Records were broken before any boats hit the water for the Australian International Billfish Tournament last week. There were 67 boats entered: the largest on record. This also resulted in the largest number of competitors. The Exmouth Game Fishing Club are checking to see if they have also had more billfish tagged than any other AIBT event, with 114 tagged billfish. The billfishing was quiet for Exmouth standards, but only a handful of boats did not catch a fish over the three days. It was perfect weather conditions with the Exmouth gulf glassing off every day to make a great view for patrons at the Exmouth Game Fishing Club house.
It all began on the Tuesday morning with the Bertram Champagne Breakfast and sailpast flare start at the marina. All the boats lined up in front of the clubhouse and took off at once, while wives, sponsors and interested locals watched from ashore. Photographer Sascha Unger got some spectacular photographs from the Birds Eye View Ultralight and all the boats safely proceeded to start the days’ fishing.
The results were:
Champion Team Tag and Release Billfish: Aqua Runner-up Champion Team Tag and Release Billfish: Mahi Mahi II Champion Angler Tag and Release Billfish: Kurt Williamson Champion Team Tag and Release Billfish on Fly: Weapon Champion Junior Tag and Release Billfish: Michael Wunhym. Champion Team Tag and Release Marlin: Aqua Champion Team Tag and Release Sailfish: Catweasel The prizes were custom built rods from Matt Gates at
Bluewater Tackle World Exmouth with engraved Shimano Tiagra Reels for the main sections and engraved Tibor Reels for the fly-fishing section. The juniors were supported by Exmouth Tackle and Camping, while Aspen Parks picked up the fly section. Chevron representatives came to support the event, as did Simrad with a display of electronic units for anglers to see and ask questions. Kailis provided the seafood for the presentation dinner, while the event also attracted support from Exmouth Marina Village, Apache,
Sea Surface Temperature, Maui Jim, and Richter Lures. The whole community was invited to come down after the event to chat with the anglers on the Friday night at the clubhouse when the band Slim Jim and the Phatts played.
It was a great social night and the town is a buzz with fishing talk at the moment.
Pic is the flare start with the boats taking off for the start of the AIBT