An army of anglers will hit the high seas during the next two weeks for two of the Port’s largest annual fishing tournaments.
Newcastle and Port Stephens Game Fish Club will host the 2018 Garmin Billfish Shootout in Nelson Bay from Friday, February 16 to Sunday, February 18.
Then from Thursday, February 22 until Sunday, February 25, NSW Game Fish Association (GFA) will host its 55th annual Interclub Tournament, which includes the Lyndy Grieves Memorial Ladies Day.
The Newcastle and Port Stephens GFA club expects this year’s Shootout to be one of of its biggest yet.
With $250,000 in cash and prizes, including $100,000 alone for the heaviest Pacific Blue Marlin, up for grabs it is little wonder why the club has seen anglers quick to sign up for the 2018 tournament.
“This is definitely going to be one of our biggest tournaments yet,” club manager Nigel Rushworth said. “We’re expecting them [anglers] to come from all over.”
Last year’s shootout, which offered $150,000 in cash and prizes, saw 135 boats enter. Thanks to the club’s sponsors, it has been able to offer a lot more for the 2018 shootout.
Rushworth said the $100,000 for the angler who catches the heaviest blue marlin, which has to be more than 236kg, was the largest cash prize of its kind on offer in Australasia.
The Shootout also offers $12.5k for champion boat tag and release, $12.5k for biggest marlin over 150kg, $12.5k for biggest shark over 350kg and $5k for champion boat tag and release under eight metres.
A minimum of 150 boats and 700 anglers are expected to take part in this year’s Shootout. Any member of a club affiliated with the NSW or Australian GFAs can enter.
Fishing will be done between 8am and 5pm on the Saturday and 8am and 4pm on the Sunday. Weigh in, which will be done at Nelson Bay public wharf, is at 4pm both days.
The Lyndy Grieves Memorial Ladies Day, which will kick off the Interclub Tournament on February 22, is open to any lady angler. They do not have to be a club member, but they must fish on an Interclub boat.
The day is in honour of Lyndy Grieves, who helped with communications during the Shootout and Interclub Tournament for 25 years.
Mrs Grieves, who died in 2014, worked with alongside her husband in the Port Stephens Marine Rescue centre at Gan Gan lookout, keeping competitors up to date on who was where and catching what.
Mr Grieves and his daughter Leanne and her daughters Caitlin and Brianna will be calling in the boats for safety and keeping competitors updated on competition standings during the Shootout and Interclub.
It is a system Mr and Mrs Grieves developed more than 25 years ago and one which has been adopted by many clubs throughout NSW since.
Interclub boats will take part in a sail past at 7am on February 23. Tournament fishing will begin at 7.30am each day and end at 5.30pm on Friday and Saturday and 4pm on Sunday.
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