41 boats (up 11 on last year) and 139 anglers (up 27 on last year) came out to play. Fair to say the weather makes a big difference, but our prize pool and the awesome people that consistently fish this event mean we’ll always have good numbers, even if the weather ever restricted us just to harbour fishing.
Friday weather was good, Saturday was a bit untidy, and Sunday was memorable—for all the right reasons. The fishing wasn’t scorching hot like last year, but most boats saw free jumpers and there were lots of other signs of bluewater life.
This years ratio of tagged to weighed marlin was a bit closer, with 3 tagged and released (22 last year) and 4 (9 last year) weighed in the Warkworth Game Fish One Base Tournament. Three yellowfin tuna graced the decks, a beaut kingfish, and some good snapper. A couple of tagged sharks rounded out the prize pool. This year the travel prize was boosted to $5500 plus agents enhancements—and the reduction draw on Sunday night was electric. That’s one helluva prize just for turning up and having a great time. Mason Containers, Southeys Group, Keith Andrews Trucks, and Warkworth World Travellers put this prize together and it is unique in that the winner gets to choose their destination.
Friday dawned clear and full of fishy potential. The team on Aria wasted no time, landing a striped marlin before many boats had eggs in the pan for breakfast. To prove it wasn’t a fluke they nailed another one 3 hours later, giving Andrew Whittle and Peter Blackett the co-owners of the boat their first billfish after years of putting other anglers on their boat ahead of themselves. Andrew picked up the Presidents Challenge for the first billfish, $100 and a bottle of rum from Mtkna Contractors.
Jessica Mabey on the ever reliable local boat Rookie set the Club Record for women 11 to 16yrs for her great stripie of 117.8kg and lead the weighed gamefish section right to the end.
Also true to form, Alby Petersen on LunaSea put Jason Kelly onto a 10.4kg snapper, setting the bar high for everyone else on that species too.
The radio quizzes were again hotly contested and everyone acknowledges the degree of difficulty in a free for all over the vhf. It’s another way we can bring sponsors names into the event and the prizes are definitely worth having a crack at. We’ll do it a bit different next year because it sounds a lot like when you throw a hot chip to a bunch of seagulls.
Jake Edwards on Nicarla landed a stripie but it didn’t quite go minimum weight, tastes good though.
Last year there was a distinct bite time, but this year it was fairly random. The lack of skippies this year was notable. Only a couple of boats found some, and when found they were in small schools and not easily followed. Water temperature was also down on last year, with pockets of warm water in close but generally you had to be at 250m+ to break 21 deg and 400m+ to find bluewater consistently over 22. There was good bait action in 150m off the Mokes and although the water was 20’sh degrees there were bites to be had there.
Saturday was breezy. Really breezy in places, and some boats came back in for snapper fishing instead of getting knocked around further out. It eased in the evening but too late to go wide. The forecast for Sunday was mint so most were happy to let Saturday be a snapper feeding day. From those that did go wide there was Richie Came on Brodie Campbells Jackpot with a T&R stripie and mako. Ana Marriott on the Mabey vessel Rookie landed a good yellowfin tuna, and on Brenda L Ben Wyatt t&r’d a stripie. A t&r bronzie on to Mitchell Fraser on Unreel Obsession and Jason Kellys snapper hung on another day at 1st place. Bradley Bowmar on Nerayle stamped his authority on the kingfish division with a 25kg model, pretty much ending everyone elses kingfish efforts! Steve Franich on Centrefold was deadset on getting a marlin for one of his crew no matter how long it took and that focus paid off with a beaut 140+kg stripie to Will Macnicol, but outside tournament hours.
Saturday nights catch up was at Fitzroy Landing. We drew our first 5 potential travelers and they got the traditional numbered paper plates. Rafting up and having a few rums is at least as important as the fishing and it was a perfect evening for doing that. Credit to everyone for no anchoring screw ups, a good result isn’t guaranteed in busy harbours over summer. The raffle on Saturday night will benefit LegaSea, good work guys.
The Sunday forecast was spot on—one of those days where it feels a little surreal to be so far from land but not spilling your drinks. Manta rays were a regular feature and some were pretty happy to show off their jumping skills. Did you know the variety we mostly see down here can be up to 5.5m across? Not really something you want landing in the cockpit!
Robert Wright t&r’d a stripie on Bloodshot , good to have some of the Clevedon boys along again.
The Sunday gathering up at the Fitzroy Boating Club is always a hoot. Might have to get 2 water taxis going next year, thanks for running that service Noel and to Rob for supplying the boat. Thank you sponsors for contributing to the prizegiving meal, it was very good.
The ‘skipper packs’ were collected and squabbles ensued because they contained seriously good items, mostly from Hunting & Fishing Warkworth, thank you Larry and Anne.
The last of the radio quizz prizes were given out, rum from Matakana Contractors (thanks Parksey) and lures and line from Tackle and Outdoors (thank you Anthony & Petrie).
