Once again Lizard Island Game Fish Club conducted what is indisputably the World’s best ever heavy tackle marlin tournament, “shed over seven days from the 13th to 19th October, 2002, in the waters of the Ribbon Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. The Tournament Headquarters and weigh station are located on Lizard Island where the briefing and Calcutta was conducted on Saturday 12th October, with the sailpast of entered boats at the start of the Tournament Sunday 13th October.
Many of the anglers stayed on the Island in Lizard Island Lodge Resort, while others opted for mother ship accommodation, live aboard Charter boats or live aboard privateers. The weather was great, bait “sh plentiful and the giant Black Marlin turned up in numbers.
17 boats finally entered and there were a total of 493 strikes, 338 hook-ups, 176 tags, 2 marlin weighed and 11 self disqualified by anglers and crews for technical breaches of GFAA fishing Rules and Regulations. However, these 11 self disqualified were still tagged for scientific purposes before being released. A further 5 marlin were lost at the boat.
Previous best results from Club records were 457 strikes in 1992, 308 hook-ups in 1994 and 174 tags in 1991. The Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic is, and always has been, a predominately tag and release event.
37 of the fish tagged were estimated by the experienced crews and anglers at over 500 pounds and three granders were tagged. One of the granders was tagged with a pop up satellite tag funded by the Game Fishing Association of Australia Research and Development Foundation. This specimen was estimated by Dr. Julian Pepperell to be 1100 pound and was tagged on the Lizard Island President’s boat, Bob Lowe’s “REBEL” skippered by Mat Fallon. The angler was Craig Newton and it was his “rst “grander” and he was happy to release it. Dr. Pepperell believes this to be the biggest marlin ever tagged with these state of the art satellite tags.
The Champion Tag and Release Team trophy was won by the team of David and Daniel Bedford and Terry Kuzma fishing on “VIKING” with Captain Bill Billson with a total of 24 tags. Runner-up T & R Team was the team on “COOCORAN”, Captain Nick Brady, with 23 tags. The Champion male angler T & R was Peter Teacle, “COOCORAN” with 23 tags and Runner -up male angler T & R, Shiron Kubo “shing on “NEW MOON”, Captain Kim Anderson, 19 tags. Champion female angler was Amy Dobbins on “AMY DEE”, Captain Mike Dobbins, with 7 tags from Runner-up Debbie Dobbins, also on “AMY DEE” – a real family team.
Champion boat for the second year in a row was “VIKING”, Captain Bill Billson 24 tags from “COOCORAN” 23 tags. The anglers and captains of this tournament continue to support the GFAA R & D Foundation with Captain Bill Billson and Champion angler, Peter Teacle both donating the 130lb Shimano Reels won by them to the next Foundation Auction and Peter Teacle donating the proceeds of the Calcutta won by him. Once again Lizard Island Game Fish Club members lead the way in support of the Foundation.
There is a minimum weight of 992 pound for a weighed marlin in this event and neither of the fish brought to the weigh station achieved that minimum. They both had short length and girth measurements which indicated estimated weight of just over a thousand pounds and both were brought to the weigh station on day six of the Tournament. However, neither fish qualifies The first was caught by Terry Kuzma on “VIKING” and weighed 851 pound and the second by Richard Opatt on “MADAM ROUGE” went 853 pounds. No other qualifying “sh were brought to the weigh station and as a result the trophy for the heaviest marlin of the Tournament was not awarded.
The 17th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic will be held with the briefing at Lizard Island on Saturday 18th October 2003 and fishing Sunday 19th to Saturday 25th October 2003 inclusive with the Presentation Dinner Saturday 25th in the Marlin Barn on Lizard Island.