Experienced anglers win big at Dampier Classic
Experienced anglers put their skills to the test over a busy four days of fishing at the King Bay Game Fishing Club’s 2019 Dampier Classic this month.
Some 22 boats and 66 anglers competed in the club’s major annual tournament from August 16-19, targeting species from queenfish to black marlin for tagging and releasing or capturing in the Dampier Archipelago.
At an awards presentation on Friday, the big winners taking out the tournament’s top three categories were Chasing Tail (champion boat tag and release gamefish), Blue Stuff (champion boat tag and release billfish) and Big Daddy (champion boat capture).
Blue Stuff also collected the Simrad champion all-rounder award, a new prize recognising participation across all three sections.
Blue Stuff team member Luke Leech said it was the team’s first time fishing the billfish category, with the crew making most of their tags in the first two days before the weather went south.
“There are a lot of really strong billfish anglers and skippers in this town — some of the best in the State, if not in the country, are in this area —so it’s pretty hot competition really,” he said.
“We’ve now won each section of the tournament so we’re pretty rapt to have won this section.”
In other results, the Tatham family cleaned up in the line class awards, several small fry and junior anglers won multiple prizes and Mark Cottrell and his team aboard the Judge had a strong performance, winning awards for highest point-scoring gamefish — adult, champion capture — male and the John Berthelsen memorial prize for the three highest-scoring gamefish.
The tournament, which boasted ideal conditions for the first two days before being buffeted by strong winds, had 111 billfish and 218 gamefish tagged and 47 fish captured.
Among the catches were a potential world record and three potential national records.
King Bay Game Fishing Club president Ian Lannary said all the champion boat categories had been hotly contested this year.
“We had good-quality teams catching lots of fish with only a couple of species between first and second place in all categories, so it was very competitive,” he said.
“The people that are attracted to the comp are of a very high calibre and some of the best fishermen in their leagues because it is a gamefishing event which takes a high degree of skill.”
The club also held a free public fishing clinic on Saturday as part of the competition.
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