Waves of anglers have taken the bait and hooked themselves an entry to this week's 13th annual Bay-based Clubs New Zealand National Trout Fishing Tournament.

Rotorua Citizens Club hosts the three-day competition, with anglers travelling from around the country aiming to take home the top prizes.

The tournament begins on Thursday and runs until Saturday, with opening night getting under way tomorrow.

In 2016 organisers opened the competition up to non-club members and numbers have grown steadily since.

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Tournament co-ordinator Alan Macfarlane said entries were up again with about 70 more compared to last year. Everyone was welcome to attend, regardless of skill level.

"The atmosphere each year is great. There's a lot of competition and banter between the anglers. It's become a thing now where we get repeat competitors, so it's a time to catch-up and have a good time. It's a social occasion as well as a competition.

The tournament is held on four lakes; Rotoiti, Okataina, Tarawera and Rotorua. Every night there is a prizegiving at the Rotorua Citizens Club. There are daily spot prizes as well as those for the traditional categories such as heaviest rainbow trout and heaviest brown trout.

Clubs New Zealand National Trout Fishing Tournament tournament co-ordinator Alan Macfarlane. Photo / Stephen Parker
Clubs New Zealand National Trout Fishing Tournament tournament co-ordinator Alan Macfarlane. Photo / Stephen Parker

"The Citizens Club is a good place to be based, in terms of how it's set up. We have a dinner on the opening night tomorrow. Rotorua is so fortunate with the lakes and the fishing that we have here. It's a good central location for everyone to come to and each year we're trying to grow the tournament more.

"As always there are lots of good quality prizes up for grabs, that's always a drawcard. The big spot prize is the six horsepower, four stroke Yamaha outboard motor, you don't even have to catch a fish to win that one.

"There are a lot of local businesses who support the tournament, but the key ones are O'Keefe's Anglers Depot and Telfer Marine. The local business community gets behind us and it's the locally owned and operated companies, more so than the bigger companies."

Weighmaster Neville Raethel is one of the characters who make the Clubs New Zealand National Trout Fishing Tournament so popular. Photo / File
Weighmaster Neville Raethel is one of the characters who make the Clubs New Zealand National Trout Fishing Tournament so popular. Photo / File

A highlight of the tournament is the smoked trout competition, in which participants compete to see who has the best recipe.

"That's always a novelty thing, I think we're probably the only ones who run a smoked trout competition," Macfarlane said.

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This year's tournament will also include an educational aspect.

"This year we're going to have a guest speaker on the concerns and problems relating to the catfish in Lake Rotoiti. That's something we take seriously as anglers.

"We'll also have Rotorua Lakes Trust setting up a stand and looking at recruiting volunteers to help with the catfish eradication programme they are introducing."

Introduced to the tournament last year was a trophy for the heaviest rainbow trout, in memory of former Rotorua Citizens Club manager Richard Hyland.

Last year it was won by Rotorua's Darrell Black who pulled in a 4.35kg rainbow trout.

2018 Clubs New Zealand National Trout Fishing Tournament
Final night prizes:
1: Heaviest rainbow trout overall
2: 2nd heaviest rainbow trout overall
3: 3rd heaviest rainbow trout overall
4: Heaviest brown trout
5: Heaviest rainbow trout caught by a female angler
6: Best condition factor
7: Best smoked fish
*Each day there will be a prize for the heaviest rainbow trout caught in each of the four lakes (Rotorua, Rotoiti, Okataina and Tarawera).