Almost 900 anglers, plenty of prizes, perfect weather, and high-quality fish combined to help make the 20th Anniversary Club Marine Trailer Boat Fishing Tournament a huge success. This year the event, held at Nelson Bay, north of Newcastle (NSW), moved along the foreshore to the park adjacent the ferry terminal. It offered anglers better parking, a floating pontoon marina for easy on-water access, plenty of beach space, and more space for sponsor displays and demonstrations. Importantly, the new location was embraced by everyone involved.
With over 450 boats in attendance it would be reasonable to expect pandemonium at the launching ramps, but that wasn’t the case. There are plenty of ramps in the allowed launch area and a prevailing atmosphere of co-operation sees everyone pitch in to help fellow competitors. It’s impossible to leave this tournament without a few new friends. The whole event revolves around making people feel welcome and, while there are very few anglers who can realistically aspire to the mantle of ‘champion angler’, the sheer number of species and ‘lucky draw’ prizes, the latter including the likes of high-end Lowrance electronics and Costa sunnies, gives anyone a good chance of taking home some loot.
Jack Edgar, fishing solo from a 4m tinnie, claimed the title of 2013 Champion Junior Angler in convincing fashion – he managed a record 25 points by landing first, second, and third in bream, first and third in flathead, second and third in snapper, and second in tailor. Runner-up Champion Junior, amassing nine points from his second in flounder, second and third in kingfish, third in morwong, and third in tuna, was Sam Millauro, who fished with his father on their CruiseCraft. The junior winners won prizes from 3M, Alvey, Atomic, Club Marine, Gamakatsu, and Shimano. Last year’s Champion Junior Angler, Emily Thomas, was also on the board for her first and third in flounder.
Also fishing solo in a tinnie, Paul Lennon put in a huge effort to amass a healthy 17 points to be crowned 2013 Champion Senior Angler, claiming first and second in flathead, first and second in luderick, and third in tailor. His 13 points was enough to ensure Shane Peters took home the 2013 Runner-Up Champion Angler title with a second in bream, a first in drummer, and a first in snapper. Senior Anglers won prizes from 3M, Allistain, Atomic, Costa Sunglasses, Club Marine, Gamakatsu and Shimano.
Paul and Shane also amassed enough points to ensure their boats won the 2013 Champion and Runner-Up Boats titles respectively, scoring themselves more top-quality prizes from Allistain, Club Marine, Lowrance, and Shimano.
True to their promise not to take home any prizes, throughout the prize-giving ceremony the organisers held lucky draws for all unwon species, along with a number of general lucky draws. The above-mentioned sponsors contributed to the lucky draws along with BIA of NSW, Blue Bottle Fishing, BlueWater Power Yachts, BOAB Boat Hire, NewcastleFishing.com.au, Port Stephens Fishing Charters, Tailored Marine, Winning Holidays and Zacatak Lures.
At the end of the day, a number of Lowrance HDS-7 and HDS-9 sounder/plotters were drawn in the lead-up to the major lucky-draw prize, a Savage 385 Big Boy tinnie with 25hp Evinrude E-TEC engine, and trailer. The tinnie also came with a Lowrance sounder, Shimano fishing tackle, and Club Marine insurance, and it was beautifully prepared and presented by Wayne Palise from Bay Boat Sales. First-time competitor Fred McDonald, from Singleton (NSW), was the lucky angler heading home with far more than he bargained for.
Special thanks must go to President Steve and his team of volunteers from Shoal Bay Fishing Club, who ran the tournament and did an exemplary job. Competitors also enjoyed the support of the Rock Lobster Restaurant, Bay FM 99.3, Marine Rescue, and the Port Stephens Citizens Youth Club (PCYC).
All up it was three days of fun and fishing enjoyment in a spectacular location. For information on the 2014 Club Marine Trailer Boat Fishing Tournament, scheduled for April 4-6, go to: tbft.com.au.