Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Free-divers nail big ones at Wish 4 Fish competition

Red Blakbly, Mat Whelan, Michelle Witte and Josh Tesselaar with their winning catches. Photo/George Novak
Red Blakbly, Mat Whelan, Michelle Witte and Josh Tesselaar with their winning catches. Photo/George Novak

Snapper, king fish, crayfish and scallops were all auctioned off over the weekend to help a much-needed Tauranga charity - Wish 4 Fish.

The trust, established in 2011 by Tauranga's Bryce Dinneen, who became a tetraplegic in 2007 after a swimming accident, allows disabled people to enjoy time on the water.

The fishing competition, which was held on Saturday at Tauranga Sports Fishing Club, was all about participation and raising the profile of Wish 4 Fish, Mr Dinneen said.

Diver Josh Tesselaar got into the event with friends Red Blakbly, Mat Whelan and Michelle Witte.

Long-time fishers, they spent the day free-diving at a secret location in the Bay of Plenty and brought back four king fish weighing between 10kg and 21kg.

The team scored the biggest and second-biggest kingi for the event.

The foursome would free-dive to between 5m and 10m for up to two minutes and waited until the "kingis cruise past".

Mr Tesselaar said he and his friends from Tauranga Dive, Sons of Tangaroa Spear Fishing Club and Breathless Addiction were all happy to support the event.

"Most of the time we go out, we come back with a good feed. But it was good to do for a local charity here in Tauranga."

It was the first year a dive section was opened at the event so Mr Tesselaar said he would push for more divers to take part next year.

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