40 years of the Dampier Classic

The annual Dampier Classic was run and won at the end of last month.

This popular fishing competition is run by the King Bay Fishing Club and this year included a couple of special guests in renowned lure maker Peter Pakula and leading marine biologist Dr Julian Pepperell.

It was the event’s 40th anniversary and there were plenty of good fish caught, although a strong westerly slowed things down a bit early in the tournament.

Overall, there were 80 fish weighed in by the 80 anglers and 28 boats competing for more than $30,000 worth of prizes, while 94 billfish were tagged, comprised of 85 black marlin and nine sailfish.

There were 197 gamefish tagged in total.

The average size of spanish mackerel was up this year, with fish to 16.2 kilos caught.

billfish lure

Meritorious captures included a pending record 6.8kg gold-spot trevally on 1kg line, a narrow-barred mackerel of 10.3kg on 2kg line, a 15.1kg spaniard on 2kg and a 5kg queenfish on 1kg line.

Kevin Deacon won open heaviest gamefish for a 14.1kg cobia, while junior Jackson Tatham won junior highest point scoring gamefish for a 11.5kg longtail tuna on 2kg line, and also won the junior capture section with six species.

The champion boat tag and release billfish was Whitewash (19 tags), the champion boat tag and release gamefish was Topshelf (40 tags) and the champion boat capture was Raddler, with 13 species.

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The leading male tag and release billfish was Jason Strange, while Audi Gill-Croft took the honours for the ladies.

Dr Pepperell used the event to do some DNA sampling, a process supported by Recfishwest that offers great research benefits, and was pleased to be able to take samples from a large amount of fish.