Hosted and held by Gold Coast Game Fishing Club.
The QLD team has been ready to fish for a month or two now and the Garmin Blue Marlin Classic was the perfect opportunity for them to finally get on the water. Ren, Mel and Syl where ready to go and excited as this would be their first fish together. It was to be Mel’s and Syl’s first Marlin trip as well. Unfortunately Syl came down sick, so we were 1 woman down. They were devastated for her, but health comes first.
Ren had arranged with Dave to fish off Witchin with Damo as crew. Ren has fished off the coast with Witchin in the past, and the team want to give a massive shout out to Dave. Not only did he allow the girls to fish from his boat, they entered the comp as Team Justagirl QLD. Without the support of Witchin and Dave we would not have been able to fish.
Friday finally rolled around, the longest week ever. Briefing night was fantastic, the tournament saw 44 boat’s entered and over $24,000 raised in the Calcutta.
After Briefing it was straight home to bed. We were at the boat by 5.am and on our way. Conditions Saturday morning where a little lumpy with 10-15 knots and around 2m swell, certainly wouldn’t consider it bad conditions especially after fishing in Port Lincoln the week before. At 7am the radio came to life , start fishing, start fishing, start fishing… that was it keen as beans lines in. The 1st sked was 9.05am and we still hadn’t seen a fish, while boats where hooked up all over the place, we knew they were there we just had to find them.
It wasn’t long before we had raised our first fish, and reels where screaming zzzzzzzzzzzzzz sadly it was a short lived hook up with us losing that first fish. We were devo but pumped. We circled around a couple of times hoping to pic it it back up but it went deep. Off we went in search of another one, it wasn’t long before zzzzzzzzzzzzz we where hooked up again, swinging into full action it was another short lived fight, loosing our 2nd fish, feeling shattered but optimistic we carried on and by the 2nd sked at 11.05am we were 3,2,0 and so excited we had raised and hooked so many fish.
11.50 came around… BOOM… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and this baby wasn’t getting away, Mel was on strike and pumped for her first Marlin and the struggle and pain was reel… hahaha there were words thrown around I don’t think anyone has heard before, dry mouth, arms and lungs burning, two handed reel turns, we knew this fish wasn’t getting away!!
Mel battled like a trooper and after 20 mins, she was besides the boat ready for tagging, Skipp Dave and Damo jumped in to lend a hand to make sure this one did get away, Damo tagged the fish and then…. BOOM tag pole broke and we lost the end of it…
That was it Mel had popped her Marlin Cherry, she had landed her first Marlin, on her first Marlin fishing trip out. That fish will go down in the history books as the first Marlin for Team Justagirl QLD. The team are super proud of her efforts.
As Mel caught her breath, the rest of us got lines back out, and by Sked 3 Team Justagirl QLD was 4-3-1 and we were all excited that there was points on board for the boat. We couldn’t wait for the next hook up. As the afternoon went on the radios were quiet and the bites had shut down. The team finished the day at 4-3-1. That was the most fish we had seen on a day out, and couldn’t believe it, We had caught a Marlin OMG.
We headed back to game base, with Damo at the wheel, now Damo has a reputation on the boat for loosing things in the water or breaking things and the trip home was no exception, as we sat up in the fly bridge breaking down the days fishing and debriefing the rods in the steering wheel started to fall out, the more Dave and Damo tried to get them back in the steering wheel the more they fell out, and before we knew we had no steering wheel, with the exception of 1 stick to steer the boat, (of course this was due to wear and tear but we blamed Damo..haha) and then damo was back in the naughty corner…hahahahahahahahaha.
We made it back safely and Mel went off to enter her tag card and have the gear checked by comp officials.
We were all shattered after a big day, so it was dinner and bed and an early night, needless to say we all slept well. It was decided to leave earlier the next morning,conditions where looking MINT with wind at 2 knots pretty much all day, it was decided we would head off at 4.30am to get out to the grounds ready for lines in at 7am.
Damo cooked up some bacon and eggs on the way out so we all had our sustenance, for what we were hoping would be another action packed day, as we left the seaway conditions where unbelievable.
We were out and ready and set up for lines in at 7am. It didn’t take long before we had our first hook up, we couldn’t believe our luck, unfortunately that one didn’t stick for long and our dreams of the a second fish were short lived, with lines back in, zzzzzzzzzzz another strike, that to was short lived. We started the day at 2-2-0 for the first sched and excited about the rest of the day. Everything slowed down as we trolled around the ocean working bait schools trying to raise another one and sked 2 saw as at 0-0-0.
It wasn’t long after that zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz we were on again, and jumping into action stations, Mel was on strike again and this one seemed to be hooked, no one was convinced 100% it was a Marlin, but we were all certainly praying it was. As it reached the boat we realised we had hooked up to a nice size Wahoo, as it thrashed around and took line, what a feisty fish they are and the colours were amazing. Before we knew it, it flicked its head and bit the hooks off.
Devastated we all looked and each other and said a few colourful words, re-rigged the shottie and lines where back in. We watch the clock like a hawk as lines in for the day was 3pm and as it neared we prayed and prayed, then we saw some activity in the distance, birds working and a school of tuna… yewwww at least we can try again for other species we thought or best case pull a marlin off it. First run through the school zzzzzzz hooked up, and then nothing it was gone, feeling frustrated we worked the school for another half hour hoping to get something off it, alas it just wasn’t meant to be, and before we knew stop fishing, stop fishing, stop fishing.
We had an awesome 2 days out on the water, with weather and also the number of fish and species we managed to hook up. It was time to pack up the lines and head back in, ready to get cleaned up for presentation.
Presentation was fabulous it was so good to see so many boats, and clubs from all over QLD and NSW and even team members from SA, as Broadbill saw Rolf and Ralph from the Game Fishing Club of South Australia on board. A massive congratulations to all the participants and especially to Bec Sonson who took out Champion Female, the points work on a time back scenario, so first fish caught leads for the day, we missed that by an 1hr and 20 mins, there were 11 females fishing the comp and 3 tagged fish, so great achievement all round, not to mention a couple of them were lost at the side of the boat before tags could be put in.
19 boats caught 1 fish each with a points score of 10,000 per billfish, congrats to the boats that landed 2+ fish over the comp, Team Justagirl QLD ended up 7th overall, this was an awesome effort and again thanks to our skipper Davo for doing his best to get us on the fish.
Special thanks to the Gold Coast Game fishing club for organising such a great event, the club keeps going from strength to strength. The club did the Sched calls on a live facebook feed, this was an awesome initiative as the South Australian Justagirl crew were plugged in for the weekend. I think there will be a second crew next year, just saying lol.
Thanks to all the sponsors that supported the event, with over $75,000 in prize value it was an outstanding achievement. Without these sponsors these events cant happen so please support them where you can.
Last but by no means least and once again , a Massive thank you to Dave Walker for the opportunity to fish and get out there and enter the competition as Team Justagirl QLD, it was greatly appreciated. Damian Jackson for coming on board as crew to help out, relief skipper, decky, bbq cooker and dedicated break or loose something crew member….hahahahaha
For anyone interested the final point scores and round up on the following GCGFC link: