Strongly contested Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic fishing tournament ends in two ties

The 2019 Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic was one of the most strongly contested in the fishing tournament’s 13 years with a tie for Champion Boat Over Eight Metres and a second tie for Runner-up Female.

The Classic, held in the Southern Ocean waters of south-western South Australia on Saturday, 23 March and Sunday, 24 March, attracted 22 boats including 12 Rivieras. The anglers caught and released 180 southern bluefin tuna in the sustainable fishing event over two days.

Rob Swincer skippered Saltiga, a Riviera 45 Open Flybridge, to tie for Champion Boat Over 8 Metres with Andrew Farrer’s Catfish.

Emma Forster aboard Risky Business and Renee Martin on Justagirl Too each caught and released five fish in the Under Eight Metres category.

“It was a fantastic tournament,” said Rob Swincer. “We have competed five times for two wins, a second and a third place.”

Another highlight of the tournament was the performance of the Czabayski family. Susan Czabayski won the Overall Champion Angler category in this year’s tournament after winning the Champion Female last year. Eight-year-old son Harry won the Champion Smallfry category. It was the third win in successive years for the young champion.

Rob Swincer’s team took a number of trophies home.

“My wife Angela had an amazing tournament,” said Rob. “She won the Best Photo and also runner-up Female Angler with six fish caught and released. It was her first ever tournament. She has been out on Saltiga with me many times but never in a fishing competition.

“We found a massive school of tuna at fishing grounds west of Williams Island late on Saturday. We stayed out overnight, close to the fishing ground, but could not quite overtake the Risky Business team for the overall win. Next year!

“The presentations on Sunday evening were incredible. The food was amazing and the organisation was superb. I can’t say enough in praise of the organisers Russell Bianco and Gabriella Gabbana. This was their first year running the event and it went like clockwork.”

Andy Cameron, skipper of Riviera 51 Open Flybridge Kraken, had a double reason to celebrate with Heaviest Fish and the Calcutta win.

“It was a great tournament,” he said. “One of our anglers, Mark Pierce, had never caught a tuna and he hooked the biggest fish of the tournament! That was really exciting.

“This was the third time I have entered. I spent most of the time at the helm but did manage a stint on the rod. Taking home the large Calcutta prize added to the enjoyment.”

Tournament founder Peter Teakle this year handed “rod and line” control of the tournament to local Riviera owners and fishing enthusiasts Russell and partner Gabriella.

Riviera Dealer Development and Sales Manager David Thorpe was on board for the tournament and said: “Russell and Gabriella are fantastic organisers so the future of this great tournament is in fine hands.”

Russell and Gabriella were delighted with the results of the tournament.

“Everyone seemed to enjoy the entire event,” said Russell. “We ran the tournament from on board our Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge Majesnik so were right at the heart of the action throughout the two days.

“We are already planning for next year’s event and have a number of ideas we want to introduce to make it even more fun and exciting.”

Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst said: “Our entire Riviera team is proud to support this great sustainable fishing tournament and sincerely thank Russell and Gabriella for an outstanding effort in their first year at the helm. We are delighted, of course, that more than half the fleet this year were Rivieras.”

Major awards
Champion heaviest fish: Andy Cameron, Kraken  – 15.9kg fish
Overall champion boat: Risky Business, skipper David Buckland – 23 fish
Overall champion angler: Susan Czabayski, Spartacus – 11 fish

Vessels over 8 metres
Champion boat: (TIE) Saltiga, skipper Rob Swincer and Catfish, skipper Andrew Farrer – 20 fish each
Champion female angler: Susan Czabayski, Spartacus – 11 fish
Champion male angler: Shane Hodgerson, Anger Management – 9 fish
Runner up female angler: Angela Swincer, Saltiga – 6 fish
Runner up male angler: Andrew Farrer, Catfish – 8 fish

Vessels under 8 metres
Champion boat: Risky Business, skipper David Buckland – 23 fish
Champion male angler: Tom Pietch, Risky Business – 10 fish
Champion female angler: Tracey Tito, Justagirl – 8 fish
Runner up male angler: Dan, Reel Salty – 3 fish
Runner up female angler: Emma Forster, Risky Business, and Renee Martin, Justagirl Too – 5 fish each

Small fry
Champion smallfry angler: Harry Czabayski, Spartacus – 2 fish

Other awards
First fish caught: David Buckland, Risky Business
Best photo: Angela Swincer, Saltiga, photo of the start

The shotgun start as contestants power towards the fishing grounds.

Tournament organisers Russell Bianco and Gabriella Gabbana at the start aboard their Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge Majesnik.

A tie! The crews Saltiga and Catfish, the winning Boats Over 8 Metres, receive their award.

Champion Male Angler in the Boat Over 8 Metres category, Shane Hodgerson (right) with Riviera’s David Thorpe 

Susan Czabayski who won both Champion Female Angler and Champion Overall Angler, with Riviera’s David Thorpe.

Champion smallfry angler, Harry Czabayski with Gabriella Gabbana.

Tournament organisers Russell Bianco and Gabriella Gabbana.

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