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Alex's Column 24/09/20

It’s continued to be billfish mania down off Dundee.

Last weekend two events were combined: Darwin Game Fishing Club’s Billfish Bash and round 6 of the Top End Billfish Series.

The Billfish Bash had been postponed from last April, so it seems most competitors fished both events, especially as the Bash cost only $40 for an adult and $20 for a junior… it was a real family event.

It’s hard to beat old mate Peter Dienhoff in a billfish competition, especially when he’s teamed up with the likes of David Brooks and Kurt Williamson.

Pete’s team Free Jumpers romped home as Champion Team in the Billfish Bash.

They raised 19 billfish, hooked 11 and tagged 6.

The big surprise was a double catch of marlin for Kurt Williamson and Bridget Rootsey.

“Kurt and Bridget hung onto their rods all day – as soon as they have a hit, they’re onto it,” Peter told me.

“I was basically the skipper, but I got a marlin about 25kg.

“We got 4 marlin and 2 sails and won Champion Team, Champion Female Angler for Bridget, and Runner-up Champion Angler for Kurt,” Pete told me.

Champion Junior was Elle Saunders and Champion Male was Beau Cartledge.

The final tally for the Bash were 66 billfish raised, 37 hooked and 31 tagged… amazing really.

“It rained both mornings, but no wind to speak of,” Pete reported.

“The tides were big so it was a matter of getting out wide enough to find blue water and bait.

“A lot of fish were spewing up squid; we stayed up one night and caught 100 squid.

“Little queenies were the bait of choice; you just hang on to the rod and feel the hit.

“But those small marlin are dangerous little fish and jump all over the place.

“I tried to back up on them and one minute they’re on the port side then next minute they’re on the starboard side.

“The billies are definitely more on the chew on the bigger tides; they’re more doughy in the neaps.

“You just had to be a bit wider and the fish were there,” Pete explained.

“We’re going to apply for a grant to start a satellite tracking system.

“It’s becoming a world-class fishery because there aren’t many places you can drive an hour and fish from a 5m boat.

“It’d be good to know where these little black marlin are coming from and where they’re going.”

Pete reckoned Briget’s second marlin gave her a hell of a fight.

“Mind you, she had Kurt yelling at her a fair bit,” Pete joked.

Beau Cartledge was also Champion Angler in the Top End Billfish Series round, Peter Dienhoff’s team also won Champion Boat, but under the name Team Billissimo, and Elle Saunders took out Champion Junior.


Bynoe Harbour was again the venue for the 2020 Saltwater Fly Fishing Challenge, with competitors battling neap tides and breezy afternoon conditions.

According to Warren Jeffery from the Darwin Flyrodders: “Barra were conspicuous in their absence with only seven caught for the entire competition, although the biggest caught by Matt Hayne went 73cm.

“Queenfish, trevally and snapper made up the bulk of numbers with some good size fish landed.

“Fishing was hotly contested with only a handful of points separating the top five teams.

“Fishing proved very difficult on the final day but Tim Harding managed good numbers to finish as Champion Angler.

“In the end, only three fish separated first and second place in the team event with Warren and Jarryd Jeffery in Team ZedeX taking out Champion Team,” Warren reported.

Runner-up champion was Warren Jeffery and Runner-up team were Glenn Hubble and Quinten Pope in Territory Towel-ups.


Bridget Rootsey and Kurt Williamson strike again with an amazing double marlin catch in the Darwin Billfish Bash and Top End Billfish Series.

Free Jumpers team skipper, Peter Dienhoff, with his black marlin from the combined events that helped the team to victory.

Warren Jeffery from the winning Team ZedeX in the Saltwater Fly Fishing Challenge with his spectacular diamond trevally, a prized catch on fly.


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