Meritorious Captures

Meritorious Capture Awards

To commemorate a lifetime contribution of service to ANSA by the late Geoff “Hawko” Hawkins (Life Member ANSA National and ANSA NSW Branch) the Board of ANSA and State Branch Delegates attending the 2016 AGM and Branch Delegates meeting, unanimously agreed to dedicate  these prestigious awards to the memory of Geoff. The awards hereinafter will be referred to as the

Geoff Hawkins Memorial Meritorious Capture Awards”.

Meritorious Captures

ANSA conducts an annual Geoff Hawkins Memorial Meritorious Capture award competition. This prestigious competition runs from 1 July to 30 June every year and has 2 categories – freshwater and saltwater.

ANSA members are encouraged to nominate for these prestigious awards . The fish does not need to be a record capture but as the name implies there must be an meritorious aspect about how the capture was made. The awards are decided by the ANSA Board in conjunction with Branch Delegates attending the ANSA Annual General Meeting and Delegates conference. Meritorious Capture Award nomination forms are available on the ANSA website.

Recent Award winners are (2018/19) Matthew Gorne (SA) with a 1.24 metre Kingfish  caught from a Kayak on Port Adelaide.

Gorne Fishing

On the 5th of November 2018, I decided to go down to Seacliff and get myself some squid. It was a good session and I bagged out. Having got so many, I thought it would be good to go over to Dock 1 in the Port River at Port Adelaide and try my luck on a Kingie as I had seen a few people trying there the day before.  I kept 2 alive in an aerated bucket, but when I got there 1 had already died, so with my oGorne Fishingne and only live squid, I launched my Yak and started trolling.

I was paddling for about 3 hours, and I thought, “one more troll around the dock.” I was just about ready to give it away when my Saltiga started screaming out. I couldn’t believe it, but I knew it was a big King. I quickly locked up my drag and the fish started towing me all around the dock. He knew where he was going and I could see he was taking me straight towards the very old permanently moored Clipper ship. I tried to keep my rod as low into the water as I could to try and minimise the leader rubbing against the rusty, barnacle encrusted hull as I knew he was trying to cut me off and get to the safety of the other side. It was an absolute struggle to get the fish out of the structure as the weight of the fish was continually forcing me against the ship, and I had to keep pushing the Yak away with my paddle.

After a several minutes of some heart pounding moments and numerous expletives, I managed to pull him out from under the ship, and he started to get tired. I realised that the fish wasn’t going to fit into the net after a couple of attempts, so I reached in and grabbed it with my hand and pulled him up onto my kayak. All this time I was trying to film and narrate the unfolding episode on my GoPro camera.

I was absolutely stocked and couldn’t believe I had just landed a Kingie of that size and had totally smashed my PB with a 1240 mm monster. I had always dreamed of landing a fish over that 1 metre mark on a Yak, and wondered if I’d ever get the chance. I had finally accomplished it. That is one fishing adventure I will never forget, and if I don’t take those chances, I will never know what the next fishing adventure will bring.

Matthew Gorne,

2018 Awards

The Geoff Hawkins 2017/18 award for Meritorious Capture was jointly shared by Chelsea Rutstein from South Sydney Amateur Fishing Association (NSW) with the amazing story of her capture and release of a huge Black Marlin and also Levi Nash from Young Husband Fishing Club (SA) with his beach capture of a 31.4 kg Mulloway.

Congratulations to all the nominees for the Geoff Hawkins Meritorious Capture award. All told there 6 nominations for this prestigious award and it was a very tough choice for the ANSA State delegates attending the 2018 AGM to make final decision on the award.

You can read Chelsea and Levi’s remarkable capture stories here.

2017/2018 Awards

There two recipients of the award this year won by Chelsea Rutstein from South Sydney Fishing Association, and Levi Nash from Young Husband Fishing Club in S.A.

Ladies first

Chelsea Rutstein,

Most Meritorious capture award nomination For Chelsea Rutstein born 01/10/01

For those of you that don’t  know Chelsea she is someone who lives for fishing. She has been sponsored by Shimano for 3 years and was their first junior sponsored angler ever. In October She came out of the junior division even though in camps she preferred to fish in senior ladies against the big fish…

Well it was one year ago Jan 29th 2017 when Chels managed to get onto two black Marlin on our boat “Reality”. As her dad I said that this year to the day I would get her another one Jan 29th 2018. So off went in search of the elusive Marlin.
The forecast was OK but who can tell and when we hit the water the sea was far worse than was expected as it was the day before. Running out we had a wave come through the open clears and drown poor dad. Towels on the sounders and GPS and we were hoping for the best.
We put the spread out at the 50 Fathom line and headed East to find better  water. We pushed on to the shelf and found birds and a bit of bait in 120 Fathoms but nothing.  We pushed back in and ran the 95 Fathom line where we found traps and were hoping for something. Unfortunately we didn’t see a trap float with the sloppy conditions  which ended up wrapping around the motor, so we stopped the motor, cleared the spread and undid the rope from the engine leg we were very, very lucky. I told Chels to continue on heading with the 1.5 meter swell and 15 knots NE wind whilst I re-set the spread

I set the shotty and started setting the long rigger, as I was putting the band on the line I was checking making sure the shotgun lure was running true when I saw something had hit the lure but didn’t  break the band,I thought it was a small dollie,when all of a sudden the shot gun was smashed again and all hell broke loose with a Monster Black Marlin  taking off into the distance. Luckily I only had one more rod to clear and no teaser. I took over the driving of the boat whilst Chels took the rod and started fighting the fish,this was at 11am. After about 10 minutes I got the harness out as this was going to be a tough fight as it was a really big fish, and attached the Black Magic Equalizer to Chels.

