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Lizard Island Australia 2015


29th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic

Angler Sharon Poulter battling a black marlin aboard Think Big
Photo courtesy of Kelly Dalling Fallon


29th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic

Kekoa's estimated 181 kg (400 lb) black marlin
Photo courtesy of Kelly Dalling Fallon

29th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic

Chip Van Mols sat tags black marlin for team Kekoa
Photo courtesy of Kelly Dalling Fallon

Lizard Island, Australia 2015 Race Update

MAY 2016 -- Two days after the New Year and after recording data for 40 days, the tag on Fish 11 popped up 168 nm south of the tagging location, about 5 nm off the coast of Magnetic Island. You can see from the track, available on the race webpage, that the fish paralleled the coast before swimming inshore when the tag popped up - a total distance we estimate to be close to 272 nm.

One week later on January 10, after just 50 days on the black, the tag on Fish 10 surfaced a whopping 1,319 nautical miles away from where it was deployed! Although it was tagged just two days and nearby Fish 11, this fish made its way offshore immediately, and recorded a total estimated distance of 1,656 nm.

On February 8 and after recording data for 110 days, the tag on Fish 1 popped up southeast of Choiseul Island, 806 nm away from where it was tagged. As evident by the track, Fish 1 swam northeast to PNG, where it spent a lot of time before moving along the coastline towards the Solomon Sea where the tag popped off. We estimate the total distance swam by Fish 1 to be 1,884 nautical miles!

The tag on Fish 3 was the next to report on March 26, 431 nm southeast from where it was tagged, after recording data for 155 days on the black marlin. Once the data is finished transmitting, a track will be available on the race page.

On April 4, the tag on Fish 5 surfaced to take the lead in the race! The tag popped up a remarkable 1,805 linear nm away from where it was deployed, about 200 nm away from Fiji. As with Fish 3, the track for Fish 5 will be available on the race page shortly.

Our partners at Stanford University have confirmed that there were no indications of predation with these premature releases. With the exception of Fish 5 where the tag pin broke, the releases are likely pullouts or possible leader failures, but from the data, it is impossible to distinguish between the two. It's also good to keep in mind that it's possible for a tag to work its way out of the fish, over time, from drag forces on the tag when the fish is swimming, especially during burst swimming events. A premature release is not necessarily an indication that the tag wasn't deployed properly, but rather a common issue in keeping tags in marlin for extended periods of time. That being said, the amount of time recorded so far has been nothing short of phenomenal, and we can't wait to hear back from Fish 2, 6, 7, 8 whose tags are due to report in June and July. 

Lizard Island, Australia 2015 Race Start

JANUARY 2016 -- Although the fishing was tough on the reef during the Great Northern 29th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic, ten satellite tags were deployed for the 2015 Lizard Island, Australia IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) during and in the weeks following the week-long tournament on October 17-24, 2015. This year, all of the tags were most generously sponsored by Peter Teakle who has been a steadfast supporter of the IGFA Great Marlin Race and the Black Marlin Classic for four continuous years now.

The first satellite tag was deployed on the fourth day of fishing on October 21, 2015 by J. Riggs on an estimated 68 kg (150 lb) black marlin after a quick fight with angler Graeme Whiticker aboard On Site with Captain D. Beech. Around noon the following day, angler Josh Eggins reeled in an estimated 380 kg (838 lb) black while fishing with Athaldo Alan Geale. Tagger Colin Grimes described the marlin as being in "great condition" as it swam away with the second satellite tag of the race. The following morning and sixth day of fishing on October 23, 2015, angler Sharon Poulter hooked an estimated 45 kg (99 lb) black that she quickly fought and brought alongside the boat before Luke Bell deployed the third satellite tag of the race on the marlin. Think Big Captain Laurie Wright wrote on the data sheet that the fish was released in "excellent condition".

On October 28, 2015, four days after the tournament concluded, Greg Davison deployed the fourth satellite on an estimated 386 kg (850 lb) black marlin caught by angler Graham Darby aboard Zulu with Captain Casey Dent. Unfortunately, the tag reported two days later, roughly 13 nautical miles from where the fish was tagged.

The following day on October 29, 2015, angler Jada Holt fought an estimated 181 kg (400 lb) black marlin while fishing aboard Kekoa with Captain Luke Fallon. Jada's father, Chip Van Mols, tagged the marlin with the fifth tag of the race and released it in "tip-top condition".

Four days later on November 2, 2015, T. Carpenter placed the sixth tag of the race on an estimated 113 kg (250 lb) black after it was quickly caught by angler Emma Atkinson while fishing with Hellraiser 2 Captain Steve Ahlers. Two days later while fishing aboard Viking II, angler Gee Soh reeled in an estimated 318 kg (700 lb) black marlin that tagger Glenn Johnston released with the seventh tag of the race.

On November 6, 2015, the eighth satellite tag was deployed on an estimated 454 kg (1000 lb) black marlin after angler Dave Hawkeswood fought the grander for about eight minutes. According to Kalira Captain Ashley Wallis, the marlin was released in "great condition". The following afternoon,  Grant Harrison was fishing aboard Levante with Captain Chris "Sharky" Miles when he caught an estimated  68 kg (150 lb) black marlin that Connor Lynch tagged and released "in good condition". Unfortunately, the tag reported the following day just one nautical mile away from where it was deployed.

Two weeks later while fishing aboard Ultimate Lady with Captain Tom Francis, angler Chris Stephenson fought an estimated 159 kg (350 lb) fish for 15 minutes before Jeremy Bapte released the black marlin with the tenth tag in the race. Two days later on November 23, 2015, Amokura Captain Brett Goetze placed the eleventh and final satellite tag on an estimated 136 kg (300 lb) black.

Of the eleven tags deployed on black marlin, ten are currently still on marlin and actively collecting data. The tags are due to pop off the marlin in mid-June through mid-July 2016. In the meantime, please stay tuned to the race page where all updates to the 2015 Lizard Island, Australia IGMR will be posted.