The Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic 2019 is done and dusted. With two tournaments back to back, were all battered, bruised and exhausted but absolutely stocked with the team’s efforts and achievements.
Not only have we caught fish from all different species we have learnt team cohesion, people’s strengths in areas of leadering, netting, rigging & skippering. But most importantly our team is stronger than ever, ready to fish in all future comps.
During the Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic, we entered two crews, thanks to Stressfree Marine. Justagirl was made up of Tracey, Nic, Kerry & Julie. Justagirl 2 was made up of Dean, Ren, Helen & Amanda.
The Skippers brief on the Friday night was an amazing night. We had Shaun Tracey from Tuna Champions join our table for the briefing. It was great to meet all the teams prior to the competition and work out who was on which boats. Better yet, it was fantastic to see other girls fishing the competition. Our 2 crews of 4 were very tiny compared to the bigger boat’s crews, but that didn’t phase us.
Day 1 started early, we were on the start line at 7.30am waiting for the 8am shotgun start. Justagirl sat back and let all the big boats power ahead, while justagirl 2 led the race down to Memory Cove.
The first to strike Tuna was Risky Business (trailer boat) skippered by Bucky. By the end of day 1 Risky Business were leading the under 8m section, with justagirl coming in second. Ren had the most tuna caught for the day for a female in the under 8m section and justagirl was runner up.
We returned to Memory Cove for the night, where we were greeted with a mothership to refuel and Gabby’s amazing handmade meatballs ready for the 7 trailer boats. We all rafted up, enjoyed a feed, great company, music and a few beers….the comradery was awesome.
Due to the weather, day 2 had the lines in rule changed from 3pm to 12pm, those who fished the Cabbage Patch or Neptune Islands needed to have lines in by 10am. Both justagirl teams were out of Memory Cove and heading towards the Cabbage Patch well before there was any light.
Although it was disappointing to finish fishing early, it was absolutely the right decision made by the competition organisers. The storm followed the justagirl teams back to shore as we were the last ones out there. Having an early finish gave us a chance to scrub up before presentation dinner.
We would like to thank Garry from Tumby VMR from the bottom of our hearts for covering us for both comps, it’s always a comfort knowing he’s there. Thanks to Russell & Gabby for organising an amazing event, along with all the sponsors. We had such a fantastic time and can’t wait to do it all again next year.Thank you to the over 8m boats for looking after the trailer boats, you bigger boats give us smaller boats the courage to fish in such rough water.
We would like to make a special thanks to Ralph on Spartacus, for rounding up both justagirl crews and making sure we were safely off the Cabbage Patch.
The end results were…
Champion Under 8m Boat – Risky Business
Runner Up Under 8m Boat – justagirl
Champion Female Angler Under 8m Boat – Tracey Tito (justagirl)
Runner Up Female Angler Under 8m Boat – Ren (justagirl 2) & Emma Forster (Risky Business)
The most exciting thing for us was seeing Risky Business an under 8m boat win Overall Champion Boat as well as Susan Czabayski win Overall Champion Angler. A small boat & a female angler taking out the 2 top titles, what an achievement.
See below for individual team stories to see exactly how each team performed and managed to stay safe out at the Cabbage Patch.
Team Justagirl – Weekend Experience
After skippering this event twice prior I discussed with the girls what happens when 20 – 60 foot boats all have a race to get down to memory cove. Swells of 2 meters with no seconds, and coming from every direction is not pleasant, it was decided to sit sit back and wait for them to go, afterall you have to stop and wait till lines in at memory cove anyway. We didn’t have a plan we were just going to wait and see what happened and who had caught what by lunch time. We had fished the area all week so we knew the bigger fish were out on the Cabbage Patch. It takes roughly an hour to get from Williams Island to the Patch so we settled in telling Jules stories from the week just gone. We arrived at the patch with birds and boats everywhere, What a commotion, we set up and got started. the first 4 fish were lost due to panic I think as I had been put on strike, Jules got a baby that had to go back, First sched call Justagirl 0. We then settled into a routine, I was on first strike, Jules second strike. Nic was to leader/ kerry net and who ever was to Skipper. We slowly made some gains with myself on 3 fish Jules on one and Kerry on 2. This put us as runner up under 8 meter day one and myself runner up female. It was an awesome day on the Patch and we were all looking forward to pulling into memory cove for fuel, food and sleep.
Memory Cove is awesome and was set up for the comfort of the under 8 meter section. Russel and Gabby had cooked food, sorted fuel for us and organised us to all tie up to the mother ship and Majesnik they didn’t miss a thing. They also had breakfast ready to go but we were all heading out early due to lines in at 10am so breaky became a take away.
