PHOTO GALLERY: Catch of the day at 'Australia's biggest' fishing comp
PAUL Slattery of Goonellebah may have won a boat in the 2014 North Coast Fishing Bonanza, but it's contest's 'conservationist' flavour which keeps him coming back every year.
The 59-year-old, with his son-in-law, Micheal Muldoon, 33, entered the annual fishing competition based at Fawcett Park, Ballina, over the weekend because its terms support sustainable fishing.
The recreational fishers, who also host talks on sustainable fishing at competitions, say they rarely eat their catch.
"We teach conservative fishing, we catch and release the fish so it's still there for the future,” Mr Slattery said.
"Fishing is not about catching a huge load, freezing it for six months only to chuck it in the bin, it's about relaxing. And that's what this fishing competition supports.”
Team Film Fish won the boat in the major prize draw in 2014.
This year's competition was presented by fishing companies Gamakatsu and Evinrude Etec.
Anglers could fish in any style and in any river from Tweed to Yamba and submit their entry with a photograph.
Ribbons for 13 species and over $80,000 worth of prizes attracted 300 fishermen to the region from as far as Sydney.
Director Michael Starkey said for the first time in eight years, every type of species was weighed in on the first day "and they've all been pretty good fish”.
"The system has lots of small fish in it, which is a good sign,” Mr Starkey said.
"The system actually needs a flush out once in a while, (the March floods) were probably a bit extreme, but probably once a year, a smaller flush is good.”
On Saturday, the largest jewfish was over a metre (normal size), junior snapper was "amazingly big” at 93.5cm and the largest flathead was 95cm.
All were released, as per terms of the competition.