The first week of March is traditionally considered by some as the most stable weather time for the Bay of Islands but not in 2012. Despite that, 12 teams turned up to fish and most of them braved the conditions which not only blew 20-knots-plus for the first three days but also seemed to put the marlin down as well.
On Wednesday local angler Ashley Hankinson tagged a small hammerhead shark on the boat Legend to get the points moving.
As would be expected in the conditions, the first fish bought in to weigh was a bronze whaler shark for the boat Cerveza 2 of 173 kg.
The next fish of interest was a marlin for the boat Pukematu bought in on Friday night but unfortunately it didn’t make the 90-kg mark so no points were awarded.
There were several fish called as in either coming into the gear or hooking up but were then dropped — probably due to the conditions — and the hard lucky story must go to team Pukematu, who hooked another marlin on Saturday but then discovered they didn’t have a tag pole and lost their fish in their attempt to tag it. Had they gotten tags into their two marlin, they would have easily won the team prize and a trip to the World Offshore Championship. However, it was not to be, so Cevaza 2 took out top prize with their bronze whaler.
While the fishing wasn’t so great, the shore-based activities were the highlight of the event with accommodations by the Duke of Marlborough Hotel being a highlight.
Briefing was held in the Russell clubhouse on the Tuesday night and a Calcutta was also run for the event with the winning boat being the one who weighed in the heaviest billfish. Obviously no one won but drawing on the last night was won by Independence who covered the bar tab with their winnings.
Friday night was the pinnacle of the event with Sir Graham Henry as guest speaker and a full sit-down meal. Sir Graham’s address was inspiring and covered the Rugby World Cup win and members of the squad followed by a question and answer session.
Nobody won the Mercedes Benz offered by Caribbean Boats and it was great to have the two owners of Caribbean Boats NZ Ltd attend the tournament, Scott and Paul White. They have confirmed that they will supply the same sponsorship next year.
A great vote of thanks must go to Anton and Rikki from the Duke who made a significant commitment to the tournament and turned on an event which had all competitors vowing to return in 2013. Planning is already under way and dates are tentatively locked in for March 6-9, 2013.