FISHING: Winner's smile lights grey day

Thornton angler Paul Yates was the happiest man on the planet, according to witnesses, after picking up the $8000 boat, motor and trailer package at the Twin Rivers Fishing Classic at Raymond Terrace last weekend.

‘‘He leapt in the air, he pumped his fists, he had his two young kids with him and plonked them straight in the boat – I think he weighed in a couple of good fish too, so he had a great weekend,’’ Junction Inn Fishing Club spokesman Jim Weston said yesterday.

Fellow JIFC organiser Peter Hughes was similarly impressed.

‘‘He thanked the sponsors, the organisers, his dad, his wife for letting him go fishing, the kids grabbed an oar each, he was superman – I’m betting the kids had him put that boat in the water before he got home that day,’’ Pete said.

Club president Gerard Kennedy concurred.

‘‘He was one very excited and articulate individual. Stoked.’’

Upwards of 170 anglers competed over the two days, which was an incredible result for a two-day fishing tournament given the competition last weekend – the Broncos were in town, the Roar, Surfest, the Sparke Helmore triathlon and the CMC Country music festival, not to mention the rain.

‘‘A lot of the younger guys said they had mates who would have entered, except the scenery was better down at Surfest,’’ Gerard quipped.

‘‘We’ll be looking at our dates for next year, but it was still an outstanding result.’’

As usual a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

‘‘Last year we gave $2500 and we hope to equal that again,’’ Gerard said.

‘‘We also donated $500 to the Luekaemia Shave Foundation.

‘‘One of our members Rachel Kennedy got her head shaved on the Friday and raised well over $3000 for the cause.

‘‘Another portion will go to MiVAC, a mine and ordnance clearing organisation in Asia. We’ve got a couple of Vietnam vets in the club, including Jim [Weston] who is heading over to Laos soon for a month to lend a hand.’’

Heavy rain and swollen rivers meant anywhere above Fullerton Cove was virtually unfishable, but all agreed the number and quality of fish weighed in was outstanding.

‘‘A lot of bream were big blue-nosed, solid fish, really thick,’’ Jim said. ‘‘The biggest bream came in about 1.2kg, and he had some competition.

‘‘The jew were good too. Lots about. The biggest weighed in around 6.6kg.’’

Matt Small won the prize for heaviest bag of fish.

Lure of trailer gold

Nelson Bay is gearing up for the annual Trailer Boat Fishing Tournament next weekend.

More than 1500 anglers and 500 boats will compete for about $100,000 in species and lucky draw prizes.

For more details go to tbft.com.au.

And just a further reminder that the Pirteck National Fishing Competition is on Sunday April 15. To register go to pirtekfishingchallenge.com.au.

Stargazer a lucky omen

Thngs are certainly looking up for Swansea angler Wayne ‘‘The Train’’ Hodges.

First he caught what would have been an Australian record 7.3kg stargazer if he had been a member of an accredited fishing club.

Wayne wasn’t, but he didn’t really mind.

Then he got immortalised in the Newcastle Herald as Fish of the Week winner on February 24 with said stargazer.

Then two weeks ago a bloke noticed Wayne had his 12ft tinnie up for sale in his front yard and asked him if he wanted to do a straight swap for his 16ft, half-cabin Savage complete with 55hp Johnson.

Wayne recognised value immediately and jumped at the chance. Having got his boat licence this week and blue slip for the trailer, Wayne will launch Tasman II in Lake Macquarie on her maiden voyage.

‘‘It’s got 12 months rego, the motor starts first go every go, pumps water like a washing machine – it’s schmick,’’ he enthused.

‘‘I didn’t ask him what happened to Tasman I.

‘‘But I won’t be changing the name cos they reckon you may as well call it Deepwater Rock – something about bad luck.’’

Run of big tailor

Wayne reports there’s a lot of kingfish and tailor in Lake Macquarie.

‘‘They’ve been getting them off the bridge every day on surface lures.’’

‘‘The tailor are coming on and although they’re pretty patchy, they’re pretty big.

‘‘A mate of mine, Jordan, got a 63cm tailor the other night, and another mate got five big ones up behind the airport [Pelican], then he went back the next night and couldn’t get a bite.’’

‘Crawdaddy’ is reborn

Andrew ‘‘Crawdaddy’’ Crawford is back baby after a self-imposed fishing ban following the birth of son Beau James last December.

‘‘I got a leave pass for a few hours on Saturday so I headed out in the wind and rain to the Stocko for a fish with my brother-in-law Stewart,’’ The Craw reported this week.

‘‘I am not generally a fan of fishing in the middle of the day, though when your wife puts her hand up to look after the three-month-old for a few hours you jump on board.

‘‘We managed to get a good haul of tailor [12] and bream [5], on what I thought was going to be a wet and windy day. The two biggest bream tipped the scales at 1kg each [40cms].’’

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