FISH OF THE WEEK: Shaye Hamilton, right, wins the Jarivs Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this monster flathead caught in Lake Macquarie.

The 2017 NSW Game Fishing Association Interclub tournament went down to the wire last weekend at Port Stephens.

Although the marlin were patchy, the competition was tight with only 200 points separating first from third heading into the third day.

“The lead changed a couple of times during that day, a couple of dolphin fish in it, before the winning fish was tagged about 3pm,” NSWGFA president Gary Chenoworth said.

Central Coast GFC was crowned champion club tag and release with 77,781 points. Lake Macquarie took club capture honours with 32,272.80 points. Champion boat tag and release was Ambition from Sydney GFC with 55,025 points

Champion boat capture was Broken Bay vessel with Murrifin with 20,763.96 points. Martin Booth, who fished on Murrifin, weighed the heaviest marlin, a 151.90kg blue marlin on 15kg line, which was enough to earn him champion male angler tag and release.

Steve Dial (LMGFC), fishing on Redemption, weighed the heaviest shark, a 256.1kg tiger on 15kg line worth 16396.80 points, and took out male capture honours. The heaviest other game fish weighed was a 26.1kg mahi mahi caught by Newcastle GFC angler Luke Henkel on 24kg line.

A total of 55 marlin were tagged and released, and three weighed, with the species breakdown22 black, 23 blue and 13 striped marlin.

Newcastle and Port Stephens anglers Cassie Herbert and Ebony Pearson rose to the occasion on the Monday to claim tag and release and capture honours in the Lyndy Grieves Memorial Ladies Day.

“We had good weather Friday and Saturday with the Sunday a bit ordinary and same for the Monday,” Gary said. “Everyone had fun and the new three-day format was well received and will be back next year.”

Port Stephens Game Fishing Club secretary Nigel Rushworth was very pleased with the way his club hosted the event.

“We were up by 30 per cent in participation and as aclub performed well both in and out of the water,” he said. “We didn’t take out any of the major Interclub prizes, which were well spread,but we were competitive and our women rose to the occasion to grab the double on Monday at the Lyndy Grieves Memorial.

“We’re looking forward to doing it all again next year.”

The game fishing focus now turns to the Newcastle East Coast Classic which will be held out of Newcastle next weekend, followed by events at Broken Bay, Sydney and Port Hacking.

Tune into VHFMarine Rescue representative and NSW Game Fishing Association life member Neil Grieves is planning to run a VHF radio operators certificate this winter for Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Club members and urges all to think about registering.

“It is a legal requirement to have a VHF licence on your boat if you have a VHF radio, and if you get caught unlicensed, the fine is a couple of thousand dollars,” Neil said.

“It’s important to know the right terminology on the radio because when the shit hits the fan on the water, that’s when you really need to know what you’re doing.”

Stormy weatherNeil manned the radios during Interclub and reports a clean bill of health safety-wise for the event, but aclassic example of the trouble that can blow up occurred during a storm that hit Nelson Bay during the Billfish Shootout last month.

“It only lasted 40 minutes, but within that period, three or four boats triggered their EPIRBs,” Neil said

Compton got caught in a water spout and lost its aerials, clears andelectronics.

“Water was going up into the air and the boat was doing 360s,” Neil, who saw phone footage from owner Dougie Russell, reported.

Another boatcoming through the heads got in trouble and was being washed onto the rocks at Tomaree before being assisted with a tow line.

Zulu, a visiting 50ft Riv, lost its clears and aerials in 80 knot gusts of wind and water.

Mida Touch, which was competing in the Shootout, had a 250kg mako draped over the back of the boat, still very much alive, when it started to sink in driving rain.

“There were two problems with the bilge pump; one, it was blocked, and two, there was this bloody big shark next to the pump,” Neil said.

“Gary Russell, president of Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Club turned around and went to its aid and thankfully they sorted things out.

“Before you knew it, the storm was over and everyone was OK, but in that brief window, things were very hectic on the radio and that’s when your procedures and protocols come into their own.”

Annual eventsThe Maitland City Offshore Fishing Club will hold their annual members weekend at Swansea Gardens Caravan Park from Friday March 10 to 12.

Meanwhile, the NSW 12-man Team Anglers Association titles will be held on Lake Macquarie this weekend.

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