When the going gets tough, the smart ones head to boat show

GREAT: 30-knot winds and 4m seas - it must be the weekend!

It sure makes things hard for the weekend warriors and it looks like tomorrow is just a write-off for most forms of fishing, with things starting to back off a little on Sunday.

A pity, really, because there were some highlights during the