Some 400 young anglers participated in the Top Catch Mangawhai three-day fishing competition over the recent school holidays, producing great catches in the event.
Hosts Dave and Myf Gurr ran the event for the second year and were rapt with the response, which saw the event more than triple the angler numbers (120) from the inaugural 2022 contest. “Our aim was to get kids off the couches and away from their devices. The Mangawhai Harbour is a great resource that
is both safe and easy to access,” Dave says.
The event had a great vibe, which was evident at the Saturday prizegiving MC’d by Nicky Wilson, which saw the Mangawhai Boating and Fishing Club’s facilities bursting at the seams. All those in attendance were treated to fish and chips before the prizegiving, which took over an hour to complete. “With so many great prizes on offer for both fish caught and spot prizes, there were some excited kids and some good stories to share.” The weather was sometimes wet and windy, but this did not deter the keenest.
The boat ramp pontoon was a popular spot.
One angler, Heath Lineham, fished from daylight to dawn for three days and was seen heading down to the wharf after the prizegiving to try his luck again. Heath usually fishes from his kayak, but this was stolen from where he kept it near the boat ramp, meaning he was land-based for the rest of the contest. A crew heading out of the harbour on Sunday took Heath with them, and he was rewarded with an 18.5lb snapper – karma at its finest!
Landbased fishing was a popular option.
Last year there were just six snapper weighed in; this year, there were ‘heaps’ with Jakob Smith’s winning fish tipping the scales at 3.77kg. Another solid catch was Jayden Westcott’s heaviest trevally, which went a creditable 3.8kg. Two of the top three sprats were caught off the boat ramp jetty by young anglers fishing under the supervision of their mums. The winning sprat was caught from a boat ‘way up’ the harbour by Mason Cameron.
All eyes on the scales!
Dave says the generous sponsorship from local businesses and individuals enabled them to generate an extensive prize list which included a boat and motor package, radio-controlled cars, kayaks, mini-motor bikes and lots more.
The organisers say that while the numbers have potentially reached their maximum, they are always thinking of ways to improve the event and are open to suggestions for 2024.
– Grant Dixon. Additional images courtesy of Andy Bruce, Elevated Media.
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