The Bay of Islands Swordfish Club saw a good start to the year at the Harcourt’s Juniors Fishing Tournament held on 2 and 3 January.
The two-day event, which was open to all kids under the age of 16, saw 30 teams and 80 anglers participate, with two tagged marlin from Braden Imms aboard Mazara taking out the Top Male Angler and Top Team awards.
Two striped marlin were tagged: one on the first day, estimating 70kg, and another on the second at an estimated 80kg.
“We spent 15 minutes on what he needed to do if we hooked up by using a bucket attached to one of the rods,” said Shanon Imms, Braden’s father, who was also on-board. “We let it out the back of the boat while still moving to show him how heavy the fish could be and what to do when it was all on. He nailed it, so we thought he will be alright.”
And less than two hours later, it was young Braden’s turn to shine and he nailed it all the way on his own.
“He did everything right and was cool and calm,” said Shanon.
On-board was also Bryce Imms, Braden’s uncle, and Bevin Beauchamp, the skipper.
Shanon adds that the striped marlin was Braden’s first big catch.
“I’ve taken him out before and he has seen them in the gear. When he was 11, we had one going through the spread, but he said it was too big for him and didn’t want to catch it then. This time, he did.”
Shanon says that Braden developed a keen interest in fishing early on.
“Honestly, he had no choice but to come fishing with me over the years. We spend most weekends fishing and diving along the Northland coastline, as we spend a lot of our weekends at Te Ngaere Bay. And it’s only in the last two years, Braden has wanted to chase marlin.”
Braden adds, “I’ve grown up with fishing and boats and I’ve been winding in snapper for as long as I can remember.
“I’m very grateful that I have access to Mazara and Bevan, our skipper, who coached me to wind in the two marlin that we tagged and released.”
The marlin won Braden two awards at the competition. At the prizegiving ceremony, he also won a spot prize for heaviest tuna, as no one had caught a tuna.
“He asked for a redraw,” said Shanon, “as he said he had won a lot with his two tagged marlins. So, they chose another name and the kid that was drawn came and shook Braden’s hand and thanked him. This showed good sportsmanship from both kids.
“It was very quiet on the game fishing front with only two other hookups, but they were dropped. But a lot of snapper, kingfish, and kahawai were caught and some good size ones as well.”
Top Female Angler went to Lindy Rowe aboard Chopper.