A record number of Northland youngsters are hooked on fishing for another year after reeling in an impressive variety of fish at a Bay of Islands tournament last weekend.
The Bay of Islands Swordfish Club held its junior tournament fishing out of Paihia where a record 66 anglers and 23 boats went in hunt of the biggest catch. More than 40 fish were either tagged and released or brought in and weighed, breaking several club and national records.
Among the successful ones were siblings Ella and Tyler Davey who both set new club line class records for their caught snappers. Eight-year-old Ella, with her 4.5kg snapper on a 4kg line, was a pending New Zealand small fry record which meant it was the biggest snapper, to be caught on that kind of line, by a child under 11 in New Zealand.
"I was really happy when I caught it and Dad only helped me a little bit," Ella said.
She was excited to have set a national record and happy to spend the weekend fishing with her family.
Five-year-old Tyler said he was glad once he had landed his record-breaking fish on the boat.
"It was fun because it didn't fight that hard so it wasn't too hard to get into the boat."
Father and commercial fisherman Adam Davey said he was happy to see his children do so well in a tournament he had competed in as a child.
"They did very well, they lost a couple of better fish but it's good they learn that too, you can't get them all."
He said the pair had been out fishing since they were born and had learned the necessary skills to reel in the bigger fish
"You've got to learn how to fight the fish, if you fight, they fight harder and the kids are good like that because they don't have the strength to bully a fish, they do it quite calmly and the fish come up a lot easier."
Co-tournament convener Leonie Brittain said she was happy to see so many children involved and out there with their families.
"They had a wonderful weekend, the weather was fantastic and we had some great fish caught."
Brittain was glad to see a record number of children involved and put it down to the tournament being more inclusive.
"For the little ones, it can be very difficult for them to catch a big fish and win some of the big prizes, which is why we do lucky-draw prizes.
"Regardless of how old the children are or what type of boat they are fishing on, everybody would have the same chance to win one for these prizes."
Prizes offered on the night were new rods and reels, a mountain bike, a GoPro, a motorised inflatable boat and helicopter rides just to name a few.
Brittain said the biggest prize of all for the children was to spend time with their friends and families, and learn to fish responsibly.
"To be able to learn and be taught how to fish sustainably is great because these are our next generation of anglers.
"It's their resource so to be able to go out and have the opportunity and get away from screens, it's fantastic.
Brittain said the event could not be run without the support of all the sponsors, in particular Contessa Charters, Harcourts Bay of Islands, JB Marine, Paihia Dive and Nifty Boats.
Total fish caught
Nine tagged and released (T/R) fish including two shark, one shortbilled spearfish, one striped marlin and two yellowtail kingfish.
Thirty-four weighed fish – two albacore, eight kahawai, one mahimahi, one shortbilled spearfish, 20 snapper and two yellowtail kingfish.
Fish of note (heaviest of species for the tournament and new club line class records):
• Jorja van den Broek's 17.55kg shortbilled spearfish on 24kg aboard Adrenaline – a new club line class record.
• Zeke Hollister's T/R shortbilled spearfish on 24kg aboard Chopper.
• Makenzie Avery's T/R striped marlin on 24kg line aboard Nammu.
• Aidan Tervit's 11.25kg yellowtail kingfish on 8kg line aboard Swallow – a new club line class record.
• Samantha Thomas' 5.25 mahimahi on 15kg line aboard Odyssey – a new club line class record.
• Tyler Davey's 8.35kg snapper on 8kg line aboard Argo – a new club line class record.
• Ella Davey's 4.5kg snapper on 4kg line aboard Argo – a new club line class record and pending NZ small fry record.
• Braxton Thomson's 2.1kg snapper on 3kg line aboard Rock Star – a new club line class record.
• Lindi Rowe's 5.1kg albacore on 8kg line aboard Chopper – a new club line class record.