Entries are filling quickly for the richest game fishing tournament in South Australia, the 2019 Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic to be held in the Southern Ocean waters off Eyre Peninsula.
Tournament Director Russell Bianco said entries for the tournament this year will be capped at 30 boats.
The Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic is a specialist tag-and-release tournament focussed on southern blue fin tuna in Southern Ocean waters off the tip of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
The tournament has attracted two all-female crews in Team Justagirl this year.
The leader of Team Justagirl, Tracey Tito, said the seven women were looking forward to “taking it up to the men” this year.
“We won our category the first time we competed four years ago,” said Tracey. “The enthusiasm for game fishing among women in and around Port Lincoln has been so great that we are fielding two boats this year.
“While we compete strongly, the camaraderie among all the crews is fantastic in this tournament,” she said. “We know that everyone is looking out for one another on the water and the evenings are always great fun.”
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.
“Russell and Gabriella are fantastic organisers so the future of this great tournament is in fine hands,” said Mr Teakle.
The tournament begins with the official welcome, briefing and Calcutta at The Marina Hotel in Port Lincoln at 6pm on Friday, March 22.
“Last year the winner took home the Calcutta prize pool of $24,000,” said Russell. “This year we expect to exceed that amount, plus 35 hand-crafted trophies across 17 competition categories valued at more than $16,000.”
The tournament will again include Junior Male and Female and Small Fry categories as well as Heaviest Fish.
Russell Bianco said: “We are proud that Riviera continues to be our major partner in the tournament. The premier luxury motor yacht builder has been with us since the beginning. R Marine South Australia, our Riviera dealership, is also a long-term supporter. This year Garmin has joined us, providing three sports watches to the prize pool and we are also supported by Peter Teakle Wines, Shimano and the Iron Jack beer brand.
“We will again donate 10 percent of our Calcutta pool to the Tumby Bay VMR which has provided vital support for our teams each year.”
Russell will manage the tournament on the water aboard his Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge, Majesnik.
Competition begins with a shotgun start at 8am on Saturday, 23 March, with “lines out” to be called at 3pm on Sunday, 24 March.
“This year the competitors will not call their final catches over the radio,” said Russell. “We will keep the winner secret until the announcement at the presentation. Team captains this year need to text or phone in their final number after lines-out on Sunday afternoon.”
The Presentation Dinner this year will be at the Port Lincoln Hotel.
“Peter Teakle has kindly hosted us at the Line and Label Restaurant in past years,” said Russell Bianco. “Now we have grown to the extent that we require more space for the anglers and crew to attend the presentation and dinner.”
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