The Kairakau Marine Club finally got to host its annual two-day fishing contest over Easter weekend, which was marked by an encouraging number of snapper.
After having to be postponed twice over summer because of poor weather, Kairakau Marine Club president Matt Ward said the weather gods finally played their part as 78 anglers, lured by a $7000 prize pool provided by numerous sponsors incuding major sponsor, Centralines, took part.
"This is a smaller number of anglers than if the competition had been held at the intended New Year or Waitangi weekends, but we are thrilled with the turnout of groups of families."
On Good Friday, Ward said all the anglers enjoyed a "great day" of fishing, retrieving mixed bags of terakihi, gurnard and blue cod.
But on Saturday the fishing was much harder and very few fish were weighed in, Ward said.
Only three groper were weighed in over the two days, with David Paulsen hauling in the biggest at 9.2kg, some 6kg heavier than his closest competitor.
There were lots of good sized fish caught in the kingfish/tuna category, but Bryce Nilsson's winning 10.4kg fish was a long way from the 16.8kg club record held by Grant MacAulay since 2011.
Warren Vercoe won the biggest gurnard (1.1kg) and David George won the blue cod section with a 1.8kg fish. Sam Paulsen won Best Lady Angler for the second year in a row, and Raymond Webster won the surfcasting category for an remarkable fifth year running.
The prize for the skipper who caught the biggest fish nominated by the radio operator, Kerry Tostevin, was won by Kevin Caney for his gurnard.
Ward was the skipper as Alister Renton took out the prize for terakihi (1.3kg). Anchored just behind him was Heather Wilkie, a school teacher from Te Mata School, who the most successful day picking up second in the blue cod, second in Lady Angler and fourth in the gurnard.
The Kenderdine Cup for Most Varieties was a draw between two boats, Sin Bin and Reel Magic, catching 10 species each.
Ward said all the anglers were talking about the increase in the snapper. All of the snapper that won prizes were heavier than Aaron Carpenter's 2012 record of 2.78kg, with Neil Brunton smashing that record and his opponents with a whopping 5.99kg fish.
Ian McCoskery caught the heaviest kahawai weighing just half of Mr Brunton's fish at 2.95kg.
Jack Laugesen, Theo Dymock and George Thomas, all under 16, won new rods. Theo also won the boys' 8-9 age group herring competition, with Ashleigh Reese winning the girls' category. Archie Jeffers and Avis Scott won the pre-school category; Blake Duncan and Sofia Webster won the 5-7 age group; Lincoln Jeffares and Brooke Duncan won the 10-11 age group; while Ben Morrison and Margot Dymock won the 12 plus age group.
"The marine club is also focused on ensuring that this generation of kids get to fish in the future by using some the angler's entry fee to support LegaSea, an entity which raises funds for the sustainable management of fisheries for future generations. It is a great thing for the club to help the greater good," Ward said.