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Cairns & Exmouth Billfish Bash


More big fish and big numbers in Cairns. I think we’ll be reporting on this bite for a while to come once everyone gets a bit of service to check in. I also have two more tournament reports to come from the Whitsundays and Gold Coast tourneys but I am still having trouble with getting service so will get them up over coming days! Sorry for the delay.

Capt. Tim Richardson’s Tradition was 7 from ‘a lot’ at 600, 600, 700, 850 plus little ones. They had the late bite at 6.20 which a double header and as Thompson grabbed the leader to pull the last bait out, it got pilled on as well.  They had to pull it out of the water only having the one angler on board! As it was, Herve had a big day in the chair. The double header was a little one with the 850.

Capt. Adam Jordan’s Iona II also with a big day going 5 from 9 including a 950lb big girl for Simon from NZ and also losing another big girl just as big! They also added a 500lb, 2 x 400lb & 300lb for Michael & Simon. Pic at top.

On Capt. Luke Fallon’s KEKOA we went 4 from 7 including a nice one for Glen that Luke put at 900lbs that gave us a nice display (pic).

Capt. Ross Finlayson’s Bounty Hunter was in port on changeover last night after a day of 2 from 7 and pulled the hooks on a beauty! Here’s another couple of action pics from the 1144 from the other day.

Exmouth Billfish Bonanza

Big thanks to Ben Knaggs for the report and pics.

Photo captions (L-R):
Champion Team Overall, On Strike.
Champion Team Sailfish Amateur, Pussee Galore.
The 2018 Billfish Bonanza saw some of the best sailfishing experience on Exmouth Gulf in five years.
Team On Strike celebrate their 52 sailfish caught in five days fishing Exmouth Gulf.

October 19-21 saw the running of the Exmouth Game Fishing Club’s Billfish Bonanza tournament. Principally timed to coincide with a unique annual aggregation of large numbers of sailfish inside the shallow waters of Exmouth Gulf, the EGFC Billfish Bonanza is also a qualifying event for the 2019 Offshore World Championship.

The 2018 Billfish Bonanza featured several new categories and a revised set of rules. Pro and Amateur sections were introduced to make for a more even contest across the field, particularly on the sailfish side of the tournament. An increasing instance of shark predation of Exmouth Gulf sailfish forced to EGFC committee to abandon standard tag and release practices, instead opting to alter the tournament rules to allow competitors to ‘free release’ (i.e. touched leader counted as a caught fish) all billfish hooked inside Exmouth Gulf with the hope that speeding up the release process might lead to fewer fish being destroyed by sharks.

Three weeks prior to the event the sailfish arrived in Exmouth Gulf in force, with local crews enjoying double figure days sight casting live baits to packs of sails harassing bait balls right on the surface. Many experienced locals were rating this as the best sailfishing Exmouth Gulf had seen for at least the last five years.

Unfortunately, by the time the briefing evening came around the weather forecast wasn’t quite as positive, but those crews electing to contest the sailfish sections inside Exmouth Gulf at least had some protection from the strong south-westerly winds.

Last year’s winner, On Strike dashed out to a good early lead on day one with 16 fish for the day including a hectic final hour bite which produced six fish for them in the final 17 minutes, while the next best boat was Pussee Galore with a solid eight sailfish adding to the total of 37 sailfish caught by the fleet for the day.

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