Well what transpired for the next 5 hours and 10 minutes yes you read it correctly 5 hours and 10 min can only be described as unbelievable! Chels at only 4 foot 10 and weighing only 42 kg was hooked up to a black Marlin of Est 150kg plus on 15kg Stand up Gear. Chels has been fortunate to have fought a number of Marlin  both on trailer  boats and Game boats, and as a sponsored angler knew she had her work cut out for her. We tried everything to plane the fish to the surface running north south east and west, with current and wind, against current and wind, across current swell and wind, and lost count of the number of times we had it up, but when we went to charge at it and got close it purely went down deep to get its energy back.
This cat and mouse game continued, with boats radioing in circling us and enquiring whether  we had the fish yet too which I replied STILL FIGHTING Chelsea had an unbelievable attitude and was counting the hours 1 through 5 with her never says die attitude leaving me speechless. As a dad one cannot love your kids more when you love them with all your heart, but I have a new found respect for Chelsea with her mental strength she showed,talking to the fish and me and pleading for it not to run anymore whilst saying not to worry we will get his fish.
She was at breaking point with her bottom lip quivering, legs and arms shaking and just hoping that the fight would end ASAP.  As her dad I had nothing to say but “I am doing my best” to which she replied, “You are doing great but GO HARD LEFT!!!!”Trying not to run over the line as the Marlin  changed direction. The fish even after 3.5 to 4 hours came to the surface jumping and this was a big Fish. I at one time was contemplating calling in another captain off another boat who could maybe have done better than I was doing with not winning with this bloody stubborn  fish. The go pro at the beginning approx.15IMG_9127min into the fight was turned off as Chels wanted to get underwater footage of the fish when it was at the boat. Little did she know how long it was going to continue and we never turned  it back on as we had no time. Early in the piece a decision was made to tag and release the fish. We spoke about what records this would break,12 month comp, state and national records who knows but it didn’t matter  as Chels made the decision to watch it swim free. After 5 hours and 10 minutes we had the fish boat side and I traced the 300 leader,thinking we have it eventually. With Chels having backed the drag off the fish did not like the feel of the hooks being pulled deeper into its mouth and decided to take off again with me being unable to hold on, and the line went under the boat and the fish was free.
Chels was elated because we had the capture under IGFA rules and it was over!!!!

We had a tag pole on board but not the extendable one so I had to trace it to get it high enough in the water to tag the fish… I was elated and still somewhat in disbelief that my daughter had the mental strength and stamina to continue the fight for so long, I did offer to take the rod after about 3 hours,not that I wanted too but more out of concern as a dad watching how much pain Chelsea was in to which she yelled, “DON’T TOChelsea 2UCH THE ROD!!!!”
She has achieved what I don’t believe many men could have achieved including me, and I am the first to say so. The swell and sea 1.5 meters swell with wind chop with 20 knots wind at the time,check  out the recording of wind conditions on the day but it did not bother her she just was so focused. Whilst on numerous occasions, we had waves coming over the stern, over the outboard engine and bait table but it didn’t phase her she just kept on fighting,
She screamed at me twice in a semi controlled manner to PLEASE tell her when I was going to power on in forward or reverse as she was trying to stay on her feet and did almost as she put it go over twice.
I have since ordered an elasticized harness that she can be tethered to just in case as what we experienced will never be forgotten
This is something that we will share for the rest of our lives together
I don’t think I will go chasing beakies without a third experienced person on board as it just was too difficult and dangerous.
On getting back home, cleaning the Boat and then getting ready for a shower,Chels showed me how her lips face and arms were badly sunburnt. Simple things like applying sunscreen in these times never were considered. She had blistered on her arms already and was in need of some rest. The next day she had blisters on both hands from holding the rod and winding the reel.Chelsea 1
She as a sponsored angler was unable to find gloves small enough for hands medium size that are made are way too big and so it was bare handed all the way. I even used gloves whilst driving the boat [Soft].
This is not a fishing tale to try and win another award, of which Chelsea has won many,including holding a world record, but to recognise her as someone with a never say die attitude and against all odds she succeeded in what she set out to do Land the fish of a lifetime that she had hooked.
I would every day of the week nominate her again and again for this award and not because she is my daughter but because of what she went through to capture this big, stubborn  Marlin

Love you heaps Chels

Dad the skipper of the boat, deckie who couldn’t hold onto the trace and alllo

Levi Nash,

lone fisherman

It was a busy week before the big trip to the Far West Coast of South Australia, making sure everything was organised; batteries, fridges, bait, tackle and camping attire.  Not the sort of place where you want take things half hearted.  This trip I took my dad “Roo” his names Ted and a mate “Bear” who both hadn’t been to Yalata before.

The anticipation was crazy, hearing of some mixed reports with many voyagers recently being hampered by bad weather.  We rolled into Nundroo after our eleven hour long leg from Adelaide.  We grabbed a feed and tried to get some sleep, not easy when the caravan park is right alongside the Nullarbor Highway which became very busy with trucks through the night.

We made our camp spot the next day in the Yalata Indigenous Protected Area a little later than expected with a long winded way in, not finding the right track first to then proceed on a unforgettable stony rough track.  It was right on the high tide when we popped our heads over the dunes to see the pristine clear blue gutters right in front of our camp.  The spirits were lifted from this and we quickly set up camp just in time for a heavy passing squall.  We had a quick fish that evening and hit the hay after a feed saying to each other that it appeared to windy to bother getting up for the two am tide.

