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Alex's Column 24 November 2023

The combination of perfect sea conditions, an abundance of hungry marlin and

sailfish, and 14 teams with plenty of billfish nous between them set the stage

for an enthralling NT XXXX Billfish Classic.

Hosted by Darwin Game Fishing Club, there was a record number of 39 billfish

tagged and released in this 16 th Classic.

At the same time, the trend continued for an increasing number of black

marlin caught.

My recollection from just a few years ago is that sailfish catches outnumbered

marlin by at least 5:1; however, this year there were 21 sailfish and an

impressive 18 marlin tagged and released.

Of course, billfishing being what it is, most fish raised don’t end up with a tag in

their shoulder; in fact, it was estimated that about 180 billfish were raised over

the three days of competition.

Most boats worked around the Dundee wide area, but four boats went to the

Tiwi Islands.

Old mate Peter Dienhoff, who assists with the co-ordination of the Classic,

elected to fish the waters out from Dundee Beach.

His Hit N Run team included David “Brooksy” Brooks, Brent “Bozzy” Boswell

and Matt McDonald.

“Our decision was based on a previous trip to Dundee on similar tides one

month ago when good numbers of billfish were caught/raised,” Pete


“Although the tide on the first day was the most neap, we were confident we

could locate billfish.

“Well, our first billfish never came until one hour before lines out at 4pm when

Bozzy hooked a black marlin that took his swimming oceanic queenfish.

“It was on the lightest line class allowed – only 10kg – and it was a solid marlin

for Dundee: estimated at over 100kg,” Pete said.

“The outfit was a Stella 20000 matched to a G.Loomis 10-15kg spin stick, and I

had every confidence in Bozzy’s ability to tame the big fish… it was just going

to take a little while.

“Bozzy has fished right around the world for the most-exotic and sought-after

fish on offer, and is a very accomplished angler in his own right.”

Lines-out in the Classic each day was at 5.00pm but, if an angler is hooked up

and fighting a fish already, he or she is permitted to keep going until either the

fish is lost or tagged.

“I made the call to Billfish Base that we were hooked up to a nice billfish and

we expected to go into overtime,” Peter explained.

“Three hours later, we had the leader in hand for a tag shot.

“However, the marlin was far from giving up and tried to launch itself into the

back of the boat over the transom!

“Fortunately for us, it bounced off the gunwale and presented itself for a tag

shot,” Peter said.

Brooksy tagged the marlin which went 236cm short length, making it 120-

130kg for 2000 points.

There were 11 billfish tagged on day one.

The second day was another good one for Hit N Run: Brooksy caught a small

marlin and Bozzy caught another marlin.

The marlin point score is based on measured size: on 10kg line, fish under

1200mm are worth 750 points, fish measuring 1200-2000mm are worth 1500

points and over 2000mm are awarded 2000 points.

Final Points allocated are based on line class: maximum points are on 10kg line,

followed by 15kg line and 24kg line.

Day two saw another 16 billfish tagged, with Peter’s team holding a narrow

lead going into the last day.

“We managed to get onto a pod of sailfish on the last day and tagged three

before 10.00am,” Peter told me.

“Unfortunately, Lady Luck left our boat after that, and we missed the hook-up

on another two nice sails in the afternoon.

“Team Barra and Blue Undertow just went into competition overdrive and

tagged two marlin and a sailfish late in the day,” Peter reported.


Champion Team – Barra or Blue Undertow (Lincoln Kirby, Kurt Williamson,

Triston Christie) 6750 points

Runner-up Team – Hit N Run (Peter Dienhoff, David Brooks, Brent Boswell,

Matt McDonald) 6500 points

Third Place Team – Bigfish (Josh Ker, Nat Ker, Tim Roberts, Darryn Bromley)

5025 points

Champion Billfish Angler – Brent Boswell 4250 points

Champion Pelagic Team – Kurri Tackle

Champion Pelagic Angler – Matilda Mychas


NT fishers can find out about the Territory’s Future Fishing Plans at the AFANT

AGM on Thursday 30 November.

In addition to catching up on all of AFANT work representing the NT $270

million recreational fishing sector, there will be presentations on the new NT

Recreational Fishing Development Plan and the NT barramundi fishery.

The AGM will be held at the Travelodge Darwin next Thursday, with

registrations from 5:15pm for a 6:00pm start.

Everyone interested in recreational fishing is welcome: members and non-


NT Billfish Classic Champion Angler, Brent Boswell, with an early-

morning sailfish.

Kurt Williamson from the winning Barra or Blue Undertow team was

Runner-up Champion Angler.

Team Hit N Run’s Brent Boswell fought this estimated 120-130kg black

marlin for three hours before it was tagged.


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