surface. Was really great to be seeing the reef edge like this again after a while.

Capt. Ross Finalyson on Top Shot took advantage of the hot bite and converted fish after fish ending the day with 5 tags to take the lead on 15 overall.  Including another couple of big ones – one that he called 999lb+ and another at 750lbs – again for Tominori.  And while other boats had good fishing, Top Shot just lead from the front all day.

Capt. Bill Billson on Viking II self disqualified a nice fish early in the day and then added two more official tags later.  Iceman hooked up and was seen chasing another big fish that Capt. Bobby Jones put at 950lbs for angler Andrew Wells. And the private boat team on Althaldo had another cracker making good gains on the leaderbaord with four tags for the day including two late back-to-back tags for angler Paul Axisa that Capt. Tiger put at 600 (sat tagged) and 1000+!

Sharon on Think Big continued her big marlin workout with a fish of 700lbs that Capt. Laurie Wright chased right in towards the breakers and Capt. Dean Beech on Onsite also tagged another nice one that he put 850lbs for angler Graham.  Birthday boy Capt. Kim Andersen added to his team on Duyfken’s tally also with a fish of 850lbs for owner angler Reg Moore.

On KEKOA we added another two including a smaller fish for Alex on the stand up early in the day, and another good one that Capt. Luke Fallon put at 800lbs for Brian in the afternoon (pictured). And Amokura also kept in the title hunt adding another two smaller fish for Frank.

800_kekoa

And Capt. Dan McCarthy’s Moana III also added another big fish on Day 6 with a 900lb-er tagged in the last half hour of fishing.

There were some unlucky losses including team on Bite Me who fought a fish for almost 4 hours before calling in lost fish. And the team Hellraiser who were hooked up and fighting at cease fishing only to lose the fish later. That was their second missed for the day with two converted (one each for Sue and Sarah) which made for plenty of action on board for them as well.

The leaderboard sits at:
Top Shot is on 15 tags from Little Audrey on 12. Althaldo is on 10 from Amokura and Hellraiser on 9. Kalira is on 8. Castille leads the group on 5 which includes Think Big, Viking II, Kekoa, Moana and Duyfken. Iona II (one sked was 5-4-0) is on 4 with Iceman and Kaizen (who tagged one after cease fishing). On three tags are Bite Me, Illusion, Onsite and The Joker. On two are Reel Easy and Defiant. And Game Over is on one.

Outside the tournament again, competitors on Reel Easy sat tagged a 750lb black marlin after cease fishing.  While I also heard from Capt. James “Jimbo” Bladin on Black Magic who released a real good one with a 950lb black marlin at The Bank yesterday.

950_kekoa2

5 days and 95 tags into fishing with another 13 added yesterday.  And while the good weather run has come to an end (actually quite sloppy out there yesterday as you would expect on the first day of a blow), the fishing is still pretty good and the big fish are still plentiful. (Of the 95 tags so far, a massive 22 fish are over 800lbs!) Most of the fleet is fishing up the top of the Ribbons on Number 10, and this is where most of the action was on Day 5.

Before I get into the standings, just a quick reminder that due to the cyclone and venue change, fishing times for tomorrow (final day) have changed and will be 0800 to 1430 tomorrow. This means that I may not have time for an update before we start fishing. But I will try! Follow me on Twitter to keep up with the tags/point scoring as it happens.

A couple of special mentions in the comp again for fish that were not point scoring, but great efforts none-the-less.  Capt. Adam Jordan’s Iona 2 disqualified a fish on Day 4 of fishing that he put at right up there.  The 69 year old angler did a great job in the chair but couldn’t quite bring her up, so another angler was employed to finish the job.  Later, after they got the tag in their 450lb-er and only point scoring fish, they also had another big one (again right up there at about 1000lbs) for Peter on, unfortunately straightening the hook on the leader before the tag went in. Bad luck guys but some great big fish!

Same yesterday for Janice Eggins on Althaldo who fought a big fish that Capt. Tiger put at well over the mark for just shy of two hours which they DQ’d from the comp.  But Janice couldn’t quite get her head up in the end so again, relinquished the chair to a fresh set of arms who got the fish to the boat and successful release.

And another non-point scoring fish with Capt. Bobby Jones’ Iceman hooking up after cease fishing to one that he put at about 600lbs, that they also satellite tagged.

But in the competition:
The young Georgouras sisters on father Steve’s Illusion got the ball rolling very early into the day yesterday with Elise tagging an estimated 850lb black marlin just 11 minutes after start fishing.  Claudia followed up a little later in the day with a fish of 150lbs to put them on top for the daily.