Well; yours truly woke around two am to find the noise of the surging swell had quietened; meaning the top of the tide was reached.  Feeling really tired after not much sleep the previous nights I took a leak and jumped straight back into my cosy swag.  I then lay for a little; coming to my senses I thought to myself “I’m here to catch fish”.  So I jumped up and walked down to the beach in my birthday suit to check the wind.  It appeared surprisingly quite good, so I quickly got back to camp and grabbed a rod, told Roo and Bear “I’m off for a fish…….its time……”   they replied  “yeah, yeah,  snore, snore” and went straight back to sleep.

So alone I went to battle, It wasn’t long before I had a small bite, I was thinking geez this is promising.  Sitting in the pitch black new moon night I wait.  I anticipate with hope a massive line peeling strike, or one of my fellow campers sneaking up from behind tapping me on the shoulder for a fright and a laugh.    I didn’t get neither;  but I did get another small bite.  Thinking it was just a small soapy (juvenile mulloway) I grabbed my rod to try and hook it.

Then all hell broke loose with screaming runs and big angry head shakes, I could feel the weight of something heavy.  Using one of Dads Snyder glass rods coupled with my Shimano eggbeater spooled with braid (all of which id never tried with Mulloway before)  I started to think it felt like maybe a big Bronze Whaler………or a big Mulloway……..I wasn’t sure.  Heart pounding I played the fish for I suppose five minutes thinking with the really sharp thumps it must be a shark’s tail hitting the line.  The braided line feel was so direct, not like mono which I was used too.   You just never know for sure having heard thDSCN5836at the really big Mulloway quite often will not give many head shakes, which I was getting plenty.  I felt the fish wash up with a wave, knowing my fishing buddies were sound asleep I didn’t bother yelling out.   I thought to myself, I just got to play this thing and wait for my moment to beach it proper.

It then got itself back in the gutter and peeled off again….. Fighting and guessing for another five to ten minutes with more head shakes and runs.  I then felt a good wave put the fish again on the beach.  My eyes nearly popped out of there sockets as my headlamp lit up this silver monster lying on the sand.  With my heart in my mouth I made the call to run and grab it, nervous of the slack line I was about to give it.  Not really wanting to kill this big girl I thought I had no real choice.  I put my free hand in the gills and lifted this giant straining to take the weight.  With a huge smile on my face I thought “you bloody beauty!” that’s what I’m here for, a PB Mulloway to beat my previous of 48lb.

With Nashya wave of excitement I put my rod in the holder, caught my breath and proceeded to carry her very awkwardly up the small dune towards camp, with intension of sliding her between Dad and Bears swags.  Quite the fairy tale I thought, waking them up saying “check this out boys”!.

            Well I didn’t get far and I gassed out and left her half way up the dune to wake up the troops for some help.  I staggered into camp sucking in big ones, I was spent, gasping “I can’t carry it, I’m stuffed, I’m stuffed, It’s the biggest thing I have ever seen”!      They both didn’t believe me much laughing at my state.  Until my Dad decided I’m not putting on a show for nothing.  He walked around and grabbed her, dragged her back to camp some twenty odd meters saying “well done son, It’s a good one, 60 or 70 pounds”   Dad had caught a few in his time, nine actually at 54lb and no bigger, so he was pumped as we all were to be there the morning I caught a ripper.  Bear shook his head in disbelief saying “It’s a bloody steer, what are we going to do with it”   with freezers full to the brim.  We hung her in the sling and scales showed us 69lb “Woowee I’m gonna have a beer”  I blurted out, still gasping for air.

Well we managed to fit the fillets in and caught and tag/released three other 40lber’s and another of 71lb to round out the trip of a life time.

Levi Nash
Young Husband Fishing Club

2016/2017 Award

The Geoff Hawkins award for meritorious captures for 2016/17 was won by Vicki Searle from Nickol Bay Sportfishing Club, Karratha.

There were some outstanding entries in 2016/17 Geoff Hawkins Meritorious Capture Award. Notable entries included a 292.5kg Tiger Shark on 15kg by Belinda Rayment (St George SFC) and a 1.2 kg Diamond Scale Mullet on 1kg by Max Grasso (Sub junior Nickol Bay SFC). The winning entry for 2016/17 though went to Vicki Searle from Nickol Bay Sportfishing Club, Karratha, WA for her outstanding capture of an 18.4 kg (1330mm) Narrow Barred Mackerel on 2kg. This is Vicki’s story of a remarkable mother and daughter team achievement.

The weather forecast for the week was looking good and myself and my daughter were fortunate to have that week off work so we planned to get in about 3 days fishing. It was also the end of June and being a member of our local Nickol Bay Sport Fishing Club thought it would be an opportunity to try and get in some point scoring fishing.

It was day 1 of our 3 day planned fishing sessions but it wasn’t until 3.00 in the afternoon that we got to our local Dampier boat ramp, half an hour later we were at our fishing spot. Our first fish we decided to target was a long tom on 1kg.  Within half an hour we had bagged a 1.4kg long tom on 1kg. Not exactly the big one we had experienced in this spot but decided it would get some points.

Now 4.00 o’clock, I decided that we had time for a quick troll before heading home. Our depth was around 8-10 metres and was looking to target either a barracuda or narrow barred mackerel thinking that both species in this area would be around the 7-9kg mark.

