The first night saw the briefing held upstairs at the new Hemmingway’s establishment on the marina where all the crew and anglers gathered for the initial formalities of the event. In company was our special guest and well known actor/comedian, Steve Curry who was in town preparing for his new movie which will be based around a heist/gangster script which will involve the Port Douglas Marlin Challenge as a back drop to the story line. It was a jovial night with old acquaintances catching up over a few beverages and the Calcutta of the boats saw a $6000 prize pool to be decided at the end of the tournament.
Day 1 of the tournament was a glamour in anyone’s terms with less than 5 knots on offer. The sailpast and line up of the boats at the harbour leads was spectacular and some fantastic footage was acquired by the GBR helicopter with Perrin Clarke and Steve Curry behind the camera lenses. Fishing began at 11am and boats found themselves from the bottom of Linden Bank all the way up to Ribbon Reef No 4. With good tides on offer for the week the C-Girl vessel called in a hook up 26 minutes after the start. Unfortunately the lost this fish but it was a good sign. Half an hour later the Duyfken boat responded with a successful tag to a 350lb marlin which gave them the early lead. At 12.56pm local skipper Damon Gruzdev aboard Kyrenia proudly announced a legal tag with his all girl angling team producing a 350lb black marlin. The Hellraiser vessel at 1.30pm called in a worst case scenario when a 900lb marlin ate 2 baits in the one go, meaning one of the crew had to jump in and assist. Skipper Steve Ahlers immediately called in a disqualification as soon as he realised. They did however go on to tag the fish which was then released. An hour later local skipper Damon Collete in charge of Saltaire radioed in another successful tag to a 350lb marlin. The bite seemed to be rolling along nicely but for whatever reason that was the last of activity for the fleet even though a couple of boats experienced strikes but could not convert them into a catch. With fishing concluding at 5.30pm, on a countback system the Duyfken boat held a slender lead and the tournament was well and truly open. Linden Banks provided the bulk of the action on this day.
Day 2 dawned to another cracking day on offer and as fishing began at 11am it was the Duyfken boat to open the account with a tag to a 150lb marlin 9 minutes after the opening bounce. This would prove to be an important move in the scheme of things. Fishing further north the Zulu boat called through their first fish of the tournament at 11.52am with a 150lb model successfully tagged and released. A couple of hours passed before Hellraiser was on the airwaves again this time securing their first official fish with a 180lb marlin getting the job done. Half an hour later at 2.32pm the Reel Cross boat found themselves with the holy grail on the end of their tackle and 6 minutes later sealed the deal with a 1000lb marlin receiving a tag in its big hide. At 3.05 C-Girl re-entered the frame and this time got he job done with a recorded 400lb specimen. An hour later Reel Cross was on again but lost their fish after 5min of angling. Then we saw a bit of a late afternoon bite with Wild Turkey joining the board with a 550lb black at 4.41pm and Zulu finished of a ripper of a day tagging another 1000lb fish at 4.45pm which would see them leap into second position in the standings. The angler was 74yr old Rick Chadwick which was a sensational effort. C-Girl at 4.54pm connected to and stayed with a huge fish which they eventually lost an hour and a half later at 6.18pm after fishing had stopped. The boys estimated the fish at 1100lb which would have been a great result. As Day 2 came to a conclusion the bulk of the boats were now on the scoreboard with Duyfken holding a close lead to Zulu on the countback system. It was a postive day on the bite with some monster fish on the move. Opal Ridge and Ribbon No. 4 were the happy hunting grounds for the day.
With a good vibe amongst the competitors Day 3 began with high hopes. This optimism shone through at 1.21pm when Saltaire claimed its second fish of the event with a 350lb marlin putting them up with the main leaders. 50 minutes later unfortunately Hellraiser called through a lost fish which would have put a cat amongst the pigeons. Then as forecast a fresh northerly breeze kicked into gear mid afternoon and it put the fishing to sleep. Just when all seemed lost at 5.15pm the Duyfken boat called in a hook up which everyone paid attention to. By 5.30pm and close of fishing they were still battling away. The good news for them was radioed through at 5.47pm with an estimated 700lb fish successfully tagged. This would see them in an outright lead going into the final day and would be very hard to overtake. Opal Ridge provided the only real action for the day.
Day 4 the final day would see the fishing at 430pm. The forecast was similar and hopefully the fishing was going to fire back up. The marlin didn’t disappoint and at 11.11am Dragon Lady registered their first fish of the tournament much to their relief. It was a 250lb fish which now meant all boats in the comp were up and running. Ten minutes later Hellraiser put the pressure on with a successful tag to a 350lb marlin and joined several boats all on tags apiece. Wild Turkey joined that same group securing a 200lb marlin at 12.43pm. They then repeated this 25 minutes later plucking another 400lb model from the depths putting them into equal lead. This would have made the Duyfken boat extremely nervous and they had the chance to seal the deal when the hooked up at 3.00pm. Unfortunately they lost their fish leaving the gate open. In the same breath Dragon Lady also lost a fish around the same time. All the last day action was recorded on the Opal Ridge. This would be the last radio action of the day leaving the Duyfken boat in front on a count back system with 3 tags to Wild Turkey who nearly caused an upset on the same amount. Several boats remained on 2 tags and a few registered 1 tag.
The presentation dinner was held on the final night at Hemmingway’s with a really good turn out to see the following prizes awarded.
Day 1 - Duyfken
Day 2 - Zulu
Day 3 - Saltaire
Day 4 - Wild Turkey
Alex Dumas aboard Kyrenia
Gary Goddard aboard Hellraiser
Skipper & Boat Reg Moore skippering the Duyfken vessel
Gary Goodard aboard Hellraiser
Won by the crew of Duyfken
A very special mention goes to our small but very hard working committee in Jenni Sorensen, Skye Thomson, Phil Holloway, Rob Palethorpe, Damon Gruzdev and Heff. A bigger mention goes to our wonderful sponsors who donated an array of sensational prizes including: Bransfords Tackle, Nautical Marine, Perrin Clarke - Image Bank photography, Alvey Gunnell Rods, Revolver Lures, Black Pete Game Fishing, GBR Helicopters, Lotsa Printing