The 29th Annual Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic by Kelly Dalling Fallon
The Great Northern 29th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic was again hosted out of Lizard Island on October 18 to 24 after a years absence due to the renovation work after Cylones Ita and Nathan. And while the renovations were only very recently completed, the resort staff were able to warmly welcome the local and international anglers and crew from on board the 39 boats competing.
There were several notable additions to the tournament ‘fleet’ not in the least the 145ft ‘super yacht’ Hemisphere whose tender was competing. Another of the new additions to the tournament fleet was the 55ft Assegai, the most recent from the Barry Martin boatworks called Zulu and skippered by Captain Casey Dent. Fishing on board was owner Chris Ellis and some friends from Sydney.
And if there is ever a way to christen a brand new boat, it’s with big tournament win, which is exactly what the team on Zulu did. Not only did they tag the very first fish of the tournament. But they also took home Champion Team for Days 1, 2 and 4 and finished the event on 8 tags to win on countback from Capt. Corey Hard’s Askari also on 8 tags and the only team to really challenge Zulu during the competition.
8 tags in the 7 day event may seem a good result and it certainly was for the teams who were in the fish, but overall, the scoreboard reflected very poor fishing for the tournament fleet. 63 tags for 39 boats in seven days, and to add insult to injury, the usually ‘grander’ rich giant black marlin fishing was absent as well. Most notably were the number of fish tagged that were under 160lbs (26) with another 10 at 200lbs. That’s over half of the tagged fish under 200lbs!
There were a few significant catches – namely the team on “Tender to Hemisphere” who tagged an estimated 950lb black marlin in their first marlin tournament, assisted by Ben Bright who brought his reef experience to the deck for the comp. Likewise to lady angler Carolyn Mills on Captain Tom Francis’ Ultimate Lady who fought a true giant black marlin that Tom put at 950lbs into the evening past stop fishing only to have Tom later self disqualify the fish when reviewing the footage – the line touched the covering board.
The rest of the big fish flurry was on Day 1 among the Cairns private boat fleet including Adrenaline who put USA angler Kevin Jennier onto a fish that they put at 900lbs which was tagged after a long fight, Black Magic also tagged a 900lb fish for angler Jason Lergessner and with Captain Laurie Wright at the wheel, Think Big’s lady angler Sharon Poulter also tagged a 900lb fish on the first day.
Congratulations should also go to lady angler Alicia Pasfield who tagged all of her team’s fish on Iona 2 (outfishing the male anglers) to win the Champion Female award with 5 tags which also won her team third place with Adrenaline (5 tags) and Onsite (4 tags) rounding out the top 5 placings.
Askari’s Mitch Lidall was Champion Male angler with 4 tags from Zulu’s Robert Cruz with 3. Sharon Poulter was Runner Up Champion Female on Think Big with 3.
Dates for the 2016 Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic are 9 to 15 October.