Grant Thompson claimed the major prize in the 2020 Snapper Bonanza with an 8.285kg specimen which netted the Auckland angler a cool $32,000 in cash as the heaviest fish overall and the day four winner.
Fishing wise, it won't go down as the most memorable Bonanza in history. Tuesday had a miserly 29 fish weighed in (the heaviest at 5.44kg by Aaron Macdougall of Ohope) while Wednesday was even more trying, only nine snapper caught by the estimated 800-plus anglers in action. By day's end, Macdougall had been replaced on the leaderboard, but only just, by a 5.48kg fish caught by Kaitaia surfcaster Pete Watson.
On Thursday fishing was opened to both coasts with 244 fish weighed in. The heaviest at 8.745kg by Kepa Paaka from Kaitaia turned out to be the heaviest caught this year but, sadly for Paaka, as the Day 3 winner, it is not eligible for the overall prize winners group.
The fishing improved significantly when the competition returned to Te Oneroa A Tohe/ Ninety Mile Beach for Day 4, Friday, where 128 snapper were weighed in.
Thompson's was the best but he had to endure an anxious 24-hour wait until the final weigh in on Saturday afternoon before being crowned as the new Snapper Bonanza champion, with Saturday's best fish of 7.37kg by Chris Spurr of Te Hapara not good enough.
Other notable winners at the final day's prizegiving included Louise Rogers, picking up $2000 for the women's average weight prize (set at 2.858kg) with her 2.94kg fish; and Gillian Fisher's Hook Em All team winning $3000 for the teams' average weight prize with a tally of 11.68kg (actual 11.481). Both were popular winners in hailing from Kaitaia.
The overall best team earning $4000 was Chad Prentice's Bounty Hunters from Waiora weighing in an impressive 51.825kg tally; while the winner of the $10,000 average weight overall prize (set at 2.923kg) was a clearly delighted Thomas Baker from Hamilton with 2.92kg.
The other big winners were Karlos Adams of Auckland, who won a Mitsubishi Triton, and Maui Laws Walker from Waitangi who picked up the consolation prize of a quad bike.