PORT LINCIOLN, SOUTH AUSTRALIA – Harry Czabayski has game fishing in his blood. At just eight years old, he won the Champion Smallfry category of the 2019 Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic held in the Southern Ocean waters off Port Lincoln in western South Australia on Saturday 23 March and Sunday, 24 March.
It was the third win in successive years for the young champion.
“Harry gave up the chance to attend his friend’s birthday party over the weekend to compete,” said mother Susan. “He is so committed that he continued fishing on the Sunday despite increasingly rough seas until ‘lines out’ was called at midday.”
His dedication is not surprising. Susan won the Overall Champion Angler category in this year’s tournament after winning the Champion Female last year. Harry’s brother, Sam, won Heaviest Fish last year. The boys’ father is a regular competitor in big game fishing tournaments around Australia and the world.
The 2019 Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic saw one of the closest results in its 13-year history with two categories ending in a tie – Champion Boat Over Eight Metres and Runner-up Female Angler.
Rob Swincer skippered Saltiga, a Riviera 45 Open Flybridge, to tie for Champion Boat Over 8 Metres with Andrew Farrer’s Catfish.
Emma Forster aboard Risky Business and Renee Martin on Justagirl Too each caught and released five fish to tie for Runner-up Female in the Under Eight Metres category.
The tournament attracted 22 boats including 12 Rivieras. The anglers caught and released 180 southern bluefin tuna in the sustainable fishing event over the two days.
“It was a fantastic tournament,” said Rob Swincer. “We have competed five times for two wins, a second and a third place.
“My wife Angela had an amazing tournament. It was her first. She has been out on Saltiga with me many times but never in a tournament. She won the Best Photo and also runner-up Female Angler with six fish caught and released.
“We found a massive school of tuna at fishing grounds west of Williams Island late on Saturday. We stayed out overnight, close to the fishing ground, but could not quite overtake the Risky Business team for the overall win. Next year!
“The presentations on Sunday evening were incredible. The food was amazing and the organisation was superb. I can’t say enough in praise of the organisers Russell Bianco and Gabriella Gabbana. This was their first year running the event and it went like clockwork.”
Andy Cameron, skipper of Riviera 51 Open Flybridge Kraken, echoed Rob Swincer’s remarks.
“It was a great tournament,” he said. “This was the third time I have entered. I spent most of the time at the helm but did manage a stint on the rod. One of our anglers, Mark Pierce, had never caught a tuna and he hooked the biggest fish of the tournament! That was really exciting. Taking home the large Calcutta prize added to the enjoyment.”
Tournament founder Peter Teakle this year handed “rod and line” control of the tournament to local Riviera owners and fishing enthusiasts Russell and partner Gabriella.
Riviera Dealer Development and Sales Manager David Thorpe was on board for the tournament and said: “Russell and Gabriella are fantastic organisers so the future of this great tournament is in fine hands.”
Russell and Gabriella were delighted with the results of the tournament.
“Everyone seemed to enjoy the entire event,” said Russell. “We ran the tournament from on board our Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge Majesnik so were right at the heart of the action throughout the two days.
“We are already planning for next year’s event and have a number of ideas we want to introduce to make it even more fun and exciting.”
Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst said: “Our entire Riviera team is proud to support this great sustainable fishing tournament and sincerely thank Russell and Gabriella for an outstanding effort in their first year at the helm. We are delighted, of course, that more than half the fleet this year were Rivieras.”
Champion heaviest fish: Andy Cameron, Kraken – 15.9kg fish
Overall champion boat: Risky Business, skipper David Buckland – 23 fish
Overall champion angler: Susan Czabayski, Spartacus – 11 fish
Vessels over 8 metres
Champion boat: (TIE) Saltiga, skipper Rob Swincer and Catfish, skipper Andrew Farrer – 20 fish each
Champion female angler: Susan Czabayski, Spartacus – 11 fish
Champion male angler: Shane Hodgerson, Anger Management – 9 fish
Runner up female angler: Angela Swincer, Saltiga – 6 fish
Runner up male angler: Andrew Farrer, Catfish – 8 fish
Vessels under 8 metres
Champion boat: Risky Business, skipper David Buckland – 23 fish
Champion male angler: Tom Pietch, Risky Business – 10 fish
Champion female angler: Tracey Tito, Justagirl – 8 fish
Runner up male angler: Dan, Reel Salty – 3 fish
Runner up female angler: Emma Forster, Risky Business, Renee Martin, Justagirl Too – 5 fish each
Champion smallfry angler: Harry Czabayski, Spartacus – 2 fish
First fish caught: David Buckland, Risky Business