Without too much preparation I grabbed a Halco RMG lure straight from the packet and tied it to a short sport fishing leader which was 80lb mono. All this was on my 2kg spin outfit. Started to troll this outfit but wanted to have a look at the sounder/plotter to make sure we were heading in the right direction so put the rod in the rod holder. Shanae was initially driving the boat but went forward of the boat to get a water from the esky and I went to the echo sounder to check we were on track. Within 2 minutes the rod was bent and Shanae and I said at the same time ‘we’re on’.

Shanae came back to the wheel and I grabbed the rod. Half an hour later and with some excellent driving skills we still had not seen the fish but I had felt the weight and said ‘it has good weight’. Another half an hour later and seen a glimpse of silver sitting about 3-4 metres down. It was also starting to feel very very heavy and informed Shanae we will have to angle it up. I thought I seen a speck of yellow and starting thinking barracuda. Within a few minutes later the rather large narrow barred mackerel was at the boat. We were very unprepared for the size of it and also for handling it as we only had the landing net out, previously for the long tom and also thinking barracuda. Haha I made Shanae net the head of the mackerel but then we couldn’t get it in the boat as the rest of the fish was hanging outside of the net. I then looked at Shanae and said ‘don’t panic but I think we need the gaff’. Shanae grabbed the gaff and put it under the mackerel and look at me and asked ‘is there where I gaff it’ I replied ‘yup good spot’ and Shanae came up gently with the gaff and then brought the fish over the side of the boat onto the deck.

We both look at each other and yippeed with delight and hugged and high fived and yippeed some more and hugged and high fived again. The time was 5.00 o’clock and we had just had an amazing 2 hours of fishing time. We then headed straight back to the boat ramp and weighed it with our local weighmaster. 18.4kg narrow barred mackerel on 2kg line. Our Nickol Bay Sport Fishing Club President Luke Leech was also there for weigh in and informed me that it was a World Record.

It is currently being processed for a State, Australian Sport Fishing Record and IGFA World Record.
My daughter Shanae was my champion that day.

Vicki  Searle
Nickol Bay Sportfishing Club

2015/2016

Meritorious Capture Awards for 2015/16 were jointly awarded to Paul Wolfdale and Shane Evans  – both from SA Branch. Read their great capture stories here.

Mulloway Madness. By Shane Evans.
Mulloway Taggers S A.
One of my goals for the summer of 2015/2016 was to catch a Mulloway on light tackle land based and in November the fish started to show in the Coorong Estuary. In a couple of weeks I had caught and released a 75.5 and 83cm fish on 10lb braid on a 2-4kg rod, so I decided to load it up with some 1kg. pre-test. In the first 3 weeks I had lost 5-6 fish that I was confident would have broken the existing record due to silly mistakes. I kept persisting over the next couple of months with regular trips to the same area, only resulting in fish that I didn’t feel would qualify for any of the current records thus tagging and releasing rather than keeping with a faint hope of achieving a record. Over the next couple of weeks we went from an average of 10 mulloway in a few hours down to lucky to get 1. Then on the 13/3/2016 a couple of mates and myself decided to give it one last try for the season as the fish had slowed right down. We went to one of our preferred areas and for a couple of hours and we hardly had a bite.
One of my mates found a couple of dead Mullet on the bank and put one out to drift downstream, while I went and put on a 100mm shallow diving Minnow lure and started flicking it out as I made my way up to a small boat ramp when the fish to4-988kg-mulloway-on-1-pic-2ok my lure. By the way the fish hit I didn’t think it was of much size as my line was also loaded up with a lot of weed. I felt a couple of head shakes, with just a steady pull as the fish headed upstream until I noticed that there was only about 30 meters of walkable area left in that direction before I had a jetty and a deep channel to deal with.
Just as I thought it was going to end badly, the fish turned and started heading towards the river mouth. I called out to one of my mates back at the car and he retrieved his drifting mullet bait as I tackled one of the channel marker buoys. I had lost a fair bit of line by now clearly showing me the fish had control of the situation. I continued downstream in waist deep water, trying to get into the shallows and get along side if it. I avoided another marker buoy, and still was not convinced of the size of it, expecting there to be more weed than fish. As I got into water I could walk in easier, the fish came to the surface with a large tail slap that drew my attention rather quickly. It now became a tug of war in short bursts with me winning some and the fish doing the same, but at least I was in a straight line with it to make the fight a bit easier.
I was now confident that the fish was of a size that could achieve my second goal I’d set myself, and I was prepared to play this out for as long as it took. This went on for a few minutes where I would get the fish to the edge of the channel and my mate was ready to lip grip it for me but I wasn’t sure the fish was spent enough and I didn’t want to risk startling the fish resulting in a possible snapped line.
While all this was going on the Seal had taken notice of the action and was thinking about my fish. As the Seal approached my fish from behind, quickly thinking my mate threw it one of the dead mullet which it seemed to gladly accept and turned away from us allowing the battle to continue for another few minutes before finally I was able to lead it into very shallow water as it turned onto its side and was ready to be lip gripped.
That made what was a very quiet days fishing, into one of my best so far with the fish measuring 81cm and weighing in at 4.988kg.

