Hundreds of keen surf participants trying their luck to catch a fish this weekend took to Whanganui's South Beach with their surf casters as part of the annual Monster Surf Casting Competition.

Organised by the Wanganui East Club Fishing Adjunct, 628 participants of all ages cast their rods out over Saturday and Sunday, February 15-17 in the hopes of not only catching a fish but winning big from the $55,000 prize pool.

Adjunct president Marty Esau said the numbers had pumped up from last year's competition with participants coming from as far away as Australia.

Hundreds of keen participants of all ages came out to cast their rod. Photo / Bevan Conley
Hundreds of keen participants of all ages came out to cast their rod. Photo / Bevan Conley

He said they receive a large crowd from Hawke's Bay and down the East Coast who always show their support.

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"We even have guys that will come down over the week, find a posse and camp up which is good to see people on the beach enjoying the weekend."

He said this year has been a very positive turnout with the weather being "perfect fishing weather" and the fish numbers being caught satisfying many so that everyone was happy.

Some participants set up camp earlier in the week to get ready for a busy weekend of fishing. Photo / Bevan Conley
Some participants set up camp earlier in the week to get ready for a busy weekend of fishing. Photo / Bevan Conley

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Some of the main prizes included a quad bike and a bike and kayak package.

"All sponsors have been fantastic and really come to the party, they've done more then what we've asked for and it's great to have support like that."

Esau said participants did not need to catch a fish to win a spot prize, giving them the opportunity to still walk away with something after the weekend.

"That's why we have the junior section, to try and encourage mum and dad to bring the kids out and have a crack as well."

Nyiah Martin and Jackson Reweti out fishing in the Junior section of the Monster Surf Casting Competition. Photo / Bevan Conley
Nyiah Martin and Jackson Reweti out fishing in the Junior section of the Monster Surf Casting Competition. Photo / Bevan Conley

Participants began their day at 7am and finished at 3pm on Saturday and 12pm on Sunday followed by a prizegiving.

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They stretched themselves out along 19 kilometres of the beach from the Whanganui river mouth to Whangaehu.

Participants were split into senior and junior sections and aimed to catch fish in the main snapper category or in the gurnard, blue cod, kahawai and non-scaled category.

Throughout the weekend, taggers and beach runners were working their way down the beach tagging fish as they were caught and running them back to headquarters, weighing them and putting them on ice.

The Junior section has always been apart of the competition to encourage parents to get their children involved. Photo / Bevan Conley
The Junior section has always been apart of the competition to encourage parents to get their children involved. Photo / Bevan Conley

In the senior section, Jamie Bowlin took home first prize for his 2.84kg snapper and Caleb Perry took home first prize in the junior section for his 0.76kg snapper.

For the gurnard section, Sheryl Te Amo took home first prize for her 1.14kg gurnard in the senior section.

Hami Te Arankutu took home first prize for his 2.39kg kahawai in the senior section and Jack Barrett took home first prize in the junior section for his 2.24kg kahawai.

The non-scaled category proved very popular with more than 30 stingrays being caught.

Paul Webley took home first prize for his 26.90kg stingray.

Esau said around 30 stingrays were caught all up, one weighing in at over 29kg.

Matthew Climo also caught a 11.65kg kingfish.

"We haven't got a category for that but we might sort him out with a hard luck prize."

Ken Mander holds Steve Maisey's 17.30kg stingray caught on the Saturday. Photo / Bevan Conley
Ken Mander holds Steve Maisey's 17.30kg stingray caught on the Saturday. Photo / Bevan Conley

He said last year participants were not that successful in catching fish in the other categories but plenty of gurnard especially had been caught this year.

"It was a very successful weekend for the guys, you could not have planned it better."

Wanganui East Club Fishing Adjunct president Marty Esau with quad bike winner Sandra Coake and Geoff Keown from Keown Honda. Photo / Bevan Conley
Wanganui East Club Fishing Adjunct president Marty Esau with quad bike winner Sandra Coake and Geoff Keown from Keown Honda. Photo / Bevan Conley
More then $55,000 worth of prizes were given away to participants. Photo / Bevan Conley
More then $55,000 worth of prizes were given away to participants. Photo / Bevan Conley