Not long after, Capt. Ross Finlayson on Top Shot’s angler Tominori Omi was on again with one that Ross put at 750lbs. Next on KEKOA we tagged another big one for Alex that Capt. Luke Fallon put at 950lbs. This time the fish did all the things right for us and Alex was saved another marathon, staying on the surface before giving us a good display on the leader for a sub-10 minute fight. We also added a second for Brian about 400lbs and jumped off a third bigger fish again right on cease fishing.

Capt. Dean Beech’s Onsite also added a nice fish for Grant that Deano put at 850lbs.

The current standings are:
Little Audrey added another tag to retain their lead on 11 tags.  Top Shot are clear on 10. On 7 a piece are Kalira, Amokura and Hellraiser. Althaldo is on 6. Castille III on 5. On 4 are Duyfken, Iona II, Moana III and Think Big. On 3 are Viking II, Bite Me, Iceman, Illusion, KEKOA and Kaizen. On 2, Reel Easy, Defiant (who have provided some great pics below from a couple in the last few days), Onsite and The Joker. And Game Over is on one.

defiant

Outside of the comp, I don’t have many reports but Capt. Tim Richardson’s Tradition, fishing among the tourney boats, added 2 fish – one for 11 year old David, and one for his mum Angie. And again, we saw Capt. Haydon Bell on Kanahoee backing around an I got this shot of an energetic mid-ranger!

kanahoee

maunakea

Jump to results from outside the tournament here.

Tournament report for day 4

So far in this tournament (and even before the tournament), one trend has been pretty consistent. If you’re catching big fish, chances are you can chuck the baits back in, turn around and catch another one. Yesterday, Capt. Laurie Wright, who is at the wheel on private boat Think Big again for the tournament, did just that giving his lady angler Sharon Poulter a real workout.  The first one she did in really good time releasing a 900lb fish inside of 30 minutes.  But I’m sure that put the hurt in her for the next one fighting another 900lb fish for two hours, hooking up just 20 minutes after the first was tagged.  And then Capt. Laurie did it again. Hooking up another 20 minutes later, this time Paul getting a run in a chair for a third big fish that Laurie put at 850lbs.  That put them on top for the day and making their way up the leaderboard!

hellraiser500

Capt. Steve Ahlers’ lady angler Sarah Jackson on Hellraiser stays in front with the first fish (500lbs) on the day putting her onto four tags to Sharon’s three.  But otherwise there were good numbers of fish spread between a few boats mostly healthy mid-rangers.  Tournament leader Little Audrey did not add a tag on Day 4 and have been run down a little by Top Shot who added two to be just one fish behind.

The leaderboard is: Little Audrey with 10 tags, from Top Shot with 9, from the Bertarelli Foundation Team on Kalira on 7, Amokura and Hellraiser on 6, Althaldo on 5, Castille III, Duyfken, Iona II, Moana III and Think Big on 4, Viking, Bite Me and Iceman on 3. Reel Easy, Kaizen and Joker on 2. And KEKOA, Onsite, Illusion,Game Over and Defiant on 1 a piece.

Outside the tournament

tradition

The reports continue to come in for boats not fishing the LBMC as well. Capt. Tim Richardson on Tradition tagged a 600lb-er for David. We also saw Capt. Haydon Bell on Kanahoee backing round and round chasing a fish on light tackle for his lady angler (record fishing).  Down at the bank, Peter Jenyns and 35 Caribbean Tsukiji owner Jim Stening fished two up for a 400lb-er for Jim.

And I received a report from Andrew Tivey who fished his 5.4mtr trailer boat Hook-In on Sunday with son Ryan and his friend Locky Wood. While trolling south down Linden Bank after overnighting behind Opal, a 200lb fish ate the shotgun dolphin fish lure on a light spin stick with 40lb braid, nearly spooling Locky on the hookup and was successfully released after 1.5 hrs of hard slog.

hookin

And then, ten minutes after getting the baits back in the water a large fish charged in from way out and creamed the short skip bait. Andrew says he put it at 6 to 700lbs (photo) and that it did not disappoint on the leader giving a great display!  Great effort on the 24kg stand-up!

And lastly from Townsville with the news that their HT Billfish Bonanza scheduled for this weekend has been postponed to November.  John McConkey fished Monday and says there are some good fish out there and they were unlucky not to get a tag into two good bites. One of the fish was around 250lb and the other too big for John (who still considers himself a novice!) to call other than that the big skip bait looked like a matchstick flapping outside her mouth. John says it was not quite as big as the fish he saw on OB1 last year, but certainly getting up there!

And last but certainly not least, some catch up pics from Lochie on Mauna Kea at the top of the post including their big fish (on the left) from the other day on the leader.