The Fleurieu’s first major tuna fishing competition was a large success according to its organisers, despite concerns a local boat ramp facility would not be able to cope with the extra traffic.
The Coast 2 Coast Tuna Tournament hosted 54 boats and 165 competitors, with calm conditions for boating on Saturday (February 7).
There were 164 fish weighed in across the weekend, adding up to nearly 2500kg of tuna, averaging 14.76kg per fish.
Organiser Steve Powell said the Bluff Boat ramp was able to handle the extra traffic, with some planning.
“There was great concern from locals and people not familiar with the area about how the launching process was going to go and it couldn’t have gone any better,” Steve said.
“There were no delays and the traffic just seemed to flow really well.
Steve said he was pleased the competition fostered camaraderie between anglers, and was a familyfriendly weekend, all based at the Victor Harbor Harness Racing Club.
“The atmosphere was really good.
“The guys really bonded together and a lot of people made new friends.”
The Grand Champion prize for the overall largest tuna was won by Willis Knox from Benalla, Victoria, with a fish weighing 34.1kg.
Some boats left as early as 3am on Saturday morning to head to grounds further out from Victor, while some anglers managed to catch tuna within a few hundred metres from the Bluff Boat Ramp.
“The weather on Saturday was just as the doctor ordered - very flat, very calm conditions, accessible for all boaties,” Steve said.
“It was good to see that all the boats got to go out and catch a fish.
“There were one or two caught within one or two hundred metres of the boat ramp.
“For the first event it did go very smoothly, and to be honest I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.”
Steve said the event had to pass the National Environmental Assessment of Tournament Fishing (NEATFish).
He said this included minimising detrimental impacts on fish stocks, and being environmentally sustainable.
Part of this included a weigh-in limit of one fish per person, per day, and also providing information to anglers on how to safely catch and release fish.
“We had certain rules in place so it makes it sustainable for the future,” Steve said. “We’ve done our part to minimise the impact on the sustainability of it.”
Grand Champion - Largest tuna overall
Entrant #112 Willis Knox
Largest tuna caught by a male
1st Place - Entrant #71 Damien Jones
2nd Place - Entrant #108 Glenn Kohler
3rd Place - Entrant #111 Stephen Knox
Largest tuna caught by a female
Entrant #40 Lee Van Soest
Heaviest combined tuna weight
1st Place - Boat #37 Team SIR
2nd Place - Boat #25 Team Bonus
3rd Place - Boat #36 Team Kick It and Rip It
Largest tuna released
Entrant #30 Grant Ween
Entrant #35 Luke Napier
Entrant #55 Khai Hird
Entrant #89 Shane Nyholt
Entrant #122 Toby Keighran
Entrant #40 Lee Van Soest
Entrant #41 Mark Prior
Entrant #50 Russell
Entrant #98 Dan Smith
Entrant #65 Anthony
Best Team Name
Boat #17 Team John West
Most Tagged & Released
Boat #18 Team Battle Axe
Boat #44 Team Reece
Biggest tuna caught by under 16
1st Place - Entrant #63 Dylan Stewart
2nd Place - Entrant #62 Mikayla Stewart
3rd Place - Entrant #55 Khai Hird
Runner up - Entrant #64 Luke Stewart
Boat #25 Team Bonus