Weather plays ball at Shootout

Pilbara News - - Fishing - Ali­cia Per­era

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.

Pic­tures: Ali­cia Per­era

Team Spec­trum on the wa­ter.

Aaron Rein­hard and Talia Gal­loway rig­ging bait aboard the Blue Mar­lin.

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