Team Simrad attended the Newcastle and Port Stephens Game Fishing Clubs inaugural “Cash Shoot Out” which was held on the 20th and 21st of February.
Without a doubt, this is one of the premier events on the New South Wales Game Fishing Calendar. Over 130 Boats attended and around 1,000 Anglers!
This year, the fishing was extremely tough. Thankfully, the weather was exceptional, but that was about it.
We left Port Stephens bright an early as we began our pilgrimage towards Seal Rocks. The route was set on our Simrad NSS12 Touchscreen and the autopilot engaged. Nothing beats sitting back and relaxing, coffee in hand as the boat steers itself up to the fishing grounds some 30 nautical miles away!
As we were arrived, we were greeted with herds of bait fish bubbling the surface. We spent the next 7 hours working the schools as we marked several bait walls and individual fish on the Sounder thanks to the BSM-2 paired with the B175H and B175L 1KW transducers. Finally, around 3:00pm, the bait got engulfed on the right rigger and a nice little black breached the surface.
Unfortunately it was short lived, as the now ultra-light leader was no match for the fishes razor sharp bill. We persevered until we stopped fishing at 5:00pm. We then re-engaged the auto pilot and headed for home.
On the Sunday, we decided to head wide and try to tangle with a sizeable Blue Marlin in an attempt to win the $12,500 cash prize on offer. The water was a balmy 28 deg with a distinct thermocline set down at the 60fa line.
We thought it would only be a matter of time before a Blue engulfed our lures. When the right rigger finally went off, we thought that was it, but alas it was only a Large Mahi Mahi. A Boat side release saw the fish swim away (they do not count in this Tournament), and we resumed fishing. Perhaps the fish were a little too hot in the boiling water, and ultimately we did not see another fish.
The inshore Anglers who persevered in shallow waters managed to find a tight school of little black Marlin only metres from the breakers off Stockton Beach. Several fish were ultimately tagged and made up the majority of the numbers (and winners) of the Tournament.
Congratulations to all the winners and look forward to next year. Till then, tight lines.