The John Johnston Memorial Wirrina Tuna Slam 2023
The Game Fishing Club of South Australia (GFCSA) hold its annual Tuna Comp every year in Feb. This was the only SA tournament Team Justagirl participated in. Its an easy 2-day comp out of Wirrina Cove, Its also a great event to get those tournament virgins familiar with tournament conditions.
We had spent a few days prior, tying rigs rigging skips and making sure everything was ready to go. We have been using Colarto Lures this season and had some great resuts and had just recieved a new pack in the post. We have also found the Zerek Speed donkeys amazing as far as kures go, they always swim straight, you can troll them with a bit extra speed as well.
On board was
Sharky – Sharky is going to Tassie in April and wanted this tournament as a warmup.
Shez – This was a first comp for Shez, and she was keen to be the leading deck hand.
Renee – She got in the deep end with this being her first event and first time as a crew member.
Skip – Holding the team together in the skipper’s seat.
This year’s comp was based out of the Wirrina Cove Holiday Park, this was a first time for the Club and a first time for Ben and Holly owners of the Holiday Park. It is an exceptional venue with a lot of crews staying in the cabins and camping. There was also a café on ground the whole time, fresh proper coffee. The facilities were amazing and the hospitality first class.
Skippers brief was held on the Friday night, the weather report was just okay, not exceptional so a test for the smaller boats. With 35 boats, 109 competitors and 8 juniors this was bigger than last year. Its also the only cash comp in SA.
We launched early to get the hour-long trip down backstairs passage out of the way and be ready to go at lines in, and yep, it wasn’t at all pleasant. It took us a while to get to Cape Willoughby and that was where we saw the first signs of action. Birds were diving everywhere, but the swell was pushing through there as well. Young Renee wasn’t coping very well and spent most of the day leaning over the side and then out cold in the cabin. The work was on for Sharky and Shez with skip having to stay in the skipper’s seat mostly due to conditions.
This comp is a catch and kill comp, meaning that all fish need to be weighed in whole, they do have to be bled. There is some strategy involved and it can be quite complex. The problem here is you really need to keep your first fish as it maybe the only one you get, the second thing to consider the boat limit, ours is 6, the plan was for the girls to catch at least one Tuna each to weigh in. if they got a bigger one there would be room for them to upgrade … once.
With birds diving Skip trolled up towards the Starboard side of the bait ball and bang hooked up, Shez was on strike first the fish was measured and put in an iced saltwater slurry keeping it in good condition for weigh in later in the day. It was rough with the swell rolling through at about 3 meters at times, but the bait and birds where there, right on the corner, right in the swell line.
Sharky was the next to hook up, looked like a nice fish as well. It was time to get Renee ready, she also needed a fish in the boat. Shez hooked up again and the fish was lost at the side of the boat. Renee didn’t get on a rod; the conditions had destroyed her, and we were hoping she was going to be better tomorrow.
We had 2 fish in the eski at the end of day 1. Sharky weighed hers in at 9.18kg and Shez had a bubba at 5.88kg. The biggest fish for the day was 16.46 kg caught by Nelson who fished off Victor Harbor. The top 8 fish were all in the 16 kg arena and most came from Victor. There where also a few come from Cape Hart which was just around the corner from where we fished.
Day 2 was a little better than day 1 and Renee was feeling a lot better. We could still get the biggest fish and take out the day 2 $1,000 cash prize. Again, we launched in the dark to get down the passage nice and early. With comps the secret is to be on the mark and ready when lines in is called and fish until lines out is called.
Once more we came across a heap of bird action at Cape Willoughby, so we sat there until lines in. We still had a big swell rolling in and after we had a few scares decided to back off and come in closer the passage, we weren’t the only ones 😊
There were still plenty of fish around and Sharky caught a solid fish first up, she also released a few smaller fish. Shez got a nice fish around the same size as Sharky’s. Young Renee hooked up her first fish and brought it onboard with the biggest smile I think I have ever seen, she was stoked. The day flew by and we had 3 fish to weigh in. Sharky had a good fish, and we were looking forward to seeing what everyone else had caught.
Renee’s fish was 8.5kg, Shez weighed in at 10.42kg and Sharky was our biggest at 11.92kg not enough to win the cash but the girls were all happy, they had learnt how not to net a fish lol, and they had also learnt some reel skills and rough weather taught then to lift and wind using swell movement. Shez had been on the leader and done an awesome job. Renee was stoked to have caught her fish on the Team Justagirl Boat.
The biggest fish on day 2 was 16.10 kg and caught by Andrew, but the overall champion was Nelson who had caught great fish both days. His weekends fishing earnt him $4,000 cash.
This is a great family comp and there’s not a lot of pressure involved. The prize categories are junior angler and senior angler, there is no lady angler’s section. This is okay as we can fish as well as any of the guys, can’t we girls and the victory when it comes will be even sweeter.