Kalbarri Sports Fishing Classic



Courtesy of Laurie Malton

The Kalbarri Classic this year again hosted a record number of boats making it a very successful tournament. The final count of fifty boats (17 under 6m, 22 in the 6m–7m and 11 over 7m) spent 3 days fishing it out for $18.000 worth of prizes in 29 categories over the Labour Day long weekend, 3rd 4th and 5th March. 146 anglers fished the ocean and 19 fished the muddy and in flood Murchison River.

The river anglers had quality fish despite the difficult conditions of dirty water flowing from Cyclone Clair last month. As opposed to the mangrove jacks, cod, tailor, mulloway and whiting last year, only bream were weighed in this year. Last year’s River Champion, Daryl Fishwick, returned from Northam again this year to reclaim his trophy with his maximum of 4 bream each day totalling 43.75 points. Paul Allen did well again and picked up the “Skywest Top Gun Award” for the river on the third day, winning a return flight on Skywest to Perth. Paul only just lost to Daryl by 1.98 points.

The seven juniors were very competitive with the lead changing daily. On the last day junior, Chris Miller, brought in an impressive 1.028kg bream and picked up the Heaviest Bream trophy, and released it back live into the river. It was not good enough however to beat Jeb Duigan’s bag of 9 bream over 3 days to win the Champion River Junior. A junior, Riley Eley, whose big bream was only just beaten by 56 grams, weighing in at 1.028kg, won the Meritorious River. Well-done Riley! Runner up junior Mitchell Westlund just missed out with 7 bream.

There were a lot of contenders for the catch and release prize with Brett Bain, catching and releasing 10 of the 33 bream released over the weekend.

The boat section lapped up the better than forecast weather searching far and wide for big fish. A strong current kept most fish hiding on the first day but most boats found some fish to weigh. Barry Court started the ball rolling with a small samson fish but was soon knocked off by Kelly Westlund with a 14.5kg specimen to win Heaviest Samson Fish. Peter Maindok put his team ahead on the first day with an impressive mulloway from the end of the cliffs aboard brother Paul Maindok’s under 6m boat “Mofo”

The much-converted Heaviest WA Dhufish was strongly contested with David Birrell from Hot Bite Magazine fishing aboard “The Explorer” showing an 8.3kg fish but was soon replaced by Rick Clarke with a bigger 8.6kg fish. Tony Rolfe upper the ante with an 8.8kg fish but on the last day, Jason Pache topped it all with a 9.8kg brute to win that section. Blue bone groper were plentiful with Joe Aloveri, Harvey Gatt, Brad Williams, Lisa Morgan and Wayne Bradley all picking up good fish. But on the last day, Darren Cooper showed us the biggest, a 5.4kg winner for the Heaviest Groper trophy.

[img_assist|fid=16518|thumb=0|alt=heaviest groper|caption=Lisa Morgan, 4.3kg groper.]

With the weather getting better on the second day more fish were brought to the weigh-in. A better show of game fish, but down on last year due to the dirty water from the river outflow. Sue Malton aboard “Bulawayo Buoy” had an awesome tournament picking up the “Skywest Top Gun” for game on the first day, winning Highest Point Scoring Snapper with a 3.8kg pink snapper on 2kg line and picking up Highest Point Scoring Game Fish for the same fish. John Hoye also on the same boat showed the Highest point Scoring Tuna, a 3.8kg striped tuna on 3kg line.

There were few mackerel weighed in, mainly due to the discoloured water but some were picked up way offshore in the cleaner water. Paul Maindok had one on 6 kg line, Max White thought he was in the running with his 4.55kg fish on 3kg line, but Steve Jenkins fishing aboard “Keywest” weighed a 6.45kg fish on 4kg line to win the Highest Point Scoring Mackerel.

[img_assist|fid=16521|thumb=0|alt=kalbarri mackie|caption=John McCarthy with a spanish mackerel]

Ladies Meritorious Game went to Caron Stewart for her big snapper on 6kg line and Des Croasdale claimed the Meritorious Game for his 2 tuna, both of them weighing in exactly the same size. He lost 7 lure in the process, time to change your line Des!

Graham Cole who brings his boat “Narcosis” up from Perth every year and was now fishing in his 14th straight “Classic” scored again with a couple of very nice snapper, the biggest taking out the Heaviest Not Game Snapper.

Vern Godfrey was good enough to nail the “Skywest Top Gun” award for bottom on day two while Marion Byrne aboard “The Gambler” picked up Heaviest Cod on count back. Meritorious Bottom, awarded to an outstanding catch that does not have a category went to Janice Olsen aboard Batavia 333. A beautifully coloured coral trout weighing in at 5.25kgs.

[img_assist|fid=16515|thumb=0|alt=snapper kalbarri|caption=Graham Cole with his 6.8kg snapper]

Champion Junior Bottom went to Steven Eley fishing out of the “Kalbarri Explorer” with 122.6 points. Champion Boat Bottom under 6m went to the Reel Servicing WA team fishing out of “Mzilikazi Roller” skippered by Lou Parker with Vern Godfrey and Jeff Higgott. Champion Boat Bottom 6-7m boat went to “Jak Shitt” skippered by David Duperouzel with Tony and Tom Rolfe who did well getting 164.66 points. Champion Boat Bottom over 7m went to “Explorer 2” team of Dario Sorbello and David Birrell from Hotbite Magazine with 124.6 points.

[img_assist|fid=16524|thumb=0|alt=kalbarri snapper1|caption=Champion Boat Bottom under 6m, Lou Parker.]

Champion Boat Game under 6m went to “Rip Tide” crewed by Des & Julie Croasdale, 236.66 points. Champion Boat Game 6-7m went to “Bulawayo Buoy” for the third year running, crewed by Laurie & Sue Malton, John Hoye and Rebecca Malton, 1521.16 points. Champion Boat Game over 7m was “Diversion” crewed by Max White and James & Tracy Mather with 274.16 points.

Champion Angler Bottom, a very competitively fished for trophy was picked up by David Duperouzel fishing aboard “Jak Shitt” with 219.8 points. Well-done David.

Champion Angler Game, the no 1 prize sponsored by the Kalbarri Motor Hotel was deservedly won by Sue Malton aboard “Bulawayo Buoy” with 761.66 points.

The Blind Mullet award goes to the person who did the silliest or funniest thing during the comp. We had a few stories and thankfully no one did anything really stupid, but the award went to Cheryl Eley who ironed on the blind mullet sticker onto the “T” shirt back to front and inside out.

The excellent presentation dinner at the Golf and Bowling club with a sit down dinner served by volunteer golf club personnel was a delight. Overall it was a very successful competition, only possible with the support of all our great sponsors. We would like to thank them most sincerely. Please show them your appreciation by using them when you can.


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