Great weather, heaps of prizes and a new format are expected to draw strong numbers of participants in the 2019 Monster Surf Casting Competition at Whanganui's South Beach.
The two-day competition on Saturday, February 16, and Sunday, February 17, is run by the Wanganui East Club Fishing Adjunct which took over the organisation of the long-standing competition from Eides Sports.
Adjunct president Marty Esau said that with entries still being accepted, final numbers would not be known until the weekend.
"We've got more than 300 entries so far and we're expecting anything from 350 up to 600," Esau said.
"There's been a lot of positive interest online but a lot of people wait until the last minute to see what the weather is doing. We always get a big bump in entries in the last few days when people know what the weather's going to do."
With the weekend weather forecast looking promising, Esau expects more registrations to flood in.
"We've got some great prizes and there's been a lot of support from sponsors this year which is really appreciated," Esau said.
The competition has a prize pool worth $55,000 which includes a major spot prize of a quad bike for the senior section and a $500 voucher for the junior section. Cash prizes include some big money in the snapper competition with a $2000 prize for first, $1500 for second and $1200 for third, and prizes for kahawai, cod/gurnard and non scaled catches such as stingrays.
In previous years, the competition has run a "teaser" day on the Saturday for kahawai only with an "all fish" day on the Sunday. However, this year all species will count on both days.
Competitors can fish along a 17km stretch of coast on South Beach, from the South Mole to the Whangaehu River mouth.
The competition is at 7am-3pm on Saturday and 7am-12 noon on Sunday.