The next morning we were up at 5am and on the way to the Patch shortly after. we were quietly pleased that we hit the water before justagirl Too. The water was awesome all the way out but we knew it wasn’t going to stay that way. Rule change this year: Scores were to be kept quiet so that no one knew who won until presentation that night. We skirted around the patch and got a couple of fish it was decided that Kerry go second strike as she had 2 already and hooked up a third, we put Nic on as skipper and she hunted some birds down off the patch, we fished with all divers this comp and with the girls used to skirts Nic gunned it, I don’t need to tell you the consequences. We discussed that they only way we could get ahead of the other crew was for someone to stay watching the birds and lines had to go back in immediately, We trolled up to the school and hooked up, I dealt with the fish, Kerry put in 2 lures Nic sped off, Bang Kerry was on and I grabbed the other rod. got them in then, did it again and again. Nic mastered the skipper role and the screaming at the Crew, Kerry got the leader under control and Jules mastered the art of netting. Next thing LINE OUT, oh no that came about way to fast for us but we took a breath looked up and went Shite where did those waves come from. We packed up and headed for the shore. Ralph Czabayski on Spartacus hung back to make sure we all got off the patch safety and as I said on the night without theses bigger boats its not real safe for us to go, so think you you guys give us courage. I would so like to make mention of this years Greenhorn Kerry Duncan, She has learnt alot this season but her biggest claim to fame is the Tuna Dance this day done in her PJS in which she spent the day fishing in
Team Justagirl 2 – Weekend Experience
The morning of the comp we had a game plan established, we waited for the other team to head off to the shot gun start, while we decorated the boat and put wigs on… it’s all fun and games at comps!
We reached the rest of the boats at the entry of the marina waiting for the countdown at 8am….. 5,4,3,2,1… Dean yells HOLD ON!!!!! And off we went like a bull out of the gate, all the way down to the bottom of Lincoln national park, just outside memory cove. Conditions where glass and we made it down there in no time. We had to all regroup there until 9am before all boats could head out… (think this rule needs to be reviewed)
9 am comes, and we are off again…. We get to Williams island and the swell was picking up as was the wind slop, we made it a little way before Riv after Riv over took us, swamping us is a mountain of water and wake, putting us in the middle of our own Riviera Perfect Storm 😊😊😊
After an hour and half heading out we finally hit the cabbage patch and it was lines in and all on for young and old, we could see all the other boats hooking up, it wasnt long before our reels started screaming.
There where fish busting up and birds diving everywhere, and at first skid we had 3 fish in the boat with only half an hour of fishing… it started to slow down a little after that with fish few and far between but we managed to get another fish on and before lines in at 4pm started to head back to memory cove for the night. Pulling in to refuel, before going to fixing up our gear ready for the next day.
We hopped on board the mothership for some pasta and meatballs thank to Gabby and Russel, topped up with a couple of vino’s. We had decided as a team to sleep on the boat that night instead of setting up camp on the beach, so we could head out first thing in the morning. It had started raining and so Amanda and Ren where trying to work out where to sleep and not get wet, as Deans boat doesn’t have a canopy. Lucky for us Dean has a couple of body bags to use as Tuna bags… hahahahaha so that was Amanda and Ren set… with their sleeping bags, set up they settled down for the night in their body bags… funniest thing ever, especially in the morning when we were feeling stiff!
Alarms off at 5.30am saw us all jump up, pack up our stuff and head back out to the patch, the weather conditions were excellent, nice rolling swell with no wind chop. On the way out, we had a small incident of a seat breaking in Deans boat, luckily, we went over a wave at the same time resulting in Ren getting thrown forward instead of falling backwards with the seat… but it resulted in a very nice bruise… after the commotion of that, we started off on our way again… Finally reaching the patch at around 8am, lines where in. We had such a slow morning and we were really conscience of getting fish on the board as Ren was leading champion female at the end of day 1, all we had to do was stay in front, but alas and not for lack of trying we just couldn’t get fish to bite no matter what we threw at them.
Lines in Sunday was 10am at the Cabbage Patch and Neptune islands as a massive low front was on its way and the wind was going to get very nasty. With a couple of minutes to spare before stop fishing would be called we were on………. Double hook up!!! With both fishing landed that was all we managed for the day ☹ but that’s why it’s called fishing and not catching.
We cleaned up the deck and headed back to Port Lincoln, with Spartacus waiting for us to make sure we started heading back in safety. By the time we had left at 10am the wind was already up to 10knts and increasing. Within half an hour of our trip we had swell, wind slop and 20knot winds, we had water coming over the deck, over the roof, you name it was coming in. We established the bilge pump wasn’t working, so once the water filled up the back part of the boat we would pull up and Amanda and Helen would get to work bucketing water out…. We had to do this 3 times on the way home, that’s how nearly it got out there. We were all glad to see the headland in the distance and even happier once we were back through the headland.
Ren would like to acknowledge her team and their contribution, thankyou Helen, Amanda and Dean! They had their game plan and nailed it. Each team member had a job to do and it was executed for every fish, we landed every fish and didn’t lose any gear, resulting in efficiency of execution and lines back in the water within a matter of seconds. A massive massive thank you to Dean Forster, our sponsor from Stress Free Marine, he goes bloody hard for an old bloke and there is no doubting him and his skippering skills, and we are pretty sure we broke him that weekend, along with his boat ☹. Dean went above and beyond to come to Pt Lincoln with us, and not only your team but the other team truly thank you and appreciate you.
It was a fantastic weekend and tournament. We would also like to thank Leah Hargraves Interiors and Construction for her part in sponsoring this event for us, your sponsorship and having you on our team means the world, and your continued support for the event for us is appreciated.
We are looking forward to having 4 boats hopefully in the comp next year, with the QLD team down for that competition as well and a possible 3rd crew for SA …. put your hand up girls ITS GAME ON!!!