Coffs Harbour Report: March 2010 by Mark Kallman

Weird Weather

We returned from north Queensland to a rain soaked Coffs Harbour with lots of sad and disgruntled spearos. The odd weather was being talked about by everyone. Then we started to have some respite and get a few diving days in, as the middle of the month approached. Toward the end of the month, Cyclone Ului made an unwelcomed appearance in the area we had visited in Queensland and started moving south. The concern was that the cyclone would push in massive seas toward the end of the month.

Fish

The news of mackerel both Spanish and Spotted was doing the rounds. Many commercials and recreational boys were getting full bags day after day. Sorry, but I still cannot fathom how one recreational fisher can use 10 mackerel every day, this just smacks of relentless greed. In any case, the spearos were starting to bump into mackerel, a little more frequently, which was boding well for the Classic. In the weeks leading up to the Classic, things started to really go off. It seemed that a calm band of settled weather was being pushed ahead of the cyclone and we enjoyed some of the best diving weather that we have seen in a long time. There were schools of massive yellowtail, big cobia and lots of mackerel all along our coast. The viz ranged between 15 and 30m and the sea stayed warm and settled. There were reports of marlin sightings, yellowfin tuna and dolphinfish out wide. For some obscure reason, the powers that be, deemed it sensible to remove the FADs, just when the great weather arrived. Bureaucracy just never ceases to disappoint me.

Club events

The same symptoms that plague all clubs, plagues our club. A general apathy seems to pervade everyone whenever a club meeting is held and this extends to people standing for club positions too. The committee from last year was unanimously elected to fill the same positions this year and I think I would not be out of place in assuming the same will happen if allowed to, next year. In an attempt to encourage a more active participation in club meetings, we are trying to conduct as much of the normal meeting business by email and use club meetings as a more informal information evening. The most recent meeting saw Scott Amon, a well respected snapper fisherman and journalist; discuss the latest developments and use of GPS and Sonar. It was a very informative evening and I think the idea of educating and informing members will be our goal in future meetings.

2010 Australian Bluewater Freediving Classic

Coffs Harbour Bluewater Freedivers were the proud organizers and hosts of this the 16th Classic. For a change we had spectacular conditions with warm, clear, slight seas for the entire weekend. 68 divers participated in the event which allows for both rock-hopping and boat diving, but has been dominated by boat divers in its history. Some great fish were landed viz. 34kg Cobia (Prodigal Son) by Shayne Morris, a 17.3kg Spanish (Couta) by Darcy Wright, who also won the Grand Masters division, 31kg Jewfish (Kob) taken by Brian Hackett on a rock-hop! I was fortunate enough to get the largest Kingfish (Cape Yellowtail) 18.1kg and the largest Tuna, a Mack Tuna (Kawakawa) of 6.26kg. Michael Featherstone, my dive buddy, was awarded the Committee's Choice for his 7.6kg Spotted Mackerel which was just 0.2kg shy of the NSW State record.  In a new twist to the organization, many sponsors did not want to see their gear go to divers who are adequately kitted and instead requested that the prizes be awarded on a lucky draw basis. With so many competitions having prizes given in such a manner that they overlap and one participant walking away with a massive haul, each diver that qualified for a prize only got one prize, irrespective of how many divisions or categories they had won. The vast majority of prizes were awarded on a lucky draw basis with nearly everyone getting something.

The final list of placings is as follows:

1          COOKE, Alastair
2          NINNESS, Peter
3          CARTER, Warren
4          FARMER, Chris
5          VEITCH, Paul
6          RUSHWORTH, Kelvin
7          KALLMAN, Mark
8          POWELL, Ray
9          DJURASEVICH, Adriana
10        BARONET, Richard
11        CRISMALE, Craig
12        ERIKSSON, Jarod
13        DORFSTATTER, Paul
14        HACKETT, Brian
15        ERIKSSON, Allan
16        STONEHAM, Clinton
17        ARMOUR, Neil
18        MARTIN, Shayne
19        FEATHERSTONE, Michael
20        SHAW, John
21        SCHULTER, Ryan
22        WRIGHT, Lenny
23        BYE, Bradley
24        BOTES, Frans
25        WELCH, David
26        MATHER, Colin
27        FALLS, Jared
28        MARTIN, Andrew
29        WARD, Justin
30        FLANAGAN, Geoffrey
31        SCHULTER, John
32        KENNEDY, Nathan
33        ARNOTT, Grant
34        HICKS, Rod
35        RANDELL, Luke
36        MALLETT, Ian
37        WRIGHT, Darcy
38        VEITCH, Tom
39        WILLIAMS, Dean
40        BATISTE, Luke
41        ARNOTT, Brad
42        FOWLER, Steven
43        DAVISON, Michael
44        INNOCEND, Mitchell
45        FALLS, Aaron
46        NOLAN, Isaac
47        BALNAVE, Ryan
48        BURROWS, Michael
49        RITCHIE, Alex
50        DONOHOE, Anthony
51        SAKKER, James
52        BIENFELT, Kurt
53        BROOKES, Mark
54        GRIFFITHS, Trevor
55        SCANLON, Patrick
56        MORRIS, Scott
57        MAY, Austin
58        FARRAH, Joshua
59        GEORGE, Benjamin
60        GERRARD, Alex
61        HUNTER, Ken
62        JONES, Paul
63        KEYS, Paul
64        McGRATH, Scott
65        O'DEA, Rohan
66        SEIVER, Carl
67        UNTERRHEINER, Aaron

The success of this event would not have been possible without the support of the following sponsors:

Adina Watches
Adreno Spearfishing Supplies
Aquanaut
Barry Andrewartha, Omer, Immersion
Beach Street Holiday Apartments
Brett Vercoe
Cape Byron Imports
Chandlery
Extreme, Cressi & Omer
Fishing Tackle Australia
High Tech Marine
James Sakker & Spear Oz
John Hennessey
Legendary Skindiving Equipment & Paul Dorfstatter
Michael Featherstone & Dive Shack
Mick Koster Floats
Ocean Front Brasserie & Deep Sea Fishing Club
Oceanic, Rob Allen, Aeris
Peter Kesby & Kes Spearguns
Picasso
Ray Powell & DiveR
Ray Whitton
Riffe Australia
Sea Hornet
Seonel
Ski Kayak Centre & Viking Kayaks
Spearfishing Downunder Magazine
Sterling Leisure
Superfrog Enterprises
Undersee Australia Spearfishing
Woolgoolga Beach Caravan Park
Woolgoolga Local Liquor
Woolgoolga RSL