New Zealand's oldest club in the game has been holding one of the oldest game fishing tournaments in the country this week - the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club's 47th Annual International Yellowtail Tournament.

Few people outside the region know about it, but it's a tournament made all the catchier for its transtasman rivalry. This year 88 anglers are taking part and 31 of them are from Australia.

As well as celebrating stunning weather, fishing conditions and good catches, the tournament organisers have paid a special tribute to Terry "Titch" Titchener, from the Victoria Game Fishing Club, who has been "team leader" for the Australian contingent for 40 years.

Some regulars have been accompanying Titch to the Bay of Islands yellowtail kingfish contest for almost as long, BOI Swordfish Club manager Dale Pullen said.


While most anglers are from the Bay of Islands area, several have come from elsewhere in New Zealand, including a Whakatane school joining Russell and Paihia primary schools in the junior section.

A junior team has also come from Australia and before the final day's weigh-in yesterday, one of them, Chloe Hammersley, had caught the heaviest fish of the whole tournament, a 20.95kg yellowtail.

The tournament, this year from Sunday to Saturday, has four days of fishing and two for resting, socialising and sightseeing, Mr Pullen said.

There are about 60 sponsors, from small local businesses to all the way up to major national companies, Mr Pullen said, and a high level of support from the local community. Prizegiving will be held tomorrow night and farewells on Saturday.

The Bay of Islands Swordfish Club is the oldest game fishing club in New Zealand, dating back to 1910.

The club was registered as an incorporated society in 1918 as the Bay of Islands Kingfish Club.

Today, the club has clubhouses in Russell and Paihia. The rich history of game fishing in the Bay of Islands is traced on the walls of both clubhouses, with historic fishing photographs, tackle and memorabilia.