An already lengthy relationship with the Port Macquarie region is set to continue for another year ahead of the 38th Golden Lure fishing tournament from January 8-15.
There are no berths left at Port Macquarie marina as anglers from all over the state converge on the waters surrounding Port Macquarie, Point Plomer and Hat Head.
Port Macquarie Game Fishing Club president Janeck Kaczorowski said around 60 vessels ranging in size from 17-feet to 65-feet will all battle it out.
"Naturally the locals are always hard to beat in Port Macquarie because it is our home ground," he said.
"But we do get some very competitive boats come up from Port Stephens including last year's winner The Omen.
"It's a pretty level field and it really is a matter of who finds a fish and most importantly who can hang onto them and get the tag in to get the result.
"I wouldn't be framing a market just yet. We'll see what conditions come up, but there is a fair cross-section of boats, crafts and crew so it's certainly something to see."
While last year's event saw a lot of action in the water just off Flynns Beach, Mr Kaczorowski said it was difficult to predict where the fish will bite in 2022.
But one thing was for sure - the first of the warm water will again flow as a result of the east Australian current.
"You can fish in close and in shore - last year there were over 100 marlin tagged just off Flynns Beach in about 40 metres of water," Mr Kaczorowski said.
"It was quite strange that they were there, but that's where the bait happened to sit so naturally that's where the fish will be.
"You can get that up to Point Plomer and Hat Head which are quite popular spots and naturally out wide over the continental shelf is where the larger blue marlin can be found along with yellowfin tunas.
"There are lots of different options depending on where you want to go, but that's what makes the tournament so popular."
The event runs over the week, allowing organisers to pick the best days for competition. Competitors usually travel from the Gold Coast, Sydney, Newcastle and Port Stephens by sea.
"Everyone is keen to get into it because of so many restrictions we've had over the last two years, the tournament season outside of the Golden Lure was quite affected by COVID last year."
The Golden Lure features cash prizes of $10,000 for heaviest marlin over 150kg, $7500 for the champion boat, $3000 for Blue Marlin, $2000 for a lucky boat draw and $2000 for heaviest shark over 150kg.
"It will be a record with 60 boats, but we can't really get too many more in because we just don't have the room for them. The marina is already booked out."
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