Interclub guns seek glory

GAME ON: Port Stephens becomes the focus of gamefishing over the next fortnight with the staging of the Garmin Billfish Shootout tournament this weekend, followed by Interclub the following week.
GAME ON: Port Stephens becomes the focus of gamefishing over the next fortnight with the staging of the Garmin Billfish Shootout tournament this weekend, followed by Interclub the following week.

The NSW Game Fishing Association State Championships have long been considered the pinnacle of gamefishing in the state.

Pitting rival clubs from up and down the east coast of NSW, Interclub is always  about the glory, and nothing changes this year.

Running  from Thursday, February 21  to Sunday, February 24 out of Nelson Bay, Interclub 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.

“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.

“A huge influx of boat and 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.”

Action kicks off on Thursday with the time-honoured  Lyndy Grieves Memorial Ladies Day event.

This tournament was established  to honour a champion of Australian game-fishing, Lyndy Grieves, who manned the tournament radio for many years  with her husband Neil.

The event will be  poignant this year with the passing of Neil in October in 2018.

“Neil and Lyndy were the voice of not just Interclub but all the game fishing tournaments in the Hunter over many years, and they endeared themselves to the gamefishing fraternity not just of NSW but Australia,” Gary said.

“Their daughter Leanne [Hoff] and Leanne’s daughter Caitlin will carry on the family tradition this year, assisting with the radio for not just Interclub, but the Shootout as well.”

Interclub action  kicks off Friday, following a briefing and Expo Thursday night at Wests Diggers.

“The event’s big four sponsors – Ray Marine, Pantaneus Insurance, Penn Quality Tackle and Costa Sunglasses, are back on on board this year and will be on hand at an Expo on Thursday night in the lead-up to the briefing,” Gary said.

“All the boats will assemble around Dutchies Beach on Friday morning for the sail past just before 7am and then head towards the marina in single file.

“Then it’s game on.”

Competitors  fish Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the weigh station open from about 4pm onwards.

Newcastle Port Stephens Game Fishing club will be looking to defend their  Champion Club team tag and release crown won last year, but there are never any guarantees when it comes game fishing.

The presentation will be held Sunday night at Wests Diggers from 7pm.