Early in 2006 found Viking II heading south for it’s season in Port Stephens. Our ever popular cost of fuel only trip from the Gold Coast to Port Stephens where we troll the continental shelf of NSW presented some great fishing for Warrick, Tony, and big Mike. The boy’s had a ball catching all 3 species of Marlin as well as some quality yellow fin.
Port Stephens again proved itself to be an outstanding destination, my regular fly fishing clients were kept busy on the long rods with the perfect size stripers and blacks and were blown away by the odd nice blue.
Conventional tackle clients had some big days, with double figures and the odd grand slam not uncommon. But without a doubt the biggest highlight of the Port Stephens season was winning the NSW Interclub Tournament Champion boat Tag and Release. Kim, my hard working wife, was relieved of her mother and office duties to fish this tournament. And fish it she did, taking out not only champion female angler, but also champion angler over all. A feat never before achieved by a lady. I achieved a personal milestone in my career, having now won this tournament four times as captain in the capture as well as the tag and release divisions. Again a feat never before achieved.
Four of the Billson’s Blue water Sport fishing Workshops were held in 06. Two in Port Stephens and two on the Gold Coast. As always these were highly successful. Held over weekends these workshops are not only for the new comers to the sport but also for the experienced, yes I can teach some old dogs some new tricks. Click here for this years dates if you want to join the fun!
I had a break from the fishing program for a few months this year, to refit the charter boat Mauna Kea. The Mauna Kea had been purchased by good friend Jeff Jennings, well one thing led to another and I found myself back using my old trade’s tools again, refitting the whole engine room and designing and overseeing the installation of its new tower. A lot of hard work but I am more than happy with the end result.
The Viking II departed the Gold Coast in late August for my 20th Giant Black Marlin season as a Captain and the 40th anniversary season of the first black Marlin captured over 1000lb. We kicked off on the 7th September and found there was no shortage of small to medium fish to keep the clients entertained. By the middle of September we had released our first nice one. Simon Atkinson the angler was ecstatic over the capture, and the boats first nice one for the season put smiles all round.
The 40th Anniversary Tournament with its 65 boats made it one of Cairns largest ever tournaments. Anglers Henning Hassle, Nils Christian Foss from Denmark who had been so successful in a previous Lizard Island Tournament were trying there luck with me again. The boys took 3 days prior the 4 day event to get there hand in. At the end of a tightly fought tournament the Viking II came in second place to Mauna Kea. (I knew I spent too much time on that refit). Never the less a great tournament, and a good result. Congratulations to Jeff and the boys, and my team.
Robert Ell and his team from Sydney were back again, their 4 day trip produced 24 bites for 10 releases. We had a ball too Rob.
Matt Sanders, and Greg Beard, mixed up a spear fishing trip with their marlin fishing, 3 days of marlin fishing for 6 releases and no shortage of trout for the table.
Beau Kuok another regular, normally a Lizard Island guest, this year decided to experience staying on the reef live aboard. Beau enjoys fishing the reef in the mornings and employs his Chinese cooking skills to prepare the fish for lunch. His steamed coral trout or red emperor is to die for. Beau still managed to average a Marlin a day during his afternoon session and will be spending more time on the reef in the future.
The Lizard Island tournament rolled around again Murray Hansen and the boys from NZ utilized the comfort of a mother ship for the 7 days, and put there trust in me to give them a result.. I have won this gig 4 times prior but this year was not my year. The boys were great sports and we had plenty of laughs. You know what they say the sun doesn’t shine out of the same dogs arse all the time.
I had to leave the Viking to Capt Steve Haygarth ( Hoggy) to run for 10 days while I attended to some other commitments. Hoggy has done many seasons with me and he did a great job for clients Michael Hayes and friend and Jeff cooper and friends. I saw the video footage and believe some of the fish released during this time were well over 1000lb. Good Job Hogg.
John Houghton and mate Steve Woods took 6 days at the start of November. John celebrated his 50th birthday on the reef, Steve got a 900lber and John caught his share of smaller fish.
Bruce Yancey did his second trip with me, and utilized the Atlantic Princess for his Mother ship. I must say at this point that the AP’s service and food is second to none on the reef, and our 3 nights were thoroughly enjoyed. Bruce still has not been lucky with a nice fish, but wins the party animal award every time.
Richard Draper, Chris Hevelston, John Staley only took 3 days but got real lucky, 2 over 900lb and 4 in total. This started a nice little roll for us.
Roy Sayman also only took three days, but caught 8 fish including one over 800lb and one over 600lb. By 14:30 on Roy’s last day, we got an early mark; Roy was a little worn out to catch another one.
The husband and wife team of Bruce and Laurie Bosley took 6 days a wonderful couple who were passionate about their fishing. They were rewarded with 10 fish for their trip, and each achieving a dream of 2 big ones around 900lb.
Regular’s Paul Kelly Uncle Doug and Rodney, love there bottom fishing and light tackle and had a great first day with a 20lb red emperor and 40lb Spanish mackerel. When the marlin baits were put in Uncle Doug hooked up to a sea monster, the big fish took its toll on Doug who is not a big man, he looked a little relieved when after a succession of unbelievable jumps the big fish got rid of the hook. Still puffing after the first encounter, Uncle Doug, who is not a fit man. (Sorry Uncle Doug) was on again this time to a 500lber on steroids. I will say one thing about Uncle Doug, what he lacks in size he makes up for in heart. The boys each caught a marlin and plenty of other action on the other tackle.
Jim Wild and friends were to finish off my season, we were on 95 fish for the big fish season and sights were set on the three figures, alas it was not to be. I took a punt and went out wide to the sea mount, plenty of big Wahoo and Dorado and bait but no marlin, a missed opportunity on the way back in, and one fish on the edge was our finish. Jim and his mates were great guys and loved their trip.
2006 was over 82 days of heavy tackle marlin for 96 fish, I think close to top boat we had some great times with you guys and hoped you enjoyed our company and efforts. Thank you so much.