The 26th Annual Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic by Kelly Dalling Fallon
The 26th Annual Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic kicked of with the briefing dinner at Lizard Island’s ‘Marlin Bar’ on Saturday 21 October. Gathered were 26 teams with anglers from 9 countries around the world including Japan, the United Kingdom and the USA. This year two overseas vessels were also part of the tournament being the US based 80 foot Lady Columbo, with local-expert Steve Tedesco on board, as well as the New Zealand Bertram Reel Affair.
While the fishing in the leadup had been less than consistent, some clean water pushing in from the south east had competitors optimistic of good numbers.
The first fish of the tournament came to multiple winner Capt. Bill Billson’s Viking II and angler Jim Wild from Canada (also a previous Champion angler.) It was to be one of only 10 fish tagged that day, the largest of which, was tagged on Sydney based charter boat Little Audrey at 700lbs to Miran Lindtner.
It was Day 2 when the fishing really hit its stride and continued steadily through the rest of the week. Capt. Luke Fallon’s KEKOA recorded the first of 7 grander black marlin (estimated weight of 1000lbs or more) tagged during the tournament for angler Brendan Lakoseljac.
From that point, big fish were recorded every remaining day of the competition leaving the world-wide audience in no doubt of the superiority of the Great Barrier Reef as a destination to catch giant black marlin.
Day 3 exceeded everyone’s expectations with two more grander black marlin tags recorded on Townsville based private boat Maverick and Hervey Bay’s Rampage. Gold Coast based Viking Too Easy II, returning to fish the north for the first time in many years, also tagged a nice fish estimated at 900lbs after losing another big one in the morning.
Day 4, another day, another grander this time to angler Jim Wild on Viking II. Competition had been tight at the top of the leaderboard, with Capt. Laurie Wright, out of retirement to drive the Cairns based private boat Think Big for the week, right in the thick of it. But on Day 4, Capt. Ross Finlayson’s Top Shot adds 3 tags to take the lead, a position he did not relinquish for the rest of the week – actually only extending his lead every day.
Day 5 provided the most action of the entire week’s fishing with 17 tags to 950lbs on Capt. Brad Craft’s Castille III. The wind, which had been fluctuating in the uncomfortable, but not unbearable 20-25 knot range all week, began to abate.
By Day 6, Top Shot’s lead was so commanding he had run out of tags. After making arrangements for some from another boat, Capt. Ross promptly went about recording the biggest fish of the tournament for his Japanese angler Tominori Omi at 1200lbs. Not to be outdone, Maverick co-owner Craig Singleton recorded another 1100lb fish and Levante who had alreadyone big fish under their belt for the day at 800lbs, tagged another at 1100lbs in less than 3minutes from hookup to tag.
Another big fish tagged on day 6, an 850lb-er to Capt. Simon Carosi and team on the Cresta Afishionado which was also the only one of 5 satelite tags launched during the competition (the remaining 4 will be in upcoming weeks) as the “Great Marlin Race” continues once again in 2012.
The final day fishing saw only two fish tagged, not enough to change the leaderboard standings. With Capt. Ross Finlayson and Top Shot taking out Champion Team with 14 tags, and his angler Tominori Omi, who has won the Champion Angler award a few times over the years winning again as the angler for all 14 fish.
Runner-up went to Capt. Daniel Carlson’s Little Audrey for the second year running and who fished consistently with 8 tags for the week from Capt. Luke Fallon’s Kekoa and Capt. Dean Beech on Maverick respectively on 7 tags on countback. Rounding out the top 5, Capt. Laurie Wright and Think Big with 6.
Think Big owners Paul and Sharon Poulter had a great week with Paul enjoying angling for a change while leaving the wheel in Capt. Laurie’s capable hands. Sharon won the Champion Female Angler Award with 5 tags from Sue Ahlers on Hellraiser with one. Runner-up Male Angler was Jim Wild on Viking II with 6 tags.
The dates for the tournament in 2013 are 12th to 19th October 2013.
DAY 1: There were 24 strikes, 16 hook-ups for 10 tags with the Daily Award for most tags going to Viking II with their team tagging a 600 pounder ahead of 9 other boats who each tagged 1, ranging in size from 150 pound to 700 pound.
DAY 2: Think Big took out the award for most tags with 3, on a count back from Top Shot with 3. There were a total of 14 tags with one over a 1000 pound on Kekoa. Champion Team at this stage was Think Big with 4 tags from Top Shot with 3. Size ranges from 250, 300, 400, 650 and 850 pounds, from 24 strikes and 19 hook-ups.
