Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic 2015 – as seen in Latest Issue of Blue Water Magazine
Courtesy of BlueWater Boats and Sportsfishing magazine: www.bluewatermag.com.au
*This article originally appeared in BlueWater issue 114.
The Great Northern 29th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic was again based at Lizard Island from October 18 to 24 after a year’s absence due to island renovations following cyclones Ita and Nathan. Although the renovations were barely completed, the resort staff warmly welcomed the local and international anglers and crew from the 39 boats competing.
There were several notable additions to this year’s tournament fleet, notably the 44m super-yacht Hemisphere, whose ‘tender’ was competing. Another was the 17m Assegai Zulu – the most recent from the Barry Martin boatworks – which was skippered by Capt Casey Dent. Fishing on board was owner Chris Ellis and his friends from Sydney. What better way to christen a brand new boat than with a 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 with eight tags to win on countback from Capt Corey Hard’s team aboard Askari, who also had eight tags. Askari was the only team to really challenge Zulu during the week-long competition.
Tagging eight marlin over the seven day event may seem a good result, and it certainly was for that team, but the scoreboard reflected very poor fishing for the fleet overall, with just 63 tags recorded by 39 boats over the seven days. And to add insult to injury, Lizard Island’s usually prevalent black marlin ‘granders’ were absent. Most of the catch was unusually small fish. Twenty-six of the tagged blacks were estimated at less than 70kg, and another 10 at less than 90kg. That’s more than half of the catch being less than 90kg – which for Lizard Island in peak season is almost unheard of!
However, there were a few significant catches. One was made by the team on Tender to Hemisphere who tagged an estimated 430kg black in their first marlin tournament, assisted by Ben Bright who brought his reef experience to their cockpit. Likewise, lady angler Carolyn Mills aboard Capt Tom Francis’ Ultimate Lady fought a true giant past the end of fishing time and into the evening. Tom estimated her fish at 430kg, but didn’t submit the tag card in the tournament as the line accidentally touched the covering board.
The rest of the big fish flurry occurred on the first day and was enjoyed by the Cairns private boat fleet including Adrenaline who put US angler Kevin Jennier onto a fish estimated at 400kg when it was eventually tagged after a long fight. Black Magic also tagged a 400kg fish for Jason Lergessner with Capt Laurie Wright at the wheel. Think Big’s lady angler Sharon Poulter also tagged an estimated 400kg black on the first day.
Alicia Pasfield, fishing aboard Iona II, outfished all male anglers by tagging five blacks, which won her the award for Champion Female and scored third place overall for the team. Adrenaline came forth with five tags, and Onsite come in fifth with four tags for the week.
Askari’s Mitch Lidall was Champion Male angler with four tags, ahead of Zulu’s Robert Cruz with three. Sharon Poulter was Runner-Up Champion Female with three tags aboard Think Big.
Next year’s Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic is set to run from October 9 to 15, 2016. To book your entry, or for more information, visit www.lizardislandgfc.asn.au
– Kelly Dalling Fallon