With reports of Southern Bluefin Tuna on the west coast of Victoria, with assistance from Pete Riddle, the club will plan to run the 3rd annual Bluefin Battle soon. The plan is to run this in the coming weeks in January (Preferably before the Western Districts).
With a gap in the busy summer schedule and reports of good numbers of tuna around, we will be planning on running the Bluefin Battle this weekend at Portland.
There have been some good Bluefin seen and taken as recently as Saturday (10th). I will post up the info pack tomorrow morning and this will have all the rules and entry requirements.
This is a 1 day pairs comp and will start and finish at the Portland boat ramp. There will be a weigh in and BBQ where the winning pair will be announced.
This competition was passed on to the Southern Freedivers when the Shipwrecked Coast Skindivers disbanded as a club. Along with the competition came some funding for a major prize, where the winning pair of the Bluefin battle will win a $500 cash prize.
For those that haven't targeted bluefin before, bigger spearguns (i.e. bluewater guns) are ideal, but the same gear used for kingfish can be used. Reel guns or tethered guns with long floatlines (not 10m floatlines Geoff ) are ideal used with 1 or 2 floats on the other end.
As with all our comps, the final call will be made on Thursday when the updated forecast is released.
The Bluefin Battle is called ON for this coming Sunday 18th at Portland. Due to winds forecasted to pick up in the afternoon, we will start the competition 1 hour earlier than originally planned. This means that we will all meet up at 7am. The cut-off for sign on for the day is 7:30am and the competition will commence at 8am and finish at 2pm.
This should also allow people from Melbourne ample time to drive back home.
We will meet at the NEW Portland Boat Ramp at 7am, as per the map below.
The 3rd Bluefin battle was held over the weekend at Portland and we had a good turnout with 7 pairs signed on to do the comp out of 6 boats. The conditions were forecast to have low winds in the morning with reasonably large swell which is pretty good for chasing Southern Bluefin Tuna. The wind was set to increase dramatically in the afternoon, so the competition started an hour earlier than usual and set to finish at 2pm.
With all the boats in the water on Sunday morning, we headed out of the harbor to the starting point where we were met with flat glassy conditions in the bay. Once all the boats gathered we started the comp and all the boats were off, fanning out in search of the Bluefin. Even though Murray hung back to film the start, he easily overtook us all with Slav's boat powering ahead of the remaining boats.
Conditions were calm and we were lucky to have good visibility in the bay, however there were some areas that had reduced visibility.
With telltale signs of ripples on the water we knew there were fish around! One boat had a big bronze whaler come around to say hello, but they didn't have too many hassles and continued looking for the fish.
A few boats had divers jump in the water at times expecting to see bluefid, but saw good sized salmon instead. They would have been a cracking catch if in a regular comp.
Some saw fish disturbing the water on the surface, some saw smaller fish jumping clean out of the water and others saw fish swimming on the surface with their mouth open.
Although he didn't sign up for the comp, Andrew Cutajar (Cutters) jumped in on a school of fish towards the end of the day and got onto a bluefin. When he got it into the boat, we realized it was a possible state record fish.
A few boats came back to the ramp early, but also some that came in late to sign off and intern those competitors were disqualified. All boats returned safely to the harbor before the weather turned.
We all drove around to the grassy area near the break-wall and brought out the BBQ, drinks cooler and scales to get the food cooking and weigh-in under way. We waited till the last group of divers joined us to start the weigh in and once gathered the weigh in commenced.
Competitors were trying to get an idea of what the other teams caught. After understanding there were 2 teams to weigh fish, a coin toss decided that Christian and Luke weighed their fish in first.
Christian and Luke's first fish was carried over and weighed in at 27.35kg. Pete and Stoj were worried that the second fish may be bigger, but the fish was brought out and weighed in at 24.2kg. So Christian and Luke's 2 fish had a combined weight of 51.55kg.
Pete Riddle and Stoj opened up the cooler bag and and Stoj's fish was weighed in first. It weighed 26.7kg and being heavier than Christian & Luke's smaller fish, the pressure was all on Pete's fish needing to be heavier than 24.85kg. After placing Pete's fish on the scales, the number came up at 28.75kg, giving the pair a combined weight of 55.45kg.
Therefore the winning pair of the 3rd Bluefin Battle are Pete Riddle and Stoj Pavlovski, getting to take home the $500 cash prize. The winner for the heaviest fish was Peter Riddle with his 28.75kg and got the $150 cash prize for this.
Cutters presented his fish to be officially weighed for the state record and it weighed in at 32.75kg, breaking the previous official record by about 5kg!
It was a fun competition with some good fish weighed in and even a state record breaking fish.
Thanks to Pete Riddle for running the day and for cooking the BBQ. Thanks to all the boat owners for towing their boats all the way to Portland for this comp and especially to Murray that had a pair of competing juniors on his boat and giving them priority to get involved in the action. Also thanks to the non-competing boaties for coming down and helping the competing pairs.
Look forward to seeing you all at the next one!
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