The second award for 2015/16 went to
Paul Wolfendale
Northern Districts Sportfishing Club S.A

A Hard days work has it’s rewards

In mid October 2015, I had the opportunity of going out of Cape Jaffa chasing some barrel Southern Blue fin Tuna with 3 other club members. John has a charter boat in the south east, and with Marcel and Simon we hopped on board to try and get one each. We drew straws to make it fair who took the first scream of the reel. I drew the shortest, so I sat back and waited my turn. Unfortunately, we only had 2 hook-ups, with Simon and Marcel weighing them in at around 78kg and 86kg. As we left at the end of the day, I mentioned to John that if he had an available space next week, I would be free as I was on annual leave.
I got the call on Tuesday morning, so I arranged with another club member, James, as he was also champing at the bit to land a barrel as well to come along. He kindly offered for me to take the first run as I had missed out the previous week.
pauls-tuna-5We hit the water at dawn on the 28th. and trolled all morning without turning a reel. At 1.30 John told us we had to start heading in as he had to be back home at Kaniva in Victoria to cater for a function at the pub that he runs that night. Slightly saddened, we headed back in. As we approached the 50 meter line we could see a few boats congregated slightly to the port of our course. We thought we would go over and have a look, and as we approached we could see a whale breaching with its calf. Then as we got closer we could see seals, dolphins, and tuna smashing a massive school of baitfish with the whales also getting in on the act. One boat circled around, hooked up and then dropped the fish. John said that we could do 2 laps around the action to see if there was anything decent in there, as he had planned to be back at the ramp around 2 pm.
On the second lap the 37 kg. outfit screamed off. As the run slowed and I picked up the rod, John cursed, laughed, and told me I would have to explain to his wife why he would be late home. For half an hour I fought the fish til we saw it the first time and we knew it was a big barrel. I had it close to the boat a few times in the next 30 minutes with powerful runs seeing it disappear in the distance until it got its mojo and started doing circle work. When these fish are 3 times your line class and they start doing circles, they are beasts to get up. John told me he was going to drive away from the fish and try and break the hold that it had on me. It seemed to work, and we did this several times until we could get it close to the boat.
Pushed for time, John wanted a gaff shot and get a tail rope on it. When the gaff went in that green fish all hell broke loose. A 2 metre gaff was bent in 3 places like a dogs hind leg, and in the process, Alex the dekkie got hit in the head and James thumb was crushed on the gunnels with what was left of the gaff handle. When the fish came around the second time we sunk in a smaller gaff, the bent one, and a wool bale hook on a short rope. It was a mad panic to get the rope on the tail, and when we did, we tied it off to a cleat and relaxed for a few minutes to calm down and work out how to get the fish onto a 6.5 meter boat as the transom door was not big enough to get it through. When the fish had bled out it took all 4 of us to heave it over the side of the boat. It was then that the adrenalin rush started to subside and I collapsed on the floor of the boat as my legs were shaking so much I couldn’t stand up.
We raced back in and John said he had to leave to get back to the pub in time, so we dragged the fish out and he had to head off. With a 2 metre plus fish on the ground we decided to cut it up in to 3 pieces and shove it into the big eskies in the back of the wagon. We couldn’t shut the lids, so we covered it in as much ice as we could, bought some towels in town, wet them down and covered it up for the 3 hour trip back home to Adelaide. Unfortunately I got a speeding ticket on the way home but it was worth it. We went straight to the club recorders house, weighed the pieces on the clubs certified scales and proceeded to fillet it.
We couldn’t believe it went nearly 130kgs. The head section alone was over 53kgs. Numerous friends and family had more than their fair share of tuna steaks for the next 3 months.
John landed 20 barrels in his boat that season and mine was the heaviest. Woohoo. I hope never to land one of these great creatures again, but wouldn’t mind getting a tag in one.
Paul Wolfendale.

Meritorious Capture 2014/15
Aaron Anderson (Jnr)
Wollongong Sportfishing Club
The Day of the Dollie

With plenty of reports of good Dolphinfish being caught off the Illawarra coast and with the Christmas school holidays quickly drawing to an end, Aaron and I launched Megalodon out of Bellambi. After quickly filling up on livies at the Austinmer bait grounds we pointed Megalodon east.
We had launched from Bellambi as we had heard there were lots of FADS in the area. After 10 miles we found our first FAD in 60F. There were plenty of little Dollies present but nothing legal so we continued east again.
In 70F we found another FAD and this one held the mother lode of Dollies. It was a magic day. Light winds and smooth seas and we had a heap of big Dollies swimming at the back of the boat all to ourselves.
Aaron flicked a livie out on 3kg which was a pretty brave move considering a lot of the fish looked to be around the 1 metre mark. His bait was quickly engulfed. We did not see the culprit but judging by the explosion of white water it was a good fish.
After some blistering surface runs it quickly sounded and a stalemate ensued. The fish continued to hang doggedly beneath the boat refusing all our attempts to alter its fighting pattern.
Persistence and good angling eventually paid off and 1 hour and 1 mile later I eventually gaffed a lovely female Dolphinfish that pulled the scales down to exactly 8kg. This fish had taken considerably longer than the 7.4kg fish Aaron had taken a couple of years earlier on 3kg spin gear. He was pretty stoked by his latest capture.
We headed back to the FAD. I quickly accounted for a similar sized fish to the one Aaron had caught earlier, taking all of 1 minute to knock it over on 8kg. “That’s how you do it” I said. Aaron agreed and pulled out the 6kg spin rod to smash his next fish. He wasn’t going to spend another hour on the next one. Famous last words. He pinned on the biggest Slimie in the tank and heaved it out. It didn’t take long for an enquiry and a solid run. Aaron struck and had weight but I could see his bait being skipped across the surface. “Stop winding. He’s dropped it” I said. He immediately opened the bail arm and waited. The hapless livie disappeared in a smashing surface explosion. Line flew off the Abu spin reel at a great rate before Aaron flicked over the bail arm and set the hook. This fish took to the air a good distance from the boat and was a lot bigger fish than his first.aarons-dollie
I have never seen a Dolly pull line like this one did. Its surface runs were sizzling and unlike Aaron’s first fish it stayed high in the water column. The stamina of this fish was amazing. It effortlessly would strip off line in 100m bursts, time and time again. The more stick Aaron gave it, the harder it responded. It was great to watch as with the conditions, the fish was generally clearly visible.
Time ticked by and eventually the fish began to tire. Again after exactly 1 hour I pinned an 11.7kg Dolphinfish. It wasn’t until I slid it over the side that we even realised it was a bull. What a great fish. “How do you feel” I said to him. His reply was classic. “Dad I feel like a spew”. Two hours’ worth of steady concentration and excellent angling on a warm day had taken its toll on Aaron. He didn’t spew and gradually regained his composure for some photos on what is his largest and one of his toughest adversaries in his fishing career to date.

