Solitary Islands GFC
LAST Saturday, the Solitary Islands Game Fishing Club held its annual awards and presentations night.
This is the big night where the angling efforts of boats and crews over the past year are recognised by their peers, and where the results of all those hours out on the water - sometimes in less than tourist brochure conditions - come into focus.
Of course, the best prize in game fishing is the huge adrenalin rush as a big marlin crash-tackles one of your lures and runs off to the horizon with a wake like a speedboat, peeling line off a screaming reel while the deck is briefly overtaken by controlled pandemonium.
However, at the end of the season, it's a great bonus to win a trophy for your efforts, and that was what last Saturday night was all about.
There were too many winners to list them all, but the stand-outs were as follows - Zac Danby won the award for top small fry angler, Ryan Marshall and Nick Edwards were recognised as the top junior anglers, Karen Goodwin and Elise Currie shared the top honours for women, while Doug Sinclair, Matt McEwan and Wayne Steel were the best of the male anglers.
Several boats did very well during the season in various minor categories; however, the runaway winners of the year were skipper Glen Booth and his team of ace anglers on club boat Wicked Weasel.
They cleaned up, winning the coveted Champion Boat award, plus the trophy for Most Marlin Tagged and Released. Glen's team of anglers - Matt, Steve, Daran and Jarred - fished hard, played the game to perfection, and were an exemplary team of great sportsmen at all times.
Glen is simply the north coast's best game fishing skipper and it shows.
So, well done team Weasel!
One of the most innovative prizes presented each year comes courtesy of the Sinclair family and is the perpetual trophy for Club Person of the Year.
This was well earned this year by the SIGFC secretary and avid big game fisherman, James McGinty, for his tireless efforts in all areas of the club's activities, helping to make the Solitary Islands club by far the largest and most active big game fishing club in northern NSW.
So with that final wrap-up of the game fishing season for 2011/12, it's onward and upward to the new season.
And with early indications of an El Nino event developing in the tropical Pacific Ocean regions later this spring, we could see a reversal of the cool, wet La Nina summers of the last couple of years, hopefully replaced by a more normal dry, warmer summer this year.
Warm dry summers bring large numbers of black marlin to this coast, and it would be good to welcome them back after two years where they've been conspicuous only by their absence.
Blue marlin like it no matter what's going on as long as the ocean temperature is over about 26 Celsius, so these big bruisers should be arriving in spring, just before the returning blacks.
If these latest seasonal climate forecast models are correct, the opportunity for an increased number of sunny days and calmer conditions out on the continental shelf is high, and would be a most welcome change.
So if this comes to pass as predicted, it could give us a very busy game fishing season with more favourable weather and fishing opportunities, and thus a great competitive year ahead.