It seems it’s been a case of ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ for avid angler Susan Tarbotton …at least until now!
Having been named Champion Female Angler runner-up in the Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic for the past two years, Susan is ecstatic after taking home the major honours for the 2015 tournament, held in Port Lincoln, South Australia.
Notably, Susan even out-fished the men!
When fishing had finished, Susan was waiting anxiously as she listened to the final scores being read out during the last radio sked for the largest offshore fishing tournament of its type in South Australia – she knew she had performed well, tagging and releasing 19 tuna throughout the two days of competition.
Then, the excitement of realising she had won hit her like a lightning bolt!
“As I was listening to the radio, I heard that the Champion Male Angler caught 18 tuna and then they read out my score of 19 and it was pretty exciting to not only win the champion female competition but to also catch the most fish of any angler in the tournament,” said Susan.
Indeed, it was a dream come true for Susan, who has fished the annual tournament for the past three years with her husband Ian aboard their Riviera 56 Enclosed Flybridge, Tari.
“My husband encouraged me to enter and I am glad I did,” she said. “It is always such an exciting event, especially when all the teams line up at the start and the fleet sprints to Memory Cove to begin fishing – it’s fun and the camaraderie among anglers and boat owners is amazing.
“I love being involved and to finally win the tournament and receive the trophy is a great feeling.”
Next year Susan will hand the rod and reel over to Ian so he can chase the esteemed title of Champion Male Angler.
The annual Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic this year attracted some of the country’s most experienced anglers chasing $16,000 worth of trophies, including fishing guru Captain Bob Jones who has more than 31 Cairns marlin seasons under his belt. Captain Bob skippered the Champion Boat, the Riviera 56 Enclosed Flybridge The Battler, and said he has had the pleasure of fishing with Susan previously at the Lizard Island Tournament.
“Sue is a very keen angler so it was great to see her win the trophy,” he said. “And once again The Battler performed well with a total of 49 tuna tagged and released over the two-day tournament. Our angler Adrian Bothur tagged and released 18 tuna and was named Champion Male angler.”
Captain Bob said that in 31 years’ experience, the Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic was one of the best-run tournaments in which he had competed.
“The fishing is excellent – everyone caught fish, there was great weather and the tournament itself is always extremely well organised.”
This year, the Tuna Classic attracted 18 boats, including 14 Rivieras and one boat entered with a ladies-only crew, with a total of 324 southern bluefin tuna being caught and released across the two-day tournament. Fish must equal the line weight of 10kg or 780mm in length to qualify.
Event organiser Peter Teakle said the event is a family friendly, professional and world-class game fishing tournament which has become a much-anticipated event in Australia’s tuna capital.
“The popularity of the tournament has grown significantly and it is pleasing to see so many female and junior anglers participating in this Tuna Classic and I thank our sponsors, Riviera, Yamaha, Shimano, Lexus of Adelaide and Club Marine for their continued support and helping us bring the joy of game fishing to the whole family,” Mr Teakle said.
Most of the fish were caught on Day 1 of the tournament in near-perfect weather conditions, with The Battler securing first-day honours of Champion Boat with 47 tuna caught and released, establishing what proved to be an unbeatable lead.
Heavier winds saw the fish go off the bite on Day 2, with the 55ft Viking Spartacus securing second-day Champion Boat honours with 7 tournament-sized tuna. On board Spartacus throughout the tournament was 15-year-old Sam Czabayski, who claimed his first tournament win and the overall Champion Junior Angler title after tagging seven fish. Along with a fantastic trophy, Sam now has bragging rights when he returns to school in Adelaide.
“I’ve been fishing for as long as I can remember with my Grandpa (Rolf) and my Dad (Ralph) but this was a whole lot of fun,” he said. “Mum was also aboard our boat and she won overall Runner-Up in the Champion Female Angler (16 fish).”
Each year the Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic begins at 7.30am with a sail-past at the entrance of Lincoln Cove Marina and, with all the boats in line abreast the start boat, the sounding of the starter’s horn marks the start of the race to Memory Cove … and the fishing then begins at 9am.
Riviera’s director of brand and communications Stephen Milne said the Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic provides a fun way for both seasoned and amateur sports fishing enthusiasts to come together to learn from each other.
“Riviera is proud of its longstanding partnership with Peter Teakle and the Tuna Classic and it is gratifying to see people new to boating take up such a keen interest in fishing. We really must commend Peter on his great enthusiasm and passion to ensure the event is nothing but the best offshore fishing tournament in Australia,” Mr Milne said.
“Riviera has a long-held philosophy of bringing families together to make memories to treasure and this is reflected in this fantastic fishing tournament, through our Experience blue-water cruising events and also through our annual Riviera Festival of Boating which will be held at the home of Riviera, at Coomera on the Gold Coast 21-24 May 2015.
“I’d like to extend an invitation to all owners of luxury motor yachts to come and see how the Festival is helping people gain the confidence and skills to use their boats to their full potential, especially in fishing, with Captain Bob Jones conducting two very popular seminars this year on fishing and offshore seamanship.
“This commitment is all about helping owners of luxury motor yachts to achieve what Riviera likes to call: ‘the ultimate boating experience’.”