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Tournament Report: Townsville Billfish Challenge Final Wrap Up


Well the Townsville Tournament is over for another year and with the return of the juvenile blacks to Cape Bowling Green came a return of anglers with a bigger tournament than we’ve had in a few years. And a very fun time had by all!

While the fishing slowed over the last two days, an impressive 160 odd billfish were tagged over the four day competition.  And while the weather on final two days kept a few of the smaller boats off the water, 2012 was certainly a year for the Under 8m category. The 7.5m Mojo left the rest of the fleet in their wake with a flying start, tagging their 21 billfish in the first two days (and then not adding a single fish on Day 3 or 4.) While the eventual U8m runner-up,Yanmar added 3 on the first sked on Day 4 to take their total tournament tally to 10 (with one day to drop).

In the big boats, it was a battle between the two latest O’Brien Boats with OB1 and KEKOA exchanging the lead between them throughout the event. But an early tagged sail to Andrew Mead on Day 4 converted it for OB1.

Final results:

Over 8m

Champion Boat – OB1 skippered by Capt. Leigh O’Brien with anglers Peter and Val O’Brien, Chase Sail and Andrew Mead with 10 tags.

Runner-Up BoatKEKOA skippered by Capt. Luke Fallon with anglers Mike Carney, Chris Carney and Nigel Lucas with 9 tags.

Champion Skipper – Leigh O’Brien, OB1

Champion Angler – Mike Carney with 6 tags.  Runner-up – Peter O’Brien with 4 tags.

Under 8m

Champion Boat Mojo skippered by Mark Parkes with anglers Ben Bright, Ben Mathieson, Rhys Couchman and Wade Medill.

Runner-Up BoatYanmar with Chris Katsaros, Daniel Mathieson, Ethan Farrell and Nick Marsden.

Champion Skipper – Mark Parkes, Mojo

Champion AnglerRhys Couchman on Mojo with 7 tags. Runner-up – Chris Katsaros on Yanmar with 6 tags.

This year was the 30th anniversary of the tournament and I received a few historical pics and factoids from some of the club’s life members (all 7 of whom were in attendance last night – Peter O’Brien, Russell O’Brien, Jim Dalling, Tom Hatrick, Mick Miers, Mark Parkes and Calvin Tilley) which I’m sure many will also find of interest.

  • The original OB1 (which was the first O’Brien Boat, an O’Brien 33) won the very first Townsville Tournament back in 1983. The latest OB1 (the new O’Brien 34) won again this year.  (Mike Carney’s joke at the presentation: lucky that they did win or they’d have to rename it to OB didn’t.)
  • Andrew Mead who was a part of the 2012 Champion Team on OB1, was Champion Angler back in 1983 (fishing with LM Russell O’Brien) and one of his catches, a 14kg Queenfish on 4kg line was a World Record (which I believe is still a current record) – photo below left.
  • There were no billfish caught in the first tournament (which was held in July 1983) although the late Jack Erskine fought a sailfish on Jac-kel with Capt. Jim Dalling, getting it to the back of the boat before breaking it off when the albright knot got caught in his rod guide.
  •  The second tournament was held in October 1984, and the first (of many) billfish was caught during this tournament by a 14 year-old Capt. Luke Fallon (below right).  This fish was an Australian Record capture, but the record only lasted one day. It was beaten the following day by a fish caught by a 12 year old Leigh O’Brien!!


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