Nearly 400 anglers lined up along Papamoa Beach provided an impressive sight. They came from all over the North Island and as far away as Akaroa - proof that fishing is indeed one of New Zealanders' favourite pastimes.
Shannon Anaru, from Rotorua, sat patiently alongside his surfcasting rod for a day-and-a-half. Finally at lunchtime yesterday as the deadline neared he sprang into action, reeling in a 2.16kg kahawai and then another one weighing 2.04kg.
Mr Anaru, who fishes every second weekend at Maketu near his bach, walked away with the top prize of $10,000 in the ITM Kahawai World Cup, organised by Papamoa Rotary Club with Western Bay Surfcasting Club.
A total of 389 anglers, stretching from Harrisons Cut to the end of Karewa Parade, competed in the two-day fishing contest.
There was a slight swell but the fishing conditions, and weather, suited everyone. The kahawai, however, decided they weren't going to be an easy catch.
Seventy-eight of them were weighed in during the contest. Vijay Raj, a Port of Tauranga shipping and cargo surveyor, produced the third heaviest kahawai at 1.93kg.
"It was hard fishing," said Mr Raj, a member of the Western Bay Surfcasting Club for two years. "Last year I only caught some snapper but it was the wrong species."
Co-organiser Fraser McCullough said the snapper caught this time were barbecued on the beach for breakfast and lunch.
He said the event was very successful - with 100 more anglers than last year - and there was no doubt it would be held again next year.
Mr McCullough said the Rotary Club expected to raise about $20,000 which would be distributed to community projects.