The Vanuatu Marlin Classic

The Grand Hotel Vanuatu Marlin Classic has been run and won again, what a change from previous years. In the past we have seen 80 plus strikes 50 plus hookups and up to 20 fish tagged and released.

This year a whole new story. The economic times saw a lesser number of overseas teams registering however there was still 12 teams entered and keen to get amongst the action.

With conditions less than favorable on day one the only marlin hook up was on Shogun with the gun local team Rats Arse Fishing only to have the marlin turn back over the 15 kg line and cut itself off close to the boat. Most other boats had a story of seeing one in the gear but no hook up.

Day two saw the torrential rain and winds from the previous day abate leaving condition ideal however the fish were not playing the game with only a couple of marlin sited and non tagged. There were a few other species caught however it was still very slow.

Day three turned up a similar result with another no marlin tagged day however there was couple of stories about marlin sightings and V-Factor dropping one close to the boat.

On Wednesday which was day four Nevergiveup broke the drought with their Supreme Team getting a tag into a marlin at 12.55 which was captured on 15kg line. The angler was Grant Hall.

Thursday or day 5 had all the boats charging off from the daily 7.00am  shotgun start in perfect condition with a light breeze blowing and flat seas. At 7.57 Shogun skipper Pete Phillipps was calling watchdog with a marlin hookup and the crew had a tag in the red hot fish in 3 minutes to put the New Zealand Fishing Council entrants on the board with a capture on 24kg line. The angler was Mike Skelly.  No other fish were tagged for the day.

With competition still wide open Friday began in still ideal conditions and boats heading in all direction trying to get onto the marlin. The silent boat radios were interrupted with Cpt. Charles Wheeler on Nevergiveup calling a hookup at 12.20 and not long after announcing he had just tagged another blue marlin on 15kg line with Vanuatu resident Shaun Winslett doing the duty on the rod. This effectively put Nevergiveup teams first and second and Shogun in third however there was still only 2 fish in it and the comp was still wide open.

The last day proved to be just as slow as only one blue marlin was raised for the day and no fish tagged leaving the results as they were the day before. A great night was had by all at the presentation dinner at naming sponsors venue, The Grand Hotel in the heart of Port Vila with everyone sharing their stories of bad luck and slow fishing but already looking forward to next year to do battle again. Prize money for the comp was $10,000 for first, $5,000 for second and $3,000 for third place.