Fishing Classic attracts record entries
By NERIDA BLOK
GARY FISH has many reasons to enter the 10th Evans Head Fishing Classic.
None of which relate to his surname.
"It's great," said Gary, of Alstonville, who remained upbeat despite catching nothing yesterday.
"The way it's run and organised is excellent. And the fact it encourages catch and release, so you're not killing fish stocks in the river."
Gary and his family are camping at Evans Head Silver Sands Caravan Park during the week-long fishing classic, which started on Friday and finishes at 2.30pm this Friday.
"My wife, Rose, usually complains when I go fishing," he said. "But she doesn't mind if I go fishing all week down here. She's left alone to read a book or knit."
Gary's luck may have been down so far, but he still holds out hope of winning one of the 20 nightly barrel draw prizes, including a tinny and an esky.
He also has his fingers crossed to win the $10,600 camper trailer, drawn at the end of the week.
The major fishing prize is a Mazda Tribute, valued at more than $34,000.
Committee president Ray Collins said hundreds of people attended the official opening of the fishing classic in Evans Head yesterday.
"It was a massive crowd," he said.
This year, he said, a record 1027 entries had been received, up from 888 last year.
"And in the kid's one-day competition held yesterday, there were 387 entries," Mr Collins said.
TV fishing personality Steve Starling was amongst the avid anglers to register for the week.
"But his name's not on the leader board yet," Mr Collins said.
Asked if fishing was skill or luck, he said: "Definitely skill."
"A lot of the same names keep appearing on the leader board each year, so they obviously know where to fish."
Mr Collins said boundaries for the competition included the area from the south wall of the Richmond River at Ballina, down to Shark Bay boat ramp, north of Woody Head.
He said standout catches so far included a 14.47kg mulloway, 7.8kg snapper, 1.92kg bream and a 13.68kg cobia.
The major prize draws will take place next Friday night at the rear of the RSL Club.