DAY 3: We had 20 strikes for 14 hook-ups and 11 tags, with 1 of 1100 pound, 1 at 1050 pound, one at 900, 1 at 700 and through the range down to the smallest ever tagged in 26 years of this event, a 30 pounder! Daily Award for the most tags went to Maverick, with 1 on a countback from 10 other boats, also on 1. Think Big retained Champion Boat title with 4 tags from Top Shot, also with 4.
DAY 4: There were 29 strikes, 22 hook-ups for 15 tags, including another 1100 pounder. Sizes ranged from 900 to 800 to 750, down the range to 150. Top Shot with 3 tags, moved into the Champion Team, with 7 tags, destined to be never headed. Think Big went to Runner-up with 5 tags, on a countback from Viking II, with 5.
DAY 5: The best so far, in the prevailing windy conditions. There were 35 strikes 24 hook- ups and 17 tags, from 950 pound to 600 to 150 pound. Top Shot won the honours with 3 tags and remained Champion Team with 10 tags from Runner-up Think Big with 6 tags, on a count back from Viking II and Little Audrey, also on 6.
DAY 6: The weather improved and there were 31 strikes, 22 hook-ups for 15 tags, with 1 at 1200 pound and 2 at 1100 pound, then ranging from 800 to 500 to 150. Top Shot won the Daily Award again with 3 tags, to retain Champion Team with 13 tags from Little Audrey with 8.
THE IGFA GREAT MARLIN RACE SATELLITE TAGGING PROGRAMME SPONSORED FOR LIZARD ISLAND GAME FISH CLUB BY PETER TEAKLE
The team on Afishionado were one of 5 teams issued with a Satellite Tag, generously sponsored by our Life Member Peter Teakle, for our Club to participate in the IGFA Great Marlin Race, held in some major Tournaments around the World. After 120 days the satellite tag breaks away from the marlin, pops up to the surface and down loads vital information via the Satellite to our scientist at Stanford University. It shows where the fish went and where the tag popped up, and last year our PSAT Tagged fish travelled over 2500 miles, winning the 2011 race. Today, Tim Ballintine on Afishionado deployed his PSAT Tag in an 850 pound Black Marlin, which was released in perfect condition. The other 4 tags bought by Peter Teakle and issued to other boats, were not deployed as the Teams with them did not catch suitably sized fish. They have been reissued to other boats in The Cairns Professional Game Fish Association for deployment in the next week by them fishing o” Lizard Island
DAY 7: Glassy seas, but the slowest day of the event! There were 5 strikes for 2 tags, with a 950 pounder to Maverick, who took out the Daily Award on a count back from Top Shot with 1 tag. Overall
Champion Team was Top Shot with 14 tags from Runner-up Little Audrey with 8 and Kekoa in 3rd Place with 7, on a count-back from Maverick, also 7.
Champion Male Angler with 14 tags was Tomonori Omi from Japan fishing on Top Shot.
Runner-up Male Angler was Jim Wild from Canada on Viking II with 6 tags. Champion Female Angler was won by Sharon Poulter on Think Big with 5 tags.
Runner-up Female Angler was Sue Ahlers on Hellraiser with 1 tag, on a count back from Patricia Azelis on Reel Chase and Sue Tarbotton on Iceman, who also had 1 tag each.Champion Boat went to Top Shot with 14 tags from Runner-up Little Audrey with 8. Overall, there were 158 strikes, with 119 hook-ups for 84 tags. With
8 Granders, the estimated size of all 84 Black Marlin tagged was as follows: 30 lb 1; 100 lb 5; 150 lb 13; 200 lb 14; 250 lb 15; 300 lb 6; 350 lb 4; 400 lb 3; 450lb 1; 500 lb 2; 600 lb 2; 650 lb 1; 700 lb 1; 750 lb 1; 800 lb 2; 850 lb 2; 900 lb 2; 950 lb 2; 1000 lb 2; 1050 lb 1; 1100 lb 3 and 1200 lb 1. T
he Stats of this 26th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic supports the claim that this event is the best Heavy Tackle Black Marlin Tournament in the World!! Next years dates 12th to 19th October 2013.
Lizard Island Game Fish Club Inc Bob Lowe
President & Tournament Director.