The NSW Game Fishing Association State Championships are considered the pinnacle of gamefishing in the state.
Running this year from February 22 to February 25 out of Nelson Bay, Interclub, as it is known, combines decades of tradition and rivalry as 26 clubs from across NSW converge on Port Stephens to fight for the right to say they are the best in NSW.
“It’s one of the oldest game fishing tournaments in the southern hemisphere and is considered the ultimate prize for our members,” NSWGFA president Gary Chenoworth said.
“About 130 boats and 700 anglers will be in attendance, competing in tag and release and capture categories on a teams basis. Each club sends teams of three, with tag forming 90 per cent of competition. Within the two major categories there’s a myriad of line-class divisions.”
Being the host port, Newcastle Port Stephens Game Fishing club will have a big representation at this year’s event with around 25 boats entered.
There will also be an an influx clubs from up and down the coast, with Central Coast back to defend the historic tag and release crown they won last year, and Lake Macquarie looking to back up in capture.
“Scotty Thorington and the boys caused a boilover last year when they won tag, and it was a win close to my heart as I was the founding president of the Central Coast GFC,” Gary said.
Expectations are high this year, with promising reports of marlin all month.
“We’re hoping to have a really good result from all the teams turning up,” Gary said.
“A lot of guys have fished out of the bay over the season trying to get the edge.
“They’ve been staying and bringing their business to the local economy and that’s always another big feature of Interclub.”
Following a briefing Thursday night at Wests Diggers, action will kick off Friday with a spectacular sail past at 7am.
For a good view of the boats as they head out to fish, get down to the northern side of the breakwall at d’Albora Marina.
Fishing runs until Sunday afternoon, with weigh-ins starting each day around 3.30pm. The presentation will be held Sunday night at Wests Diggers.
The event’s big four sponsors – Ray Marine, Pantaneus Insurance, Penn Quality Tackle and Costa Sunglasses, which have come on board this year – will be on hand at an Expo on Thursday night in the lead-up to the briefing.
Another highlight will be the Lyndy Grieves Memorial Ladies Day event, held Thursday.
“It is a ladies event, you don’t have to be a member of a GFC and you can fish it on the way up from your home port,” Gary said. “They’ll be vying for a prestigious marlin pendant created courtesy of one of our sponsors.”