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24th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic Tournament Report (2010)


Unseasonably bad weather may have contributed to some late withdrawals leaving only 24 boats to line up for the start of the 24th annual Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic on October 16. And unfortunately, the run of bad weather continued throughout the week, culminating in a 5-hour barrage of up to 45knot winds overnight on Thursday, which lead to a few more boats withdrawing from the final twp days of the competition.

But what has become the premier giant black marlin tournament was still very well represented internationally with participants from all over the world including anglers from every state of Australia as well as Canada, China, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Sweden, UK and USA.

The fishing started out reasonably strong however it also slowed considerably through the week, as a total of 12 fish were tagged on Day 1 of the competition and only 2 on the final day of fishing. All together a total of 59 black marlin were tagged through the seven days of fishing, considerably down on last year.

Day 1 began with a shotgun start around the northern tip of the island with much of the fleet choosing to start fishing at Number 10 Ribbon Reef, where there had been some good fish caught in previous days. In fact, many of the boats never left Ribbon Number 10 as it remained the hot spot all week.

The first fish of the competition was not tagged until just after 2pm for the team on Capt. Tim Dean’s Calypso. But a small flurry of fish was to follow on Day 1, which saw Viking II with Capt. Bill Billson tag three, including a 900lb fish for angler Jim Wild, to take the daily award with three fish. This put Viking straight into the lead in the competition, a position they did not relinquish for the rest of the seven days.

Day 2 began much faster with Capt. Luke Fallon’s KEKOA hooking up to the first fish of the day just 25 minutes after start fishing and tagging an 850lb-er for Perth GFC angler Alex Kaiko, the first of three for the team for the day which saw them taking out the daily for Day 2.

On Day 3, the tournament’s youngest skipper, 22 year old Capt. Daniel Carlson, at the helm of one of the biggest boats in the fleet, the 76 foot Little Audrey, made the decision to move away from the bulk of the fleet still fishing Number 10 Ribbon Reef. This proved a successful move as they tagged the first fish of the day at Number 3 Ribbon Reef for Mike Hudson, which, on a slower day’s fishing, was enough to score them the daily for Day 3. (Although, as Little Audrey did not return to port on the final day and so their results were not counted the daily was awarded to the second fish for the day on Rat Bag.)

Day 4 and Capt. Ross Finlayson on Top Shot made his run at the leaders adding two fish for Japanese angler Tomonori Omi to take out the Day 4 daily. Meanwhile Iona with Capt. Trent Visscher was moving up in the standings as well. On Day 5 angler Sue Ahlers added two more to her personal tally, however the Iona team were narrowly pipped at the post by just minutes by the team on Viking II who also tagged two to take the daily award.

On Day 6 despite running on pure adrenaline after a sleepless Thursday night in the squall, Sue Ahlers added another tag at just after lunch to give the men a run in the Champion Angler category however overall, the fishing slowed considerably. And it was the Lizard Island Boat Fascination with Capt. Craig “Brutus” Newbold, which had spent most of the competition to date on anchor at the island due to the weather, who made the most of a rare appearance on the reef to tag two fish to take out the daily award for Day 6.

On Day 7, the bulk of the fleet had moved north for the run into Lizard Island at the end of fishing – but it was a very quiet day amongst company! Only two fish were tagged for the entire day, both boats choosing to remain south and forfeit from the competition by not returning to the island and so no daily prize was awarded for the final day.

The final standings: Viking II with Canadian anglers Jim Wild and Richard Pawluk took home Champion Team with 7 tags and Capt. Bill Billson Champion Boat from Top Shot with 6 tags. Champion Angler was Tomonori Omi on Top Shot with all 6 of his boats tags from Brian Luecke on Kekoa with 4. Champion female went to Sue Ahlers on Iona with 4 tags from Gayle Mosely on Ikey Moe with one.

After a very special tournament in 2009 where 10 ‘grander’ class marlin tagged and released for the week, expectations were high for this year. However it took until Day 5 for the first and only application to the Lizard Island Game Fishing Club 1000 Pound Tag & Release Club to be made when Andrey Grigoriev, fishing on board Moana III tagged and released an estimated 1100lb black marlin off Hicks Reef.

The 25th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic will be held from 1st to 8th October 2011.

Written by Kelly Dalling Fallon


The overall stats of the Tournament were 147 strikes, 106 hook-ups for 59 tags.

The size range of Black Marlin tagged was:
100 to 300 pounds 31;

300 to 500 pounds 16;

500 to 700 pounds 4;

700 to 900 pounds 3;

900 to 1000 pounds 4

Andrey Grigoriev, fishing on Moana, tagged a magnificent 1100 pounder

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