28th Black Marlin Classic
2014 11-18 Oct 2014
Results of tournament
Photos of tournament
Lizard Island Resort was damaged by cyclone Ita earlier this year, so it was decided to relocate the 28th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic south to Cooktown – considered the gateway to the middle of the ribbon reefs.
Although the relocation presented more cyclone-related challenges, with radio communications also affected, it was a welcome change of scenery for competitors.
With the assistance of Fisherman Whalf the Briefing dinner kicked off the proceedings with a bang with the Cooktown weather Gods putting on a perfect night. It was fantastic to see our tournament regulars and great to see new participant’s, first team from the Maldives, good luck. Could not think of a better place at our temporary location for the briefing but Cooktown Game fishing fleet central an the wharf. The briefing had the usual Calcutta and the hot favourite went for a steal $1400 Top Shot trying to make it a hat trick of 3 in a row with Calypso getting top bid of $1600. With winner take all minus 10% going to research and development fund.
The Cooktown community came out in numbers in support of the event and the morning sailpast from the Endeavour River was watched by scores of locals who lined the foreshore to farewell the 23 strong fleet.The start of fishing was signalled by Muskets fired by two gentlemen in colonial attire.
In another first for this year’s event, the Bertarelli and Teakle foundations jointly sponsored a satellite tag for every boat in the fleet. This enabled all participants to take part in the IGFA 2014 Great Marlin Race, while also helping scientific research into the movements of the magnificent black marlin, particular the giants of the species that are found off these reefs at the same time this tournament is held.
The first day’s fishing started in ideal weather conditions and unlike recent years the action was hot from the offset, with a black marlin tagged only 40 minutes into fishing. It was the first of 19 tagged for the day. As always during this tournament there several quality fish in the 400kg range.
Capt Brett Goetze’s Amokura, which remained a contender for the entire competition, streaked to the front with three for the day, all for angler Frank Padoin.
The second day once again fired from the start, with the first boat hook-up within 15 minutes. A total of 23 tags were added with several more giants, including two fish estimated at 450kg (Castille III and Moan III), one at 430kg (Little Audrey) and two at 400kg (Athlado and Kekoa). Many of these big fish were satellite-tagged and should be good contenders in the IGFA Great Marlin Race.
Day-3 – with the first tag reported just 10 minutes after start fishing, the third day of competition also proved the biggest day of the tournament, with 27 tags recorded. The team aboard Little Audrey were the big point scores of the daily award and shoot to the top of the leader board.
Day 4 – Lady angler and tournament regular Sharon Poulter, fishing aboard her and husband Paul’s Think Big, had a very big day. Sharon fought and tagged two fish in short succession that Capt Laurie Wright put at more than 400kg each – the second fish giving her a two hour workout. Husband Paul letter tagged their third fish for the day – -another big one at 385kg – earning them the daily award. Overall it was a quitter day of fishing with only 13 tags added for the day.
Day 5 – Despite the previous days lull, by early in day 5 numbers had already surpassed the results of the previous year’s tournament and it was more than apparent to everyone that this was a good year. Some more very big fish were reported, but did not make it into the scoreboard. Both Iona II and Athaldo released fish over the 450kg mark that were self-disqualified due to the anglers needing help to fight the fish all the way to the boat. Overall, another 13 tags were recorded.
Day 6 – Capt Ross Finlayson’s Top Shot, tournament winners, for the previous two years, had been tiptoeing their way up the leader board and were sitting in second place at the end of day 5. Day 6 was the second biggest day on the water, with a total of 26 tags recorded. Angler Tominori Omi aboard Top Shot accounted for 5 fish estimated in the 450kg range to streak to the front. There were several more big fish recorded, including another at 430kg for Capt Bob Jones Iceman, while local Cooktown boat Bite Me also fought a big fish for 4four hours before losing the battle.
Day 7 – the fishing time was adjusted to 0800h to 1430h to allow for the longer return travel to Cooktown on what was a mostly quiet day on the water. The weather, which had been quite comfortable throughout the week, blew out to 25 to 30 knots, and felt very much at the hight end. For that reason, a few teams chose not to fish in the conditions, in the big swell was a real problem. Of several more hook-ups, only four tags were recorded, bringing the tournament total to 125 tags.
The Presentation Dinner was held at the Sovereign resort hotel in the heart of Cooktown with almost 100% attendance for a very special occasion. Top Shot team had made it, one of very few in LIGFC history to achieve a Hat Trick, 3 wins in a row congratulations to the team. Thank you again to all the support Cooktown showed tournament participants.
Champion boat was Top Shot for the third year running with 15 tags, just ahead of runner-up Little Audrey on 13 tags in what was a very tight race for most of the week. Champion male angler was Tomonori Omi aboard Top Shot with 15 tags, ahead of runner-up Frank Padoin aboard Amokura with 10. Champion Female angler was won by Sarah Jackson aboard Hellraiser with six tags, with Runner-up Janice Eggins aboard Athaldo tagging five.
Three Anglers qualified for entry into the prestigious Lizard Island 1000 pound Tag & Release Club in the 28th Classic
Stewart Burroughs (Castille III) Skipper Brad Craft
Richard White (Moana III) Skipper Daniel McCarthy
Paul Axisa (Athaldo) Skipper Allan (Tiger) Geale
Special thanks to our sponsors
Written by Kelly Dalling-Fallon