Got some questions about the tournament? First have a quick look through our frequently asked questions to see if we’ve covered it already. Click on the question and you’ll see the answer. Otherwise, please contact us and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Brickbats & Bouquets

This has been a common query over the years!
It involves the status of the fish caught by juniors and how they relate to champion boat points.
The champion boat points are allocated from the three heaviest fish of each species weighed during the tournament, irrespective of whether they are caught by a senior or junior angler. 5 points for heaviest, 3 for 2nd and 1 for third.
The boat Max scored a total of 4 points which came from the 2nd & 3rd heaviest Mulloway. The juniors on board “Max” had other prize winning fish in the juniors section but other boats had larger fish overall.
eg. Tylan Maxwell on “Max” had the heaviest junior Drummer at 1.584 kg, however there were five other Drummer recorded, ranging from 1.719 kg to 2.783 kg.
The boat points for Drummer went to:
“Divert” 5 points 2.783 kg
“Tinnie” 3 points 2.345 kg
“Theresa” 1 point 2.258 kg
The important thing to remember is that there are three fish only of each species that are awarded points for champion boat.
I hope this clears it up.
I did ask John to clarify this during the presentation because we have had other queries over the years. John did mention it but very briefly.

Congratulations & thanks for the kind words.
See you next year. Maybe in your new Polycraft / Evinrude outfit.

Thanks for the kind words. We were lucky with the weather and the tournament seems to attract a wonderful group of like minded people out to enjoy the weekend.
Saturdays crowd decision to continue the lucky draws in the rain sums up the attitude. Everyone was happy to stay out in the rain (except of course Gary Miller who got stuck with holding the speaker system 240v wires up out of the water).


Gday there , I have fished a few TBFT’s and was lucky enough to get to Hakula Lodge in Tonga last year through being in the comp. I will be up there again this year and have a suggestion that may save organisers and participants alot of time and effort. My idea is that the TBFT nominate a mobile phone number which would be manned by someone around the weigh master or tally board so that when an angler is out fishing and they catch a fish that they think may be worth weighing they give the mobile a quick call to see what has been weighed for that species to determine whether it is worthwhile to get back to weigh it or not. You could just get a prepaid phone card whack it in an phone and it could take anglers enquiries at no cost to the TBFT. The phone number could be included in the boat bag given out. This would save alot of fish being brought in to be weighed when there are already weighed fish in the top three places for that species so it would be a waste of everyone’s time in getting them in to be weighed and the less fish having to be weighed for no result would make life easier for the guys on the scales as well. It also might see a few more fish released as well as not everyone has an adequate way of keeping them alive. This idea dawned on me a few comps ago when we had a semi decent flatty and made a long run to weigh it only to find out it was a long way from the mark to make an impression on the board. If we could’ve given someone a quick call to get an update of what flattys had been weighed would have seen the fish released, we wouldve had more fishing time and the TBFT staff wouldnt have to bother weighing extra fish. Best Regards CRAIG BEENCKE

Hi Craig,
Congratulations on your win last year. Jeff & Janine are wonderful hosts and feedback from all our trip winners over the years is that the fishing is A1++.

Top idea. I’ll put it to the team at Shoal Bay Fishing Club – they actually run the tournament.

This tournament was originally designed & formatted to minimize fish kills, and has been used by a number of other tournaments as a guide to best practice. These days we try to have the big tank when budgets allow (it’s very expensive) on site to allow easy release of fish by anglers.

To give you an idea of catch rates, I’m pretty sure that in 2008 we weighed under 250 fish in total. That’s for over 1000 anglers in 3 days. If you include the number of live fish weighed & then released, the catch rate for the tournament fishing effort is insignificant. I’m also sure that many families enjoy a healthy fish meal after the tournament, as all the capture species are good eating.


Entry Fees

The Club Marine Trailer Boat Fishing Tournament will not be cancelled or postponed.

