Sign-ons start at 6:10am and I wanted to be there to promote the Mackerel1000. The 7 day waiting period for entrants would be waived for today’s Glynn Dromey Memorial Spearfishing comp and I expected a few to register. I woke 5 minutes before the alarm at 3:00am. An hour to load the car and boat with prizes, spearing and boat gear and, weigh-in equipment such as laptop, digital scales and fish bags for the contestants. I relaxed over a cup of tea, then into the car for the two hour to drive to Lancelin.
Today would be an event which for the contestants is 12 hours long but for the organizers is an expression of 12 months work. It starts the day after the previous comp. What went well, what didn’t and what can be improved. The post mortem is conducted informally over the subsequent month; a date for next year’s event is set to avoid clashes with other major events then a lull until the month before the next Glynn Dromey Memorial when tasks are assigned, potential sponsors are approached for prizes, forms printed up, promotion of the event, catering, and volunteers for the day. It is a team effort.
I arrive at the sign-on and see cars and boats parked the length of the street. The sun has yet to rise but Dallas has registered quite a few people and has the M1000 forms as well. It’s a good crowd and I see many familiar faces. Comp day; a day for catching up, a day for competing and a day for if onlys. We had 25 pairs register.
The start is under dark skies with a light sou-wester (on-shore) blowing. The forecast is for the wind to swing around to a westerly and increase to 18 knots and the swell remain at 1 metre. Seventeen boats leave the beach, two thirds heading north and the rest of us going south. It’s a bumpy ride as we navigate the inshore reefs on our way to the first “spot”. After a bit of swimming around Graham catches sight of a 10 kilo Dhuie which proves elusive, fortunately as you will see.
I spot a Spanish Mackerel from the surface and to my right. A quick breathe up and parallel dive to 6 metres the fish turns as if interested and then turns away. I fin hard towards it and pull the trigger on what is a long shot and the spear hits low in the gut region. I’m not confident so I allow the line to move between my fingers with minimal pressure and chase the fish at the same time. It tires quickly and as it comes into view I can see the flopper pressing out from under the skin. I dive down and push the spear all the way through, then retrieve the fish. It’s a good start.
Diving a couple more places we get a few more fish but we still need a Dhuie. Graham spots some likely looking ground through the panel and we drop anchor. After 15 minutes he says it’s very fishy and there is a small Dhuie below. I dive down, see a Baldchin Groper and shoot it for the bag. The struggling fish brings out a 6-7kg Dhuie and I let Graham know. In his words, “I dived down looking for the Dhuie you had seen and just as I turned around there was this horse just sitting there. It was much bigger and I didn’t think twice.” On the surface we took many pictures of the fish which would press the scales down to 17.3kgs.
By now the wind had picked up and it was time to head in. The ride was wet and bumpy with the boat getting some hang time. Ron and Steve’s Fraser was on the beach with Aleks and Phil just retrieving their 16R. All looked at me then at their dive watches. I pointed at the chartplotter and my dive watch and gave the thumbs up. We made it back with seconds to spare.
The weigh-in was well attended with 21 pairs entering fish. Nathan and Darren put on hamburgers and hot dogs with salad. Rob was the designated weighmaster with Brad recording the results on a spreadsheet. After a feed and a few drinks the winners were announced and prizes awarded.
First place: Graham Carlisle and Ben Coy with 7 species and 1425.5 points
Second place: Darren Gebbittis and Troy Eggins with 7 species and 1422 pts
Third place: Dallas Dunlop and Andrew Buzzacot with 6 species and 1285 points
Fourth Place: Jack moss and Dave Whitham with 6 species and 1258 points
Junior winners: Brodie Ingram and Callum Edinger
Most meritorious: Graham Gould with a Dhufish of 15.06kg
Mystery prize: Julian Boland.
Thankyou to the sponsors: Neptonics, Muhling Marine, Andre Spearguns, Penetrator fins, Sharkshield, Aimrite, Adreno, Gage Roads and OneBreath Diving.
Thankyou to support staff: Dallas Dunlop, Nathan McMurdo, Rob Higgs, Darren Walker, Aleks Ceklic, Brad Melville, Dave Stickland and Graham Gould.
And finally, thankyou to the weather gods.