Our planned troll for a Marlin would have to wait for another day. It had been a day to remember with two excellent light tackle captures for Aaron and we headed home. Both captures were very good captures but I would like to nominate Aaron’s 11.7kg fish on 6kg as a contender for this year’s Most Meritorious capture award.
Travis Anderson

Meritorious Capture 2013/14
Eddie Wong’s Barra

I was fishing the sand bar along a creek on the Ross River, Townsville on24 May 2014 on a low tide. My boat’s bow was sitting on the sand bar with the bow anchor on the bar and the stern anchor holding into the adjacent deep water channel. the depth of water under the stern of the boat was about 400mm.
I had 2 rods out – one running with 2kg and the other with 1kg. Both were rigged with live herring.

As the tide was slowly running in, the activity of bait fish and larger species working around the boat was starting to look interesting. Some “boofing” sound of Barra working the shallows was a good sign of things to come.

Eddie Wong

Eddie Wong with Chairman Ron Poole

Suddenly my 2kg rod started to bend, I picked up the rod slowly and as i did the Barra leapt out of the water – it was a good fish!

I let the fish run and once again it came out of the water – all up it must have leapt out of the water about 5 times.

By this time the fish was starting to tire, but it still continued to weave upstream and back.

As there was very little water in the creek the fist stayed near the surface and the sand bar. After about 40 minutes the fish was on the surface close to the boat, with very little water under it.

I slowly played the fish to within netting range and then slowly slid the net under the fish.

The end result was a 14.8kg Barra on 2 kg – with an overall length of 1080mm. A great days fishing.
Eddie Wong
Townsville Saltwater Sportsman Club

Meritorious Capture 2012/13

No Meritorious Capture was submitted or awarded for the 2012/13 year.

Meritorious Capture 2011/12
Dave Ellis kingfish capture

DavidIt was later in the afternoon when I hooked a kingfish near the hot water outlet near the Pt. Augusta Power station.
The water depth is at best around 6 m in holes but mostly less than 4 m, probably nearer to 2 m.

The way that it fished is that the boat is at anchor with live baits being used. When a fish is hooked the anchor is slipped with a float attached to be retrieved at a later date.
In this case two kingfish rods with baits were deployed and a small outfit for bait fishing was also out.
As I was fighting the first hooked kingfish and about 4 mins into the fight with the boat cast adrift, a second king took the second bait.

Well I was surprised that suddenly there were two large fish to attend to that has never happened to me before.
The fight took many twists and turns when the fish ended up on opposite sides of the boat, with one rod held in my hand and the other between my legs.

The one between my legs got hooked with my bait rod and it went overboard. Luckily I managed to retrieve the bait rod and continued to fight both fish.
It was soon after this that the second hooked fish broke off and left me to deal with the first hooked kingfish.

I know this sounds confusing but it is how things happened.
I managed to land the fish after a stout fight took a few photos, return it to the water alive and watch it swim away.

I estimated the weight to be around 35 kgs and approx. 5 feet long.

Dave Ellis Junior

Meritorious Capture 2010/11
Peter Oberg’s kingfish

The meritorious Capture for the year 2010 to 2011 was won by Peter Oberg for his unreal capture of a kingfish over 30 kg from the rocks using just 15 kg pretest line. This is Peter’s story.

Peter-Oberg-2011Extreme Fishing — It’s About Time!
Finally that 30 plus kegger hits the rocks, and it was on 15!

27 years of this solid LBG stuff and that has to be the unluckiest fish in the ocean – but by Gawd’ we deserved it!

As a dedicated rock fishing old bunch we had previously lost that many of them doing things our right ways so something had to work at some stage I guess.

Myself and Damo hit the cliffs after a 3 am alarm with good friend Frank in tow all the way from down south Mexico city, and had some high hopes of finding Kingfish given some recent good feelings and reports.

Frank was more pumped than Dolly Parton’s boobs and feeling like the world was now within his grasp. We were to climb ropes down massive cliffs and the adrenaline was flowing. Things were not actually quite so pleasant. Prior to heading to water level we aborted plans due to the wind smashing us at the top of the cliff so we opted to leave all LBG gear elsewhere 80 metres above sea level and ended up heading down with spin rods and plans of whatever would eat lures in mind. Stripies were possible but bonnies plagued us into “big red” mode so it was a quick change of plans again, a minor relocation and we hit a spot we had not fished for about a year in the hope of a solid red or two.

We initially found a few smaller models but then mongrel red rockies, wirrahs and good old bakers started being a pain in the backside so again we altered a couple of things.

On that note Frank went about getting massively dusted by a local population of big hungry Groper while Damo and I persisted with chucking baits on light gear to an area that we knew often has big kings in it as well.

