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Ah the Ravings of an Old Crazy Bear !

Club Secretary Robin Banks has been doing a bit of reading research into some of the history of Gamefishing in Tasmania and put the following together.

A Brief History of Game Fishing in Tasmania!
The following is compiled using words from a book by Jack Pollard’s Fishing Australia, published 1986 by Angus & Robertson
The history of tuna fishing in Tasmania goes back 145 years, as there is a record of a large “tunny” having been brought ashore and weighed at Triabunna in 1869. February 1954 an incomplete fish (“tunny” I presume) was washed ashore at Cloudy Bay, Bruny Island, Measurements were taken and the C.S.I.R.O experts estimated it to weigh about 385 kg.
In 1938 , having heard tales of large tuna on the East coast , pioneer Game Fisherman Reg Lynne , chartered and equipped a boat to operate from the port of St Helens , where he and his party captured several school size bluefin to 18 kg , but failed to take any large bluefin . At the same Bern Cuthbertson who operated Weerutta 11 from Fortescue Bay and his friend Bill Ritchie, decided to catch large tuna using crash lines made from heavy cord with a wire trace, they used bike tubes as shock absorbers. They caught fish over 45 kg, with the heaviest being a 100 kg tuna caught by Bill Ritchie in 1953. It was in 1951 that the late Dr George Robbie and some of his friends in George’s boat Sea Flyer decided to catch bluefin using rod and reel, in the following three years their captures were so impressive that mainland game fisherman became interested and following a visit from Tom Bell, then President of the GFAA, the TGFA was formed. The first fish fell to the rod of its Secretary Ian Cutler in June 1956 weighing in at 70 kg. The 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960 Season’s saw some outstanding captures made in the early years of the sport, and the record books were slowly starting to fill with magnificent captures. Highlights being , Ian Cutler 96 kg bluefin , Tom Mitchell 63 kg bluefin , Dolly Dyer 67 kg bluefin , George Miedeke 90 kg bluefin & Bill Stewart (vic) 110 kg bluefin . From the early days a convention was established for the angler who caught a 45 kg + fish to present a bottle of whiskey to his skipper , as the fish became scarcer and the angler more delighted , one bottle per 45 kg was donated . As a result bluefin caught in Tasmania are referred to as a bottle fish.
For decades high hopes have been held that marlin would be taken on the Tasmanian east coast. Numerous authenticated billfish sightings have been made over the years , all of them with the exception of a 540 kg black marlin washed ashore dead on the north west coast in 1961, identified mistakenly then as broadbill swordfish . In 1972 a partly incapacitated blue marlin was caught in Storm Bay and was estimated to weigh about 550 kg. A broadbill was observed in a fight with a mako shark south of Tasman Island in 1958, another was observed in a fight with a mako shark in Munroe Bight in 1961 and was taken headless aboard a game fishing boat. In both instances the broadbill was killed by the mako.
A broadbill was taken by a shore fisherman at Four Mile Creek near Falmouth in April 1966, and another was taken by a commercial fisherman wide of Bicheno in June 1967, this fish was presented to the TCT by its captor and weighed 100 kg, Tom Jenkins made a fibreglass model of it. In March 1969, north of Strahan a commercial fisherman caught a broadbill of 165 kg, the head and bill were donated to the TCT also.
The first Tasmanian marlin was eventually caught by Keith Jessup, 30th March 1969, with a 134.70 kg striped marlin aboard his vessel Sea Rover 11 wide of Schouten Island in 21 degrees C water. The first Tasmanian marlin record was Toby Lyall’s 154.67 kg striped marlin in Feb 1976.
In 1960 the activities of the TGFA declined and in 1961 the TCT was formed which has its headquarters in Hobart (P.O. Box 507 Sandy Bay), The TCT has been active from that date and ultimately incorporated the TGFA.
Foot note: - I think that in the 50’s it was known as the Tasmanian Game Fishing Club and was only later reformed as the TGFA when the Club’s started to form! Which would help the final few lines make sense!

P O Box 507, Sandy Bay - Tasmania (TAS) Australia
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