Rivieras Share The Spoils At NZ Game Fish Tournament

Beautiful weather, hungry fish and a strong fleet of 17 Rivieras made the 9th annual Riviera/Sime Darby Invitational Game Fishing Tournament in north-eastern New Zealand a spectacular success. Officials recorded more than 100 hook-ups and 32 fish brought to boat.

Hosted by the Whangaroa Big Game Fishing Club over three days from Wednesday, March 18 to Friday March 20, the fleet - ranging in size from 37 to 60 feet - tagged and released 23 marlin with another nine fish caught.

According to organiser and R Marine New Zealand’s Dealer Principal Bruce McGill, “The enthusiasm of the participants, and the camaraderie within the fleet made this tournament one of the most successful to date.

“The fishing activity was strong throughout the three days, with skippers reporting more than 100 hook-ups. It was non-stop action for three days.”

The fleet left Whangaroa on a beautiful late-summer morning in a flotilla procession, headed by Riviera 60 The Immigrant. Once at the harbour mouth, the fleet fanned out to the north, south and east, carrying crews full of hope for the three-day tournament.

A change in format to previous years saw the 2009 Riviera/Sime Darby Invitational become an “away” tournament, meaning that the fleet did not return to base each night. This allowed for extended trips to locations further afield, such as the world-renowned Three Kings, a premier striped marlin fishery.

Cameron Gregory had first strike, landing a 158kg striped marlin on Ortem.

Following on from that successful start, a number of marlin were raised onto lures and live baits during the tournament. Tim Dromgool’s Aurora succeeded in tagging and releasing 11 marlin over three days.

Other crews that succeeded in the tag-and-release section with striped marlin were Free Life 11 and Outsider, each with three fish, Ortem with two, and Naviti, North Beach and The Godfather with one each. Liam Power of R Marine New Zealand, fishing on board Peter Gavin’s Maillot Jaune, tagged and released the only blue marlin of the tournament.

The weight category was fought out between Cameron Gregory on Ortem and Rick Longdon on The Godfather with the only two qualifying weighed fish.

On the way home from the tournament a few of the boats explored the spectacular cave on Poor Knights Island which is about 80 nautical miles north of Auckland and 20 miles offshore. The Immigrant ventured right inside the cave.

Cameron Gregory’s 158kg striped marlin took out the Heaviest Weighed Marlin category during the prizegiving on the last evening. Aurora’s fantastic effort of 11 tagged marlin landed Tim Dromgool and his crew the Overall Winner / Most Tagged Marlin tournament title. A superb result!

Major sponsor Sime Darby Group continued their tradition of providing great support to the tournament. Category winners received generous cash prizes, plus sponsored products.

Plans are now underway for the 10th anniversary tournament in the 2010 season.

Bruce said: “We have even more ideas to improve the event format next year. Watch for future press releases for more details.”



Click to enlarge image: A striped marlin flies during the tournament.

A striped marlin flies during the tournament.

Riviera 60 The Immigrant inside the cave on Poor Knight Island.

Riviera 60 The Immigrant inside the cave on Poor Knight Island.

Coming out alive!

Coming out alive!

The fleet prepares for the tournament.

The fleet prepares for the tournament.