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The winning team from the Broome Billfish Classic 2022

The winning team from the Broome Billfish Classic 2022

A couple of famous WA fishing surnames were at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the annual Broome Billfish Classic last month.

Run by the Broome Fishing Club since 1988, the Classic is now a three-day event and this year attracted 32 boats and over 120 anglers gunning for more than $50,000 worth of prizes.

It features both large and small boats targeting billfish, and the overall winner was team Stitch Up, a crack team of four young local anglers featuring two suns of guns.

One member of the crew that won Champion Boat Overall was Digby Vaughan, son of well-known Kimberley guide and long-time Western Angler columnist, Robert ‘Bluey’ Vaughan of One Tree Beach fame.

Making their win all the more meritorious was the fact they were only fishing from a 4.8m boat, their secret weapon an unusual teaser.

Another member was Chris ‘Critter’ Rushford, the son of leading female angler Tracey Newton, who runs charter boat Reel Teaser with husband and prominent game fishing skipper, Ross.

Both Broome locals, they were joined by fellow locals Tom White and Ben Lye, with the team’s 6500 points for 13 sailfish giving them the edge over their rivals.

Overall second was Relentless with 5500 points on a countback from Billistic on 5000.

Stitch Up won the category for boats under 7m, while Relentless won the over 7m section.

Lye also took out Champion Male, with one black marlin and five sailfish.

Fiona Crane, aboard Relentless, claimed Champion Female for four sailfish, while champion Junior was Macie Dow, fishing with her family on Downunder and catching six sailfish.

Champion Senior was Steve Wockner, with five sailfish also fishing on Relentless.

Fully Sic took out the Brian ‘Fatty’ Albert award for catching seven sailfish on the opening day of the Classic, including the first sail after just 15 minutes of competition.

Overall the fishing was tougher than normal, with a bit of swell making conditions less than ideal.

Heavy fog on the first morning also meant the usual shotgun start was cancelled.

A cold snap just prior to tournament, with the water temperature dropping around five degrees over a few days, resulted in slower fishing than in 2021.

There were 132 tagged sails from 361 raised, and six marlin, compared with 299 tagged sailfish last year.

As ever, there was plenty of fun on and off the water, with some enjoyable nights back at the fishing club.

The prizes came from a range of supporters including Shimano and Great Northern, as well as local businesses including Dunnings, Think Water, the Roebuck Hotel and HMEC.

The winning team from the Broome Billfish Classic, from L to R: Digby Vaughan, Tom White, Chris Rushford and Ben Lye.

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