The weather forecasts in the week leading into the Shimano WA Open improved progressively, resulting in some welcomed late entries and an air of anticipation at the Thursday evening briefing session. These expectations were expressed in spirited bidding in the Calcutta which later paid off handsomely for the wise boat pickers.

Being a species comp, there were different strategies coming into play with boats from a little over 4m to 13m competing. The exciting shotgun start had Ashram, Short Black and The Cracken getting away from the protected start line with a flourish.

Friday morning broke with a moderate south-easterly wind. Those that went wide had to contend with a strong southerly setting current pushing against the wind creating unpleasant conditions. Towards mid-day the wind settled down and two boats in the northern western quadrant, Balek III and Ashram each were rewarded with blue marlin of 180kg and 130kg being tagged on 37 and 24kg tackle respectively. Other captures during the day were limited to mulloway and samsonfish.

The second day was a day for the light tackle specialists with moderate conditions but generally green water offshore. Striker got amongst skipjack and southern bluefin tuna whilst Dylan Picken picked up a potential world record 10.76kg mulloway on 3kg. Other notable catches were a 53kg yellowfin tuna by Leon Murdock aboard The Cracken, a 36kg yellowfin and a 20kg wahoo from Balek III. Dylan Picken won the second day and was awarded the Jurien Bay Hotel Perpetual Award at the hotel dinner on the Saturday evening.

Typical of the last day in this best two days of three event, some boats were pinned down protecting their already solid scores, with others adopting riskier strategies to get in the race. The Sunday morning dawn start presented short steep seas with the blustery, offshore north easterly wind. Unperturbed, 5.5m boat The Cracken ventured out the 35nm or more in search of clean water and marlin, alas in vain. Meanwhile a posse of some 5 boats concentrated on The Wreck area hoping to raise points while the wind abated.

Taking a counter approach, Striker’s skipper, Deon van der Westhuizen, figured that while it was choppy the most comfortable way to go was to troll for surface species and then drop for the other scoring fish when the weather improved, It paid off with Striker showing up at the weigh station with six tags and fish to weigh. Junior angler Jayden Danielsen aboard Striker caught a potential state and Australian record 7.50kg mulloway on 6kg record and skipper Deon a state record 14.50kg mulloway on 8kg.

The presentation night was very well attended, thanks to those crew who stayed on for it rather than rushing off to Perth. Ashram took off the Champion Boat award which included an invitation to the Offshore World Championships in Costa Rica in 2018.

There was a poignant note amongst the jubilation of the winners with Mark Jarrett’s touching words about the relevance and special meaning of winning the Ivan Erceg award. Mark also won the prestigious Jack Clugston Medal.

Download the Hook-Up newsletters for 7th and 21st April 2017.


Billfish Category
SHIMANO Champion Boat Billfish – Ashram
BLUEWATER TACKLE WORLD Runner-up Boat Billfish – Balek III
1st Boat to tag a Billfish – Balek III
2nd Boat to tag a Billfish – Ashram                  

Species Category
SHIMANO Champion Boat – Striker
Runner-up Champion Boat – Whiskers

Combined Category (includes billfish and species)
SHIMANO Champion Boat Tournament – Ashram
BLUEWATER TACKLE Runner-up Champion Boat Tournament – Striker
SHIMANO Champion Male Angler – Mark Jarrett
ON STRIKE CHARTERS Runner-up Champion Male Angler – Phil Mansell
SHIMANO Champion Female Angler – Albina Zawadka
SHIMANO Champion Junior/Small Fry Angler  – Jayden Danielsen    

Special Awards Category
Best dressed boat at the sail-past – Ashram
Highest point scoring fish (Non billfish or shark)  – Dylan Picken
Jack Clugston Medal – Mark Jarrett
Ivan Erceg Medal – Mark Jarrett
Jurien Bay Hotel Perpetual Trophy – Dylan Picken
Photographic Award – Tom Doyle