Having sold out for the second year in a row, the Snapper Bonanza is all set to go ahead on Te Oneroa-A-Tohe/ Ninety Mile Beach this week in spite of the threat posed by a global pandemic and a less than ideal weather forecast for the first two days of the five-day event.
Spokesman Dave Collard expressed concerns about the coronavirus and the potential implications which could impact on the longstanding tournament — such as preventing any of the various international entries from fishing in this year's event — while Tropical Cyclone Gretel is also predicted to have some effect when it passes by today.
However, organisers were still pleased to see all 1000 tickets sold out weeks ago and hundreds of anglers will descend on the Ninety Mile from today all hoping to reel in the main prize of $30,000.
The weather forecast for the second half of this week looked much more promising, Mr Collard said, with competitors likely to be surfcasting into more moderate 1.5m swells on the final two days.
He also noted the Snapper Bonanza prize pool continued to get "bigger and better" every year. Along with a daily lucky draw which will give two anglers a chance to win a Mitsubishi Triton at the final prizegiving on Saturday evening, other major prizes up for grabs include $10,000 for the overall average weight snapper, $2000 for the ladies average overall $2000, while the prizes for first to fifth heaviest snapper each day wins $2000 down to $200.
The 2020 Snapper Bonanza schedule is as follows:
Day 1, today: Will see anglers fishing Area 1 from Hukatere to the Bluff.
Day 2, tomorrow: Will be fished in Area 2 from the Bluff to just below Scotts Point.
Day 3, Thursday: Is the Riders Sports Day with fishing running from 7pm on Wednesday to 10.30am on Thursday and open to west and east coast beaches.
Day 4, Friday:Will see anglers returns to Area 1. Day 5, Saturday will see Area 2 being fished.
Fishing times for Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are 7am-4.30pm. The final prizegiving takes place on Saturday after weigh in at 4.30pm.
All fish weighed in on Thursday and Friday will be retained for a charity auction at the Kaitaia farmers' market from 8.30am on Saturday, March 21, with proceeds to the Kaitaia Volunteer Fire Brigade.
■ A report on the traditional precursor competition to the Snapper Bonanza, the Kaitaia College Twilight Fishing Contest held on Saturday features on the back page of today's Age.