Hosted by the Surfers Paradise Game & Sport Fishing Club, this unique ladies only game fishing tournament is the first of its kind held on the Gold Coast.
The Lady Fishers Classic was run as a separate one day event in conjunction with the All Species All Tackle Tournament held over the following two days. With torrential rain, flooding and high winds in the weeks leading up to the tournament, we were nervously watching the weather patterns and hoping for calm seas. It seemed as if someone had been watching over us, the wind dropped, the sun came out and we were blessed with a perfect day. The next two days during the ATAS tournament the weather turned nasty again and the same boats that had fished the Lady Fishers tournament the day before now had to do battle with rain, wind and very rough seas. The Southport Yacht Club was the venue for the tournament with marina facilities for all the competing boats. At 6am on Friday morning the marina was a hive of activity with last minute decorations as teams put the final touches to the boats in readiness for the Sailpast and judging of the best decorated boat. The larger game boats that were in pens away from the activity came down to join in the fun and games and check out the other boats.
The theme for the Lady Fishers tournament was ‘Pretty in Pink’ and everyone got right into the spirit of things, there wasn’t a boat, angler or skipper that wasn’t dressed to the nines in pink. I really don’t think the boys needed to take it all the way, but it sure was a great laugh and a lot of fun. The effort that was put into the costumes and decorations was fantastic and it was the highlight of the tournament with everyone getting together for the fun and social gathering on the morning of the Sailpast. By 7.00am the flotilla of game boats in a sea of pink balloons, ribbons and pink costumes headed out to sea for the start of fishing at 7.30am. Some of the girls fished all day in their costumes which would have been very interesting.
One of the happiest skippers in the tournament was Nathan Hamilton on ‘Eagle II’. Nathan offered his 50ft game boat to a ladies team who had never fished before. Trevor Simons of ‘Ramjet’ fame and Scott Jansen offered to crew for the ladies. Ten minutes after start fishing, they were about 10 klms offshore and called up that they were hooked up on a marlin. Moments later they had tagged a black marlin on 8kg to first time angler Tracey Sergis. It was caught on a Shimano TLD 25/Backbone spooled with 8kg Stren Mono and the lure was a pink KLF. This capture won Tracey champion angler in the tag and release light tackle category, she received a Shimano 16w reel and Precision rod, Platypus line and a Wellsys lure roll. It was also the highest point scoring fish taking out champion angler overall and winning an embroided Aussie Wrapps Rod Tube and AFN subscription. Nathan won champion boat and received a Shimano TLD 50 rod and reel combo and Platypus line. He also won the Calcutta.
Another happy skipper was Andrew Morley on his trailer boat ‘Express’ with Keith Twist as crew. Andrew had also taken out new anglers. They had disappointment in the morning when they dropped a marlin but luck was on their side in the late afternoon when a blue marlin came into the spread and took the Hollow Point Kona Killa Lure in the Tasman colour. Christine Keen was on strike on 37kg stand up tackle using a Shimano Tiagra 80w on a Wilson Texallium rod. The marlin did some great jumps before settling down for the fight. Stop fishing was 4.00pm and Andrew needed to request for over time to land the fish. They tagged the fish and then went flat out to get back in time to hand in the tag card before the cut off. Christine won champion lady angler in the heavy tackle category and received a Shimano Tiagra 50w reel and Platypus line.
The classic of the tournament was Ian Waldron on ‘Reelaxation’. He was that keen to fish in the lady Fishers tournament, he had paid his entry and also bought his boat in the Calcutta, but didn’t have a lady angler. By the next morning he had found an angler and was rewarded for his efforts by winning champion boat – other species with angler Sara Lennon tagging a Cobia on 8 kg. Sara won champion female angler – other species tag and release category and received an Aussie Wrapps Rod Tube. For champion boat other species, Ian received a Mad Keen 4×4 Wheel Cover, Shimano Backpack, Plano Tackle Box and Platypus line.
‘Adios’ from GCGFC skippered by Darren Malaquin found some nice Yellowfin Tuna for his team. Susan Thrupp won champion angler – other species with the capture of a 47.5kg Yellowfin Tuna on 37kg. Susan received an Aftco Gimbal, Meridien Lures, AFN Subscription, Plano Tackle Wrap and Quick Rig Pliers. Angler Tracey Fletcher also weighed a 45.8kg Yellowfin Tuna on 37kg.
Team ‘Ripples’ with skipper Lance Ripley and crew Mike Clare and new club members Tanya Salis and Kim Romano also had disappointment dropping a marlin early in the day. Lance is also a relatively new club member and kindly offered his boat to the girls so they could fish in the tournament. They had such a great day together that they plan to fish together again in the next Lady Fishers tournament.
Team ‘Fishinmishin’ with Jamil, Nicole and Michelle managed a Tuna but was out of fishing time. The team enjoyed the whole event and said they will be back again next year.
Team ‘Sea Eagle’ with Sam, Andrew, Barbara, Carla and Peta entertained the troops at the marina with their antics. The fun character of the tournament was Sam Lythgo alias the ‘Banana Man’. He is now cursed forever. The girls had put a huge effort into the boat decorations complete with music and song. Sea Eagle took out the best decorated boat category winning an Engel esky donated by Go Fishing & Camping.
There were entries from 50ft game boats to 6mtr trailer boats, all able to fish equally in the good sea conditions. The 50ft game boat ‘Eagle II’ won the light tackle category and the 6mtr trailer boat ‘Express’ won the heavy tackle category. Many teams enjoyed the tournament and were enthusiastic participants, taking part in all the fun and games which added to the success of the tournament.
Team ‘Ghost Rider’ with mother and daughter anglers Jane and Kelly Wills put a great effort into making a huge “Lady Fishers Game Fishing Classic” banner which they hung on their boat for the Sailpast.
Team ‘Big Business’ had a four girl team with Kristen, Jess, Lyndie and Jill and were lucky enough to get a team photo with Channel 9 personality Paul Burt.
Team ‘Cabalero’ with skipper Kingsley ‘Cappy’ Young had the Doug Burt Tackle World ladies team, Cheryl, Carmen and Helen, all looking the part.
Team ‘Always One Bigger’ with skipper Andrew Dunbar and daughter Lauryn Dunbar, the only junior angler to fish the tournament, also did a great job as the sked boat.
The presentation night in the Compas room of the Southport Yacht Club was in the pink theme and began with pink champagne for the ladies followed by the dinner and presentation. A big thank you to all the skippers and crew who made it possible for lady anglers to compete in the tournament. We now have some very keen anglers and hope this will be the start of one of the biggest events on the fishing calendar. With what could be described as a fantastic tournament, we were blessed with great weather, calm seas and exceptional captures to new lady anglers and a great time had by all. Without the fantastic support of our sponsors we could not have had such a successful and enjoyable event.