The GCGFC Inc. Light Tackle Masters 2012 Tournament was a resounding success. There were moments of exhilaration, backslapping and euphoria as well as moments of anguish and despair. The GCGFC Inc. Tournament Committee deserves a pat on the back for changing the rules to suit the needs of all the anglers, without the arrival of the small black marlin the comp was opened up to heavy tackle as well, a decision which proved to be the correct call. Even the weather forecasters got it right, they predicted bad to yucky weather and were spot on. Fridays wind was in the 25 to 30 knot range and made things a bit uncomfortable. World class multimillion dollar boats such as SHAKA, KIWI, MISTRESS and CASTILLE III up against trailer boats of all sizes, the smallest being CARONA a 5.4 metre vessel that toughed it out for the 3 days, all with an equal chance to take out the comp. Teams and boats from as far off as New Zealand, Coffs Harbour, Mooloolaba, Townsville and a good number from the Surfers Paradise club ensured that we all made many new friends and the social side on the dock was pleasant.
Day 1 and 36 boats headed out into 2 to 3 metre swells and some consistent strong wind, despite the conditions Reel Screamer skippered by Scott Watson called in the first marlin only an hour after lines in, a nice blue on heavy tackle, soon after they were hooked up again and were successful in placing a tag on another blue. Ross McCubbin skippering Jugs then got into the action with 2 fish in 2 hours, Brett Alty skippering Mistress also got Alisa a nice blue, meanwhile most boats were reporting captures or tags on mahi mahi, yellowfin tuna and wahoo. The rough conditions saw many other boats unsuccessful with the marlin they had hooked. Celebrations for the crew off Reel Screamer did not last long when it was discovered that their leader lengths were too long and both fish were sadly disqualified.
Day 2 and a slightly reduced field went out in slightly better conditions, Jugs was back into it again with an early marlin followed by the boys on Sea Eagle and Larva. Plenty of marlin were hooked but again most of the fish were able to defeat the anglers. Jugs was leading with 4 marlin with several boats on 2. Again excitement turned into despair when the crew on Larva were told that their fish was disqualified due to excessive leader length.
Day 3 and under similar rough conditions many boats decided that they could not catch Jugs on heavy tackle so Light tackle was preferred by many. After a few hours Jugs decided to give us all a sporting chance and they went home early, many boats on Day 3 had their chance to win, numerous hookups but again most times the fish came out the winner.
Female angler Cath Doggett on Hook Me Up got 2 blues before 10am! One of the most professional and accomplished teams “AMIGO” had 8 blacks up, only to get one to the boat, the boys were disgusted with their conversion rate and suffered more pain to their egos when the only fish tagged by Mick Keogh was disqualified for excessive leader length. In total 5 marlin were disqualified during the Tournament but to the credit of all concerned they copped all the ribbing and comments from the rest of us experts and much laughter at their expense was had.
In total out 36 boats with 151 anglers & crew 19 marlin were tagged, 9 women competed and 3 of them caught marlin (Danielle Caelli, Cath Doggett & Alisa Schofield), 14 juniors toughed it out and most caught fish, the club is rapt at the increase in women and juniors competing and next year will only get better.
Congratulations goes to all anglers & crew who entered the tournament with the adverse weather conditions but especially to Jugs for winning Champion Boat Overall, Champion Boat over 8m, Champion Boat Heavy Tackle, Champion Female (Danielle Caelli), & Champion Male (Ben Caelli) and cleaning up a nice prize pool in the process, in excess of $17K. Additionally Jugs gained entry in the 2012 IGFA Offshore World Champion Event in Cabo San Lucas. We wish Jugs the best of luck in Mexico and hope they do us proud.
Congratulations also goes out to the crew on Fire Up skippered by Brett Smith winning Champion Boat Light Tackle with a huge number of other species being tagged during the Tournament. Truly a great effort!
Last but not least credit needs to go to Pakula Lures & Larva Lures as they joined together to donate a roll for auction of their lures raising $2,500 for charity. Scott Watson winning the bid and now a proud owner of many Pakula & Larva heavy tackle lures.
We hope that the same result from the Light Tackle will follow through to our Heavy Tackle scheduled for the 13 – 15 April 2012. Details will follow in the very near future.