Grant Dodunski managed to survive a very stressful three days before finally being able to claim the overall winner's cheque of $30,000 for catching the heaviest fish in the 2018 Snapper Bonanza.

Dodunski reeled in the 8.945kg snapper shortly after second day of this year's event began last Wednesday morning, which pipped the more than respectable 8.4kg specimen by Kaitaia local Matthew Shalders on opening day in the process.

The 39-year-old painter from Pongakawa said even the weather gods came to the party for the final three days.

Altogether 430 fish were caught on Tuesday, and 504 on Wednesday before a large southwest swell hit, making conditions more difficult on Thursday, Friday and Saturday where 98, 43 and 20 fish were weighed in respectively.


The Te Puke surfcaster admitted to being "Gobsmacked" after picking up his winners' cheque, which added to the $2000 he won for catching day three's heaviest snapper.

"[It was] a long three days. I've never caught a fish like that before," he said, adding he was planning on "buying a boat when I get home" with part of the proceeds.

Dodunski was part of the Tauranga Land Based team which has fished the Bonanza for the past three years.

"The guys that I fish with have done really well for the last three years, been on the stage at one point or another," he said.

He also expressed appreciation to all involved in making this year's competition such a good one including the event sponsor, everyone else who fished in the field and the guys on the New Zealand surfcasting page.

The other major winner at the finale to this year's Snapper Bonanza on Saturday was Alec Saunders of Auckland who emerged as the last man standing for the Mitsubishi Triton.