Weather plays ball at Shootout
Favourable weather conditions and fish slow to bite have so far characterised the Nickol Bay Sportsfishing Club’s 13th annual Argonaut Billfish Shootout, held on the WA Day long weekend.
The premier fishing tournament for the club has so far enjoyed some of its best weather in years, and though fish were not biting in the same numbers as 2015, it provided an element of challenge for even the most experienced anglers who had to work hard for every catch.
The competition drew 140 competitors from about 30 teams coming from as far afield as Port Hedland and Pannawonica this year, as well as several sponsor representatives up from Perth for a long weekend of fishing.
It also featured a high-profile celebrity guest in Department of Fisheries ambassador and West Coast Eagles football legend Glen Jakovich.
On day one, keen anglers went out from as early as 4am to make the most of the first day’s fishing.
Most teams headed out past the iron ore and gas freighters to find their catches and ended up trawling in similar waters.
But with few billfish biting even in prime conditions, it was tough going and, while there was a steady stream of tags called in over the radio throughout the morning, the afternoon was a quiet affair.
Adult champion fisher for day one was Robert Telfer from Team Wench and junior champion honours went to Team 233’s Ben Thompson.
Team 233 also got an early lead as the day one champion team.
Day two saw ideal clear and sunny conditions after an early onset of rain and a good number of billfish added to the list of tags.
Big tides caused some havoc in the evening though, when the majority of the fleet were held up at the ramp waiting for water to come in, but the presentation time was pushed back to accommodate.
Team Wench’s Jay Wheeloch was the day two adult champion and Ky Neils was announced junior champion.
Team Wench won the day after catching several high-scoring black marlin.
Competition committee member Ken McFarlane said by the end of Sunday, it was very tight among the top few teams with “only one fish in it”.
Two teams were tied in second place and three others running equal third. Chairman Andrew Carpenter predicted 10-11am on day three would likely be the decider, with heavy rains and winds forecast for the afternoon.
For final results see next week’s issue of the Pilbara News.
Billfish Shootout organisers Ken McFarlane and Andrew Carpenter with celebrity guest Glen Jakovich.
Scott MacGowan, Robert Telfer, Jo Riley and Jay Wheeloch from day two champion team Team Wench.
Team Spectrum on the water.
Aaron Reinhard and Talia Galloway rigging bait aboard the Blue Marlin.