If you think it is too rough to go out in your boat then stay onshore. Your safety is your responsibility to your family, your crew, their families, and everyone else (like all future competitors) who will be adversely affected by you making a bad decision and getting into trouble.

Even if the weather is too bad to go fishing, the registration / briefing will be held on Thursday night, the competitor BBQ on Saturday, and the Main Presentation on the Sunday. In the event of foul weather these events will be held at the Police Boys Club (7 Austral St Nelson Bay).

We purchase a lot of the prizes, commit to a number of sponsors, purchase a large amount of clothing, commit to catering and refreshments, plus commit to supporting a number of community organizations and charities. At the end of the day there’s not a lot of the entry fees left by the time the tournament is finished.

One of the biggest things we stress at the briefing is that competitors are responsible for their own (and their crews) safety. If you are not confident of the offshore weather conditions or forecast, then fish inshore. If you are not comfortable with the inshore conditions either then stay ashore. Going out in a boat is one of life’s grand adventures, and staying within your safe working capabilities is one of your main responsibilities. None of us want more and more limitations, rules, and laws thrust upon us, so the best thing to do is boat safely.

The weekend is meant to be an enjoyable weekend away with family & friends, and we’re not fighting for sheep stations or world domination. Nothing would spoil that for more everyone than people going fishing in conditions that they can get into trouble in. It’s not only uncomfortable for all aboard and nerve wracking for those left ashore, it can be downright dangerous and ruin lives.

The great news is that even if we can’t or don’t want to fish on the weekend there’s still a great BBQ on Saturday with lots of Lucky Draw prizes on Sunday. We do not take any of the prizes back. Therefore, in a perverse way, the less fish caught the more chances people have of winning a prize.

Always remember, safety is your responsibility and you’re there to have a great time. Swimming around a swamped boat hoping your mate is somewhere safe and the Water Police will arrive soon is not part of that fun.

The good common sense of our competitors over the years means we have a perfect safety record and managed to keep the rules simple. Let’s keep it that way.


Hi Tony,

I’d like to see marlin removed and Whiting added! Flathead weighed in live!

Thanks for the opportunity to have a say.

Craig Astley

Hi Craig,

I’ll speak to the guys about whiting. Good idea.

With the flathead, the vast majority of them are weighed alive as a matter of course, especially the larger ones.

The point-scoring system actually works very well and despite all the anglers we only weigh in between 150 & 180 fish each tournament – many of these live & released.



Hi Tony,

I with my young son have fished the trailer boat for the last 2 years and find it a very enjoyable comp to be apart of. The effort the Shoal Bay club provide in helping out makes everything run smoothly despite the obvious obstacles placed against you this year.

I, as a father feel I need to provide some feedback regarding the distribution of prizes to junior and senior competitors.

My son Xavier won the prize for the biggest snapper in the junior devision and that absolutely made his weekend.

Based on this I saw a lot of disappointed juniors miss out on a prize and another junior walk away with 12 fishing rods, back packs etc. ( you know who I’m talking about) My suggestion for future years to make it fairer would be you can only win 1 prize per category not all 3. That way more juniors/ seniors who caught a fish in a certain category would have a chance at a reward.

The look on some peoples faces (including juniors) watching the same junior repeatedly collect prizes was not great.

Please don’t take this email as being negative because as I stated from the start my son and I had a great time.

Kindest Regards, Mathew.

Hi Mathew,

Need all the feedback we can get. Not afraid of change and always looking for improvement.

Xaviers snapper was a fish any angler would be proud to catch.

On the matter of prize distribution I agree with you 100%. I think some kids (or is it their parents?) can totally forget what the spirit of the competition is all about. We don’t seem to have the same issue with Seniors.

Working hard to build up the numbers of people, particularly families attending so action on this may help. Will forward to the Shoal Bay Fishing Club guys & see if we can come up with a workable solution that doesn’t complicate the rules. We’ve managed to work with the virtually the same rules for over 20 years now.

