The 2008 Riviera NSW Interclub game fishing tournament began on Saturday with a spectacular sailpast of more than 200 boats under bright skies and a massive Riviera flag towed under a helicopter.
The annual tournament is the largest in the southern hemisphere, pitting all NSW game fishing clubs against one another in a teams competition.
Riviera’s new silver hull 48 Offshore Express, Fascination IV, led the fleet that ranged from 18-foot trailer boats to massive 75-foot cruisers. The boats took an hour to pass the wall of the Nelson Bay Marina as hundreds of people watched from the dock.
Riviera’s Director of Brand and Communications, Stephen Milne, said it was very encouraging to see more than 30 Rivieras entered in the tournament.
With winds at more than 25 knots and three metres of swell and one and a half metres of sea on top reported outside the bay, the tournament committee called the first day’s fishing off before the official start.
The President of the NSW Game Fishing Association, Otto Volz, said safety was paramount.
“It is unfortunate that the wind and seas are against us today,” he said. “But the reports are for better condition tomorrow. There are a lot of fish off Port Stephens so it is certain to be an exciting tournament.”
Early reports from the second day, which dawned bright with a lighter west to south-west breeze, were very encouraging. Volz reported 30 marline tagged and released within the first three hours of fishing.