Australian Junior Billfish Tournament

AJBT Champion Team Small Fry

AJBT Champion Team Small Fry

The Exmouth Game Fishing Club’s Australian Junior Billfish Tournament was held over September 30th and October 1st with 9 teams and 22 Junior (11-16 years old) and Small Fry (under 11 years old) anglers heading out to target sailfish and marlin on Exmouth’s inshore billfish grounds.

William & Sam Cunningham aboard On Strike (1)Day one got off to a bright start with Will Cunningham aboard On Strike tagging the first marlin just 45 minutes after the 8am lines in. Choppy conditions made the fishing a little challenging but failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the youngsters who had tagged a total of 6 marlin by day’s end.

Day two brought calmer seas and a fast start for the team aboard Ningaloo who had tagged the first sailfish of the day for Trent Gregory by 8:10am, followed by another for Jake Fitzgerald just minutes after re-setting their spread. Not long after releasing this fish the team hooked-up again with Trent Gregory back on the rod, but this was no sailfish.After a fight time of 2 hours and 10 minutes the team got the tag in a black marlin they estimated at 130kg+. Not a bad effort for a 10-year old on 15kg spin tackle, especially with one arm in a cast after breaking it playing basketball the previous week! Interestingly, there were two kids with broken arms and one with a broken collar bone that fished the tournament which goes to show how keen these youngsters really are!

Trent Gregory & Jake Fitzgerald aboard Ningaloo

Two finished with 8 billfish (4 black marlin and 4 sails) tagged, bringing the total for the tournament to 10 black marlin and 4 sailfish tagged.

Champion Team Junior went to Azura with anglers William Roche and Jessi Sutton, and runner-up was Grand Slam with anglers Hayden Michaels and Liam Collins. Champion Team Mixed (Junior & Small Fry) was Kajiki with anglers Riley Smith, Tait Missen and Summer Missen, and runner-up was Ningaloo with anglers Trent Gregory and Jake Fitzgerald.

Champion Team Small Fry went to Reckless with anglers Zac Owens, Lincoln Bryce and Coen Bryce, while Captain Eddy Lawler onKajiki won Champion Skipper, and Captain Ben Knight on Ningaloo was runner-up. Congratulations should also go to Coen Bryce, Jake Fitzgerald and Tait Missen who all tagged their first ever billfish during the tournament.

The 2017 Australian Junior Billfish Tournament is tentatively scheduled for the first weekend of the September school holidays, September 23 & 24. Visit: for more information.

AJBT Champion Team Mixed

AJBT Champion Team Mixed

AJBT Champion Team Junior

AJBT Champion Team Junior

Ben Knaggs

About Ben Knaggs

Born and bred in South Australia, Ben’s love of fishing developed from a very early age and evolved to become an obsession which would ultimately shape his life. Actively involved in fishing related journalism from his mid teens, Ben has written articles for most Australian fishing titles and served as editor of Saltwater Fishing magazine for eight years.


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