Cheers, Tony.


Hi Tony,

You normally have a boat giveaway as part of the prizes but no boat this year.  Will there be one next year? N.B. really enjoyed ourselves anyway but found that unusual. Ian.

Hi Ian,

We can only give away the prizes that sponsors provide us & those we have the budget to buy. On the income side, many sponsors have cut back on their involvement and all have cut back any cash contributions. On the expense side, there are ever increasing amounts paid to Port Stephens Council for the park hire and insurance costs to name a couple of the major fixed costs. All in all, it’s quite a budget squeeze. For the Tournament to survive, it needs to be financially viable, and this year it wasn’t. The poor weather and subsequent big drop in competitor numbers plus sponsor cut backs really hurt.

In the case of the boat, motor, trailer packages, for the past number of years BRP (Evinrude) has assisted us and we’ve had to buy the boats & trailers from Savage. This year, BRP changed its distribution network and Telwater (owners of Savage) are now the Evinrude motor & parts distributors in Australia. Unfortunately, we could not come to an agreement with them in time for this years event.

On the positive side, we welcomed a number of new sponsors this year including c4 Industries / Rock Oil, Hope Wine Group, Life Cell Marine and Thou Walla Sunset Retreat so the news is not all bad.

We’re already addressing these factors to build competitor numbers and sponsors for 2018 as we’d all like the Tournament’s 25th Birthday to be a huge success and a pointer to the event thriving towards its 50th birthday party.    

Cheers, Tony.


d’Albora Marina Nelson Bay is very close and handy to Tournament Base so it’s a perfect spot if you don’t want to go through the hassle of taking your boat in and out of the water each day. The facilities are top class and there are a range of eateries and marine services on-site.   d’Albora Marina Nelson Bay website

d’Albora Marinas usually have TBFT packages available and most years offer fuel discounts to Competitors. Phone: 02 4984 1333 to book.


You pick them up when you register at the tournament.

You can change crew names when you register at the tournament to pick up your Boat Bags & Angler ID cards. Please remember that for all lucky draws the registered angler must be the one who comes up to collect the prize. Prof of ID may be requested and presenting someone elses ticket means disqualifiction from the tournament.

When entering online the process is:

  1. Have a valid credit card, boat details, and crew details all handy.
  2. Select the number of senior & junior anglers on your boat.
  3. Select the t-shirt sizes, caps, and any other merchandise available.
  4. Input the credit card holders details & a password
  5. Pay for your entry.
  6. After payment a receipt will be emailed to you (make sure your email address is a valid one for this to work)
  7. There will be an “Order Number” on the receipt. Please quote this “Order Number” in all correspondance.
  8. You will then be transferred to a page that allows you to input all your boat and crew details.
  9. Entry complete.

The easiest way at this stage is to fax or email me the details of the extra entries on your boat with clear reference to the Boat Name, Skippers Name, and Order Number on your receipt for the initial online payment. The entries are coming through thick and fast and we’re busily in-putting them into our database.

The way the site is made you do need a boat name for us to process the order. It is one of the ways that makes it easy for us to identify you & your crew.

Only one angler from each boat needs to be present and that angler can sign for the boats anglers ID Cards and any clothing that has been ordered. .
There will be three registration lines, based on alphabetical order of boat names (eg A-K, L-S,T-Z) with clothing available after you’ve picked up your ID Cards.
Shoal Bay Fishing Club will also have clothing on sale at the tournament but please remember that sizes and quantities will be limited.

Rules & Points

The mackerel tuna (Euthynnus affinis), also known as the little tuna, belongs to the family Scombridae which includes the mackerels, tunas and bonitos. It is a widespread pelagic species found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific.
Therefore, it is included.

Most tagged gets 5 points, 2nd most gets 3 points, and 3rd most 1 point. In the event of a tie, it is broken by the time the first tag card gets presented at the weigh station (Note: not time of tagging).

