Let the games begin

FISH OF THE WEEK: Darren Reed wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 60kg black marlin hooked off Port Stephens last Sunday.

The weather forecast is positive, the fish have been biting and conditions are tipped to be hot on and off the water as we head into the Bigfish Bonanza this weekend.

FISH OF THE WEEK: Darren Reed wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 60kg black marlin hooked off Port Stephens last Sunday.

Hosted by Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Club, the event is the first game fishing tournament of the season in Hunter waters.

“Things are looking good,” Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Club president Garry Russell said, taking a break from preparations this week.

”We’re looking at 60 or 70 boats competing and over 150 anglers, with lots of cash and prizes on offer for the tournament proper and two bonus events for largest marlin over 200kg and largest shark over 1000lbs.

“We’ve got boats coming up from Botany Bay, and down from Port Macquarie, plus all the local competitors from Newcastle and Port Stephens game fishing clubs flying their colours.

“A lof of boatswill hang around and compete in the Shootout, Interclub and the Bluewater Classic coming up over the next month or so.”

There will be a few new features at this year’s event, including new certified scales and a representative on hand from Fisheries to do research for some university studies.

“We found it hard getting parts for the old scales so we’ve installed new ones this year,” Garry said.

“And DPI researcher Dr Nick Otway will be on handdoing samples on sharks for some university studies and adjudicating on captures.”

Competitors will gather at Belmont Yacht Club on Friday at 7pm for the briefing.

Competition starts Saturdays morning at 6am with the official cut-off each day 5.10pm.

“Saturday night we’ll be holding a spit with plenty of raffles at the yacht club,” Garry said.

“Thefeature meat raffles will be for two half beasts, coming via the good people at Teralba butchery, where two lucky winners will take half a beast each. The raffles are open to all with tickets on sale at the weigh station.”

Although the official cut-off for fishing each day is 5.10pm, members of the public are invited to get down to the weigh station from 4pm to see what’s going on.

“We’ll be processing tag and release cards and some people might come in early if they’ve had any luck.

“As well as that, we’ll be Running updates on Channel 80 and 94, our normal skeds. We’ll also have a progressive scoreboard being updated at the yacht club on Saturday night.”

The official presentation night will be held the following Friday at Swansea RSL

Garry was elected president last September and hiswife Toni is the new secretary.

Gary has been involved with LMGFC since mid 90s and has had his own boat for the last 12 years –Camelot, a 28ft Bertram.

As president, Garry won’t fish the tournament.

“I’ll be down at the weigh station in my capacity as the official tournament weigh master,” he said.

“Neil Grieves is the club’s official weigh master, but he will be busy running the radios, as he does each year.”

A lot of new sponsors have comeon board this year and Garry is keen to work in with them.

“We’ve got a lot of good prizes on offer for small fry and juniors in tag and release and capture -rods, stand up fight gear etc,’’ he said. “Onelucky lady angler will wina pink Penn reel and gear from Tackleworld.

“And the team from Sydney charter boat Lady Audrey are offering a full day charter for one lucky tag and release angler in the tournament, who will go into the barrell for the draw.”

Weather conditions are looking very good for the Saturday and not too bad on Sunday.

“We’ll probably get a bit of a nor-easterly blowing Sunday, but Saturday it will be possibly glassing out and hot,” Garry said.

“We’ve gone out of our way to schedule the tournament this weekend rather than last because we’ll get a mid-tide in the morning and the afternoon, which will assist the bigger boats heading out and coming in over the bar.”

Fishing reports have been promising over the last couple of weeks, with a couple of tiger and mako sharks pushing the 300kg mark, and the odd marlin upwards of 150kg tagged.

”The emphasis is on tag and release and there’sbeen a bit of action lately,” Garry said. “We’ve got warm water out wide and lots of bait. Recent reports from Harrington have seen marlin active in close, so that suggests they’re on their way down. Fingers crossed for the weekend.”

Local effortsWill Hiles, 12, landed an 86cm jew fishing the lake with uncle Deano last Sunday.

David Varley got a 46cm bream in the southern end of Lake Macquarie midweek.

Jack Pepper got a PB 86cm flathead fishing up near Foster.

Denman dynamos Angus Higgins and Jayden Blanch had a hot night fishing on Lake Macquarie last Friday.

Jayden landed a PB 96cm flathead and a maiden 72cm jewie. Angus also got a nice 83cm jew.

Nicholas Henderson hooked an 82cm mullowayon Friday night.

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