NCFB 2014 Results
Now in its fifth year, the North Coast Fishing Bonanza is gathering momentum as the premiere catch and release competition in this region if not Australia. Competitors are asked to fill in catch sheets and photograph their catches live on a brag mat with administrators then verifying each image and corresponding catch sheet ensuring appropriate fish care and handling is adhered to at all times in conjunction with the Department of Primary Industries.
This year the event ran September 24 to 28 coinciding with the school holidays in the seaside town ofBallina, on the banks of the gorgeousRichmondRiver. There can be no better backdrop for a fishing competition than gin clear waters of the river flowing alongside the event area. In addition families were treated to countless food options including the always popular sausage sizzle tent onsite and the even more exciting (for the kids anyway) Baskin and Robbins just down the road.
The briefing took place on the Wednesday night allowing a possible 3.5 days of fishing for the outside crews keen to tangle with snapper, kingfish, pearl perch, amberjack and samson fish while anglers looking for a more relaxed option targeted bream, flathead, whiting or bass in the river. This year also saw the introduction of a few new species such as blackfish and tailor with these species opened up to junior and cadet categories.
Despite forecasts of showers each day, competitors only had to account for the few showers which fell chiefly in the mornings during the event with the predominately excellent warm and sunny weather allowing for ample fishing time. Offshore crews got 2 awesome days and a couple not so awesome with strong gusts over 20 knots hampering offshore fishing on Friday and Sunday morning. The gusty conditions on Friday morning had organisers at the site scrambling as tents and pretty much anything that wasn’t tied down took off assisted by the strong southerly wind. Had it not been for the 9 year old local lad seen grimly hanging onto the organisers’ tent by one corner, it could have been turned into an unmanned aircraft.
Meanwhile while the hard work was going on, event Director Michael Starkey was fishing offshore with Andrew Ettingshausen for an upcoming episode of Escape with ET on Network 10. The new series will start in December so keep an eye out for that one as the crew also filmed around the event on several evenings.
Over the course of the event, the fishing was superb and is a strong indicator of the health of this system. It’s not often a competition runs where a 93cm flathead doesn’t win a prize but this is what happened here. The top three flathead were all above the 95cm level with 1st place going to a 99.5cm fish caught by Greg Barnes. 2nd and third were equally impressive at 95.4cm
Snapper too were all massive with a 99.2cm specimen topping the list caught by Robert Lynn with Brodie Quaas and Overall Mens Champion coming second with a 95.0cm model. Those lucky enough to chase Pearl Perch also found some numbers with a 59.7cm fish in first place caught by Rick Dalli.
In the calm waters of the river systems, the bream was a whopping 46.0cm caught by Bill Steel and the whiting a respectable 44.0cm caught by Alex Klassen.
In the Cadet category Mat Hutchins, in Ballina on holiday, came away the winner taking out the snapper, mulloway and flathead prizes with 82.2cm, 95.5cm and 92.0 fish respectively. The most notable junior catch was made by young Tahlia Robson with a 92.8cm flathead which was taller than her. It would have been an interesting tussle.
Claire Joblin who this year contested her first year as an adult took out Champion Female, but also unbelievably won two random draws and took home a pair of Engel Fridge/Freezers. The word around town is that one was immediately claimed by her mum who she reluctantly thanked after much encouragement by event organiser Jay Morgan onstage.
Special mention must also go to Nathan Coby who not only landed a PB Mahi Mahi out wide, but who also managed to get himself impaled by a hefty pair of 12/0 hooks in the process of bringing the fish aboard.
The competition is not only about the fishing and each day was filled with raucous laughter from the kids as they battled each other in front of a massive display tank filled with all sort of fish in casting and winding competitions, each angler fighting for a member of the organising committee who had painted their names on the wooden fish used as props. Suffice to say the author didn’t hear his name called out very often. Thanks kids! At the end of the day the winners were the kids with Baskin and Robbins vouchers going their way.
This competition is not just about the fishing but also the fun that we all should have when out on the water. Unfortunately the competition had to come to a close and the major prize draws were held on the Sunday evening. While the event ran over time a little, competitors waited intently to hear their name called out. As they say there can be only one winner (well two in this case) and they were Mat Hutchins who won the $10,000 cadet boat, and Peter Wells who won the adult boat valued at $28,000.
The North Coast Fishing Bonanza would like to thank the competitors for the spirit in which they compete. We must also thanks Gamakastu and Evinrude for their support in bring this event to life. Also thanks to major sponsors Samurai Fishing Rods and Lowrance as well as industry partners Atomic, Hobie, Penn, Engel, Fishing World, Mako Eyewear, TABS Boats, Shimano, The IceBox Bloke and Southern Cross Accountants.
Main Draw Prize Winners:
|Adult Boat Package||RRP $28,000||Peter Watts|
|Lowrance HDS12 + Structure||RRP $4,599||Jutta Swan|
|Lowrance HDS9||RRP $3,299||John Lollback|
|Lowrance HDS9||RRP $3,299||Andrew Lorriman|
|Hobie Kayak||RRP $2,600||Craig Wallace|
|Engel 45L Platinum Fridge/Freezer||RRP $1,299||Clare Joblin|
|Engel 45L Platinum Fridge/Freezer||RRP $1,299||Gavin Fensom|
|Engel 40L Fridge/Freezer||RRP $1,099||Gary Palmer|
|Cadet Boat Package||RRP $10,000||Matthew Hutchins|
|Lowrance Elite 7 HDI||RRP $1,099||Harry Joblin|
|Lowrance Elite 5 HDI||RRP $829||Tom O'Neill|