Bream are the only compulsory live-weigh species in the Club Marine Trailer Boat Fishing Tournament. All others are optional at the anglers choice. Having said that, we weigh in many live fish including flathead during the Tournament. After weighing these are released into the big-tank and after the tournament back into the estuary. The possession limits are a natural barrier to larger fish being taken in large quantities (visit http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/regulations/sw/sw-bag-and-size). We’ve never had a problem handling larger flathead (they are a naturally hardy species).

On an average year we only weigh in a total of around 160 fish including many that are live and then released. Therefore there is no real issue given the angler numbers (usually around 1,000), days fished (3), and species spread (14) on angler effort / catch basis.

Please see the rules page. These have evolved over the 22 years of the Tournament and seem to work very well for all stakeholders.

No worries with the jet ski (or kayak or canoe) as long as it meets the rules. See ‘Boat Eligibility’ on the Tournament Rules page.

Yes, as long as his bag limit is within the Fisheries bag limit regulations. That’s where care needs to be taken. We’ve discussed this a number of times over the years and can’t see any reason to change it.

You are most definitely welcome to enter. The key word is capable.
Under these rules, even roof-topper Kayaks or boats kept in the water are eligible to enter.

Bream are considered a premium fish in the tournament and we’ve always found that the biggest bream tend to come from ‘gun anglers’ who tend to have good facilities to keep live fish in good condition onboard. Bream are also a hardy fish and relatively easy to keep alive in a tank with an aerator and occasional fresh water. There is plenty of information available on making or buying a simple tank to keep fish alive for long periods. I’m sure your local tackle dealer would be happy to help you with a suitable kit.
Please refer to the Tournament Rules for the correct weigh station opening times.
For over 15 years we have run a 3 day fishing tournament for over 1,000 competitors while weighing in less than 200 fish per year on average. This is actually one of the most ‘fish friendly’ tournaments in Australia and often used as a model.

The tournament has the necessary Marine Parks permits. You still need to have fishing license, etc and abide by the marine park boundaries as gazette. Marine Parks will be supplying guides that will be put into each boat bag and it is up to individuals to comply.

When we chose the species, we needed to be mindful of the anglers who fish in the tournament (many families with children & non tournament scene regulars) plus which species are most likely to be caught in the area during the tournament. Tailor, Luderick, and Black Drummer fit the profile and are all readily caught from trailerboats. We also need to balance the range of species with estuary angling and offshore angling in mind to allow the smaller inshore boats an equal chance of winning against the larger offshore capable boats.
If things change in the future and these species become more readily available then they may be introduced. Nothing is written in concrete.

Hopefully I can answer your questions regarding the Port Stephen’s – Great Lakes Marine Park, in particular the Habitat Protection Zones.

As a recreational fisher you can fish in all of the Habitat Protection Zones (some have restrictions but are clearly marked differently on the maps). Commercial fishing activities such as netting and trawling are not permitted in these areas to ensure the habitat is protected.

Any of the habitat protection zones in plain yellow are ok to fish in, as a recreational fisher by any legal method.

The Habitat Protection Zones that have lines/hatched areas etc marked over them have restrictions. An example of such a zone is the Broughton Island Restricted Habitat Protection Zone. You will see on the map a yellow section off Broughton Island that is cross hatched. If you look at the key it explains this area is open for fishing by the method of trolling only from Dec 1 – march 31. Outside of these dates no fishing is permitted.

All of the Habitat Protection areas that are marked by way of lines/crosses are referred to as Restricted Habitat Protection Zones and as this name suggests, there are restrictions on the type of fishing allowed in that particular zone. The restrictions are outlined both in the Zoning Plan (key on the side of the map) and in the Recreational Fishing Guide.

T-shirt size

There will be a limited number of t-shirts & bucket hats available over the weekend. They can be exchanged for an appropriate size if the wrong size is ordered provided we have one in stock. They’re a generous mens size.


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