Tight lines

An­glers take on Bill­fish Shootout

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Per­era

Re­lent­lessly rough weather did not stop 146 an­glers get­ting out on the wa­ter to chase some of the ocean’s fastest fish at the an­nual Bill­fish Shootout com­pe­ti­tion in Dampier at the week­end.

Strong winds of about 44km/h dogged all three days of this year’s Nickol Bay Sport­fish­ing Club’s premier com­pe­ti­tion, pit­ting its 39 teams against the el­e­ments in their mis­sion to reel in as many mar­lin and sail­fish as pos­si­ble.

The fish were on the bite on the first day, when more than 40 were caught de­spite the rough con­di­tions, but were slower on day two, with 24 catches recorded across all teams.

As of the sec­ond day’s end, Team Bush Pig were well ahead of the pack on a com­bined catch score of 8250, while first-day lead­ers Thun­der Dog and past win­ners Party of Five were sit­ting close to­gether in sec­ond and third spots.

Mean­while Thun­der Dog’s Paul Rid­dell and Neil Grant of Ther­a­pists were even in the race for best male an­gler two days in, Kate McLeod of Party of Five was lead­ing the fe­male an­gler cate0­gory and Spec­trum’s Jor­dan Dremel was ahead in the ju­niors di­vi­sion.

Event or­gan­iser Ken MacFar­lane said the up­side of rougher con­di­tions was they of­ten brought the fast and ex­cit­ing fish species to the surface.

“Quite of­ten the rough weather does bring the bill­fish on and it gets ex­cit­ing,” he said.

“As soon as you’re hooked up to a bill­fish, it’s amaz­ing. Ob­vi­ously it’s rough and you’ve got to sail within the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of your boat, your crew, your cap­tain.

“But the weather is . . . noth­ing new, noth­ing un­usual here. “It’s just un­com­fort­able. “And if you can fish in those con­di­tions, you can ba­si­cally fish any­where.”

Keen an­glers from Pan­na­won­ica, Perth, Mel­bourne, Syd­ney, New Zealand and Sin­ga­pore flocked to Dampier for this year’s shootout. Former West Coast Ea­gles great Glen Jakovich re­turned as the com­pe­ti­tion’s spe­cial guest and MC for a sec­ond year, hav­ing con­fessed to be­com­ing hooked on bill­fish­ing on his last visit.

MacFar­lane said so far the 14th an­nual shootout had been a suc­cess.

“(The weather) is prob­a­bly the only neg­a­tive we’ve had, and apart from that it’s been or­gan­ised re­ally well,” he said.

“We’ve had good spon­sor­ship, good num­bers of peo­ple, and they’ve ac­tu­ally had good num­bers of fish as well, es­pe­cially on the first day, so we can’t com­plain.”

Myr­iad prizes, in­clud­ing in­di­vid­ual day win­ners and door, ra­dio and raf­fle prizes, were given out at nightly pre­sen­ta­tions at the Hamp­ton Har­bour Boat and Sail­ing Club.

An­glers were still fish­ing the fi­nal day of the com­pe­ti­tion at time of print, with the shootout due to fin­ish on Mon­day night.

For a full list of win­ners, pick up next week’s copy of The Pil­bara News.

Pic­ture: Brad Beau­mont

Gregg Headley with his sail­fish catch aboard the Blue Mar­lin.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

Shootout or­gan­iser Ken MacFar­lane, spe­cial guest Glen Jakovich and Headleys Rods spon­sor rep­re­sen­ta­tive Gregg Headley at a pre­sen­ta­tion at Hamp­ton Har­bour Boat and Sail­ing Club.

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