Lucky draws spread more booty around the crowd, MTA vouchers, oil, and other good stuff from Gubbs. Product from Hunting & Fishing, vouchers from Ww Auto Electrical (thanks Benny), product from Hynds (cheers Bruce) and even more Gubbs goodies!
Jason Kelly won the Earlybird draw of a big H&F chillybin filled with goodies. The sponsors draw for $150 meal and drinks at the Rusty Tui (thanks Luke) was Anthony from Tackle and Outdoor.
Then we hit the fish prizes. Jason Kelly held onto first snapper at 10.4kg on LunaSea, Brian Vujcich 2nd on Expressions at 8kg, and Tim Kerr on Playin’ Hooky at 7.8kg. Prizes in the snapper section ranged from a Makita skilly from Matakana ITM plus $600 cash to $300 cash for 3rd place.
There’s only one kingfish prize and it went to the very deserving 25kg one weighed by Bradley Bowmar on Nerayle. A good pay day ensued with $500 cash and a quality socket set from Matakana ITM.
$250 cash each for the tagged sharks on Jackpot by Richie Came and on Unreel Obsessions by Tatts Fraser.
The 3 yellowfin tuna were pretty close in weight. Kim Dobney on Almeda was 1st place with a 24.kg YF and collected $600 cash and a Makita chainsaw from Matakana ITM. 2nd and 3rd were 24kg and went to Aaron Stenbeck on Matakana Marine ($450 cash) and Ana Marriott on Rookie ($300 cash).
The Billfish Points section for the One Base trophy went to Aria 1st place ($1000 cash and screwdrivers from Mtkna ITM), 2nd place Rookie ($800 cash), and 3rd place Brenda L ($600). Brenda L also picked up the trophy for the first t&r of the comp.
Onto the weighed billfish section. 12 year old Jessica Mabey hung on to the lead with her 117.8kg stripie and if the buzz from that wasn’t enough she also snaffled $2000 cash and a $1900 Mercury outboard. Peter Blacketts fish on Aria went 106.2kg and got him 2nd place for $1000 cash, and Andrew Whittle grabbed 3rd place with his 96.6kg stripie and $700 cash.
So just when the crew of Arai are thinking it couldn’t get any better, they also picked up the optional jackpot for the heaviest gamefish of $750 cash….chaaa ching!
The raffle on the Sunday is always for Gt Barrier Marine Radio Inc and $500 was given with thanks to Emmy. Sometimes Emmy and skippers talk on the radio for years before finally putting faces to names, which happens quite a bit on our last night of this event.
The Hard Luck trophy and prize is judged on the ‘clapomometer’. Nothing to do with Hamilton. Stories ranged from a marlin missed because a gannet nailed the lure fractionally before the marlin did, engine oil stored in a Coke bottle being gulped down by mistake, etc. And I’m sure we don’t hear about half of what goes on. Mike Leggoe from Brenda L will be checking the viscosity of future Coke guzzles and the trophy and prize were his. All stories were rewarded with things like tools from Mtkna ITM and Gubbs ITM vouchers.
The grand finale is of course the travel draw. Thanks to Mason Containers, Southeys Group, Keith Andrews Trucks, and Warkworth World Travellers 10 excited people stood ready for the elimination process. At 4th to last standing Bruce Peden got a $250 Autec battery voucher. For 3rd to last Stevie Mabey won her family’s own prize—a weekend at The Shearers Quarters, Gt Barrier. What are the chances of that?! The runner up to the travel prize was Jason Hill on Zinfandel and he took away a luxury weekend including the use of a brand new VW from Tristram European. Last one standing and the winner of over $5500 travel was Geoff Harris on the boat Red Keyte.
We can’t have a prize pool this juicy and a great meal included in the ticket price without the support of our sponsors. They’re loyal and generous, let them know you had an awesome weekend. New sponsors this year were Advanced Concrete Pumping, Dam Great Drainage, Laser Plumbing Warkworth, and ReMax Warkworth. Have read of the poster and grid and remember all these businesses when you need products and services from people that share our values.
Thanks to Nicola Hoverd, Monique Hatfull, and helpers that camped on the Island and helped with weighing and setting up. Clive the weighmaster is a legend and had to travel quite a distance to weigh our fish each day. Thanks to the FBC for an excellent meal and use of the venue. Thanks Emmy for putting up with our vhf antics, the radio quizzes in particular must’ve had you shaking your head. Thank you to our organising committee, lots of work for a great result and all done with a smile. Louise O’Sullivan shoulders much of this and she’s pivotal to our success. Thanks Scott Mabey for the background work on Aotea, so valuable to have this local connection.
Thanks again to our amazing sponsors, your contribution goes the maximum distance because as a Club we’re not out to cream a commercial style profit from the event like many of the ‘big’ tournaments.
And lastly, you crusty rum running fish botherers—thanks for coming and for being an excellent crowd—see you all next year!