The success of a recent fishing overnight contest which saw a lot of big snapper being reeled in at the start of the month has put local surfcasters in high spirits ahead of next week's Snapper Bonanza.
Jack Rogers, local angler and reporter, said the recent 90 Mile Beach Fishing Club fieldday saw 35 members and five visitors weighing in a total of 66 snapper, 54 kahawai and one trevally; continuing a trend which has seen "a lot of big snapper" caught over the club's three fielddays held so far this year.
"It's not often at this time of the year that a 3.72kg snapper doesn't make the prize board but such was the case for new club member Mark Frost," said Rogers. He went on to note that perfect weather and sea conditions - a mild easterly and a very moderate sea of only 1m swell - made for great fishing in the Workman Tankard/ Toll Kaitaia fieldday.
The fieldday again attracted a good turnout for this overnight event thanks to the main sponsor putting up some very good prizes, including fishing reels and apparel. A 10am start on Saturday, February 2, allowed anglers to get to their favourite fishing spots before the 2pm high tide, when the majority of the snapper were caught. Some more big fish were reeled in later in the evening on the low tide but not so many overnight.
The heaviest snapper of the day went to Judy Tyler 5.43kg, heaviest trevally Dennis Clarke 5.06kg and heaviest kahawai by Sandy White 2.63kg. Also notable were Ken Tyler 5.24kg snapper, Colin Manihera 2.63kg kahawai, Steve Maisey 5.21kg snapper, Milton Arnold 2.42kg kahawai, Jack Rogers 4.54kg snapper, Cody Lloyd 1.95kg kahawai, Mike Moses 3.78kg snapper.
Steve Maisey took out the Workman Tankard with 14.81kg of fish including two impressive snapper at 5.21kg and 4.98kg and three other reasonable size snapper; Dennis Clarke took out the haggle (3kg snapper) with a 2.99kg specimen and collected a Fin Nor Reel as well; and sponsor's rep Ewan Peat drew out the lucky draw prizes, much to everyone's delight.
Rogers noted all the indicators thus far were pointing to good fishing for this Sunday's Twilight Contest hosted by the 90 Mile Beach Surfcasting Club, in turn generally and widely regarded as an accurate precursor of fishing conditions for the Snapper Bonanza. Sunday's twilight contest will be fished from 9am to 4pm over a high tide at 9.35am and tickets can be purchased from the Bonanza site from 6.30am on Sunday morning or from Rogers Motors, Riders Sports Store and McCoy and Thomas Hunting and Fishing in Kaitaia during the week. Fishing can be done on either west or east coasts but only by surfcasting, i.e. no rock fishing. The weigh-in will be held at the Bonanza site, with all fish needing to be at the weigh station by 4pm.
A report from the twilight fishing contest will feature in next Tuesday's Age, the same day the 90 Mile Beach Captain Morgan Snapper Bonanza gets under way which will see hundreds of surfcasters fishing up until Saturday, March 2, in the hope of reeling in one of many lucrative spot prizes up for grabs. More fishing news inside.