To cut a long story short (but is not possible), I had yet another snag and Damo had his rod sitting jammed in a crack. He couldn’t stand watching me casually sipping yet another warm beer while he fished… so as all good in-laws do he went about rigging my rod to get me back in the drink…you know, just in case… I just wanted more beer as it was 10.30am and well and truly morning tea time!

About 15 seconds later his rod started to play up a bit, and I mean just a bit, and he told me to grab it and haul in yet another silly one kilo reddie. So after another minor brother in-law tiff that ended in me giving up I picked up the rod and called it for a stupid wobby.

Not long after away it went and I quickly changed the call to a possible huge red of damn good proportions, but again after the second even more than massive run, I called it for a big king.

Keeping the not so long story short, and after over half an hour of struggling, cliff climbing, losing line, gaining line and all that crap we somehow managed against all odds, drag re-adjustments, a 3/0 Kmart hook, a piece of Sergeant Baker, no trace, a weird sort of foot long double with a knot that ordinarily most would curse, a 150 metre top shot of 15 kilo pretest on top of not much of gawd knows what, not to mention seeing a strange knot appear a number of times, battling who knows how many waves, 25 knot wind gusts and being reefed a few times, this thing ends up
being expertly gaffed and a corpse is hauled from the ocean…. and I’m taking it!… much also to the credit of Damo himself, along with Damo’s rod reel and tried and tested rig setup!

Not being that well prepared for this sort of encounter due to the plan changes, and not having registered scales with us that were big enough for ANSA, GFAA or club purposes, it ends up taking Damo, myself and Frank about 4 hours to get the whole thing and all our gear back out. Meanwhile we had also run out of beer, bourbon and whatever else we needed to survive.

So there we have it! Its the story that ends years of suffering count-less losses of 30 and 40ish fish on every LBG setup imaginable, aches, pains and a year of endless envy of a mate who scored a 30 plus late 2009, relationship breakups, financial burdens and end-less seemingly wasted time. Not all is as it would have seemed.

Finally my skinned knuckles and bruised, smashed and torn body can relax , just a bit….and have yet another well deserved beer. Phew…..Now its time to go snapper fishing again!

Meritorious Capture 2009/10
Scott Gusman’s Story

It was the 28th of August 2010, the 1st day of the Eildon ANSA Convention, and I was fishing this completion with my Dad for the 3rd year in a row. I didn’t have much luck in previous years. We got to the spot Dad decided to go at Eildon Pondage. Very, very early in the morning, it was just starting to get light when we got there and was very cold, but there was no wind and the water looked nice. Dad set two rods up with Mudeyes under floats, and I was casting a lure for a while.

Scotts-Trout-250It was very still and quiet for the first hour or so. Then Dad noticed the float go down and called me to the rod, by the time I got there it was too late. Dad put another Mudeye on the hook and cast it out to the same spot, nearly straight away it went under again, this time I was ready and struck the rod, missed it again. “Just small Trout.” Dad said. So again, Dad put a Mudeye on the hook and cast it to the same spot. Within a minute the float goes down again.

Dad said “Leave it and hook as the rod bends.” And that is what I did, it worked, I was on. It started taking line and then it jumped towards us. It made a big splash, it looked huge! Dad brought up the other rod so I wouldn’t get tangled with it. I think Dad knew it was big because he was serious and kept on repeating “Relax, take it easy, it is going to take a while.” After about a 15 minute fight, we finally had it close enough for Dad to net it, and he did. It looked massive. Dad and I were very happy.

It was a long trout at 62 cm and weighed 2.2 kgs. I won my first trophy at the Eildon ANSA Convention and helped win the Junior Team Trophy for my club – Williamstown Sportfishing and Game Club.

Scott Gusman

Meritorious Capture 2008/9
Anysia Oberg’s Marlin

Saturday the 14th February was an eventful day for young 9 year Anysia Oberg. The Canberra and Batemans Bay Game Fishing Clubs had organized a combined fun competition weekend covering Friday evening the 13th through until Sunday evening. Along the way this involved a get together, with camping, BBQ’s and a fair amount of fishing. Whilst some opted to stay on dry land due to the weather not being the kindest, many others ventured out in their boats in search of some Marlin and Tuna that visit the southern NSW coastline this time of year.

Being a member of Canberra Game Fishing club, as well as the Australian National Sportfishing Association (ANSA), Anysia and her mum Anne stepped on board a 40 foot Blackwatch boat owned by Gary Cairns of Tackle World Fyshwick in the ACT. Anysia is no stranger to fishing, mostly fishing off the rocks, and her father Peter regularly fishes on this same boat in tournaments, but on this day the club had arranged a ladies day and only the females were able to fish. Local identity and fishing legend Ron Smith went along as one of the crew to help the ladies out with the setting of lines and making sure the drinks were flowing freely when required.

The trip out involved a late start after a BBQ breakfast, and the early cloudy sky held rain in patches, however once the boat reached about 20 nautical miles from the Marina the skies cleared to a very sunny day. The sea was not the kindest, being sloppy and rough, consequently Naysh was feeling a little sea sick. Once the lines were set for marlin and the boat started trolled around the wide blue ocean just inside the continental shelf towing lures, some organisation of who was on strike had the interest up.

Naysh-award_250After a number of strike rotations with some small tuna being caught it was Anysia’s turn once again and she put herself in the deep end when at 11.00 in the morning a hungry Marlin grabbed one of the lures and she raced over to grab the rod. She had some difficulty getting the rod from the holder under the strike drag setting but with Ron adding a safety precaution to the process. After a bit of a tussle she was safely in the game chair with the 37kg rod and spent the next 52 minutes fighting and successfully capturing a big Striped Marlin. She managed to get the fish to the boat on a number of occasions, and each time it would take line again swimming several hundred metres. Anysia is not all that big, and it was a long tough process however with Ron’s guidance and moral support, as well as the emotional support from all on board including her mum, she did not give up and finally came out on top. Almost every marlin caught on the boat is tagged and released but on this occasion Naysh opted to keep the fish for the BBQ to feed everyone and to show her proud Dad when back on dry land. The fish was weighed by the Batemans Bay Game Fishing Club and recorded at 86.6kg, almost four times her own weight.

Approximately 70 other members were there to greet her when she arrived back at thecampsite where she had a rousing reception with lots of cheers and handshakes. The after effects of sea sickness disappeared and she celebrated with a big can of soft drink.

This was the first Marlin that she has ever had the opportunity to tackle and afterwards she said “my arms, legs and back were a bit sore”. Naysh also said that the next Marlin she gets she will tag and let go. Her mission now is to land a big tuna from her dad’s boat and wants to go with him in the next game fishing tournament. Incidentally, Naysh won the joint club competition as champion angler for the weekend, which is a top effort amongst some credible other anglers, and she says “I just can’t believe I caught a Marlin!”

Meritorious Capture 2007/8
Russell Emms’ Story

This is a submission for most meritorious capture for the 08/09 season. The angler is Russell Emms, from Wollongong Sportfishing Club.

On the 17th of October 2008 Kev Ward, Luke Dodd and myself did an overnight fish on the shelf that we will never forget. The overnight fish had been carefully planned for around 2 months. Talk about tuna, big sharks and broadbill that could be on offer had all three of us pumped up for a big night.

We left Bellambi boat ramp at around 2pm on Friday,stopping at our favourite bait reef to fill the live bait tank with a dozen livies before heading for Stanwell Park Canyons. The trip out was less than ideal and took longer than we expected pushing into a stiff NE wind. Arriving at the canyons as the sun was slowly disappearing behind the escarpment we headed north so we would drift over the canyons with a couple of hours of burley in the water.

Within 10 mins of starting to fish a small mako turned up and was keen for a feed,he had a few attemps at eating a 3kg salmon on twin 16/Os before I rigged a dead slimie on a light wire. Kev deployed the bait on 6kg tackle and the mako pounced. It put on a great show for around 10 mins before being gaffed.   Not much happened for around an hour after the mako until a livie was taken but it was bitten off after a minute or so after hooking up. Luke hooked up while cubing and the salmon on twin 16/Os was also taken but unfortunately the lines crossed and both fish were lost.

The next hour and a half was quiet until Luke spotted a nice Mako of around 80- 90kgs hanging right at the burley pot. Luke fed the Mako a striped tuna on 15kg tackle. It kept him busy for around 40 minutes till we got a tag in it. While Kev was removing the hook, another Mako of around 250kgs turned up and surprised Kev and myself. Not wanting our hands anywhere near the water while a couple of hundred kgs of Mako was charging around looking for a feed we decided to cut the smaller Mako off and feed the big Mako a whole stripey on 24kg tackle. He took the stripey and instantly took to the air. It was unreal seeing a mako that big backflipping in the moonlight. Unfortunately after 4 big jumps the wire pulled though the crimping sleeve and he was gone. A lot of swearing followed mostly directed at certain manufacturer who crimped up the wire (we all make our own wires now).

Thinking the big Mako might return I rigged another stripey and let it sit around 10 metres behind the boat under a balloon. Kev and Luke decided to have a quick snooze. I kept burlying and was almost nodding off when at about 2.30am the balloon bobbed under and broke free and the ratchet started to tick over. Thinking it was another shark I laid into it after free spooling it some line giving the mystery fish time to get the bait down. First up it just felt like dead weight as I pumped and wound it straight to the boat. Then it realised it was hooked and the fun began.

Naysh-marlin_250

With under 8.5kg of strike drag, the mystery predator stripped 300m of 24kg line from my Tiagra with ease. I worked extremely hard to get every inch of line back on the reel only to see it disappear again at an alarming rate. This tug of war went on for around an hour and a half. As the trace wire appeared Kev took a wrap as I stepped back but was unable to hold on as the unknown predator took a dive. Kev indicated he had got a quick glimpse of colour under the light of his head torch and said it may have been a broadbill. I thought Kev was just getting carried away. It was another hour before the wire was up again. I took a step back as Kev took a wrap. Luke had the tag pole in hand ready for a shot. As the fish came into view Kev gave a shout “its a f#@kin Broadbill, get the gaff”. Luke dumped the tag pole and had the flyer in its shoulder in no time. I dropped the rod and hit it with a back up flyer. We quickly lifted the broadbill on board and dropped it on the deck. There was hi 5s and yahooing all round.

I was speechless for about a minute while it all sunk in. Kev and Luke admired the shear bulk around the Broadies tail as it was still kicking on the deck. We decided to pack up and head for home to get the Broadbill on the scales asap. After many photos the Broadbill later weighed 73kg on 24kg tackle. I have never caught any fish that has fought so hard. After researching and reading up on Broadbill I realised how special this catch was, especially in Australian waters. The broadbill is regarded by many as the pinnacle of game fishing. Having been lucky enough to tangle with one of these mighty fish, I can confirm they truly are the Gladiators of the ocean.

I have to say a huge thanks to Kev, Ward and Luke Dodd because I could not have done it without them -THANKS BOYS!!!

Russell Emms