Riviera 43 Open Flybridge leads the sail past to mark the start of the Cairns Bluewater Billfish Tournament

Riviera 43 Open Flybridge leads the sail past to mark the start of the Cairns Bluewater Billfish Tournament

Fitzroy Island, Cairns, tropical North Queensland:  Riviera owner Hayden Bell couldn’t contain his excitement as he led a fleet of 40 boats out of Fitzroy Bay for a spectacular sail past to mark the start of the 2014 Cairns Bluewater Billfish Tournament.

It was a very proud moment for Hayden who felt honoured to have Zinc FM hosts Dave and Inkie broadcasting live from on board his 43 Open Flybridge, Release.

This is the second year Hayden and the team from the Telstra Business Centre (naming rights sponsors of the tournament) have competed in the event and despite not placing anywhere in the leaderboard, they had a great time and tagged three fish.

Riviera’s exclusive Cairns dealer Adam Drawbridge from R Marine Jones fished off Sweet Lorraine during the day and stayed overnight on board his team’s mothership, a Riviera 43.  His wife Mellisa and her friend Simone Murphy competed in the tournament with Simone tagging two billfish including one that was about 36kg (80 pounds).

He said the excitement was evident as the boats angled their way out to their favourite spots.

“Fitzroy Island is the perfect place to host such an exciting event.  A lush tropical Island about two nautical miles off the coast of Cairns with aqua blue water, stunning reef and sandy coral shores – gives you the feeling you could be thousands of miles from anywhere.  This is why this is such a special tournament,” Adam said.

“My wife Mellisa and her friend Simone are the only anglers on our boat.  I drive and my mate Rob (Simone’s husband) is the deckie while the girls fish.  They fish all the tournaments from light tackle through to heavy tackle and have tagged billfish in excess of 1000 pounds and this tournament certainly didn’t disappoint our keen female anglers.

“We had perfect weather on day one with a nice light breeze of 10 to 15 knots and a total of 152 hookups with 83 billfish tagged overall.  On day two the wind picked up but that didn’t deter the keen anglers who recorded 77 hookups and tagged 52 billfish.

“The weather was at its worst on the final day of the tournament with two metre swells and 20 to 25 knot winds but the teams still managed to record 66 hookups and tagged 43 billfish.  Large numbers of billfish were sighted within three nautical miles off Fitzroy Island and our team had a double hookup while still within eye sight of Foxy’s Bar and Grill located on the Island – absolutely amazing, adrenalin pumping fishing action.

“All in all, it was a record tournament with a total of 178 billfish tagged and released over three days from August 20 to 23.  The previous record of 132 tagged billfish was set two years ago.”

The 2014 Cairns Bluewater Billfish Tournament attracted teams from as far south as Port Stephens in New South Wales all keen to win the tournament and earn a place in the World Offshore Championships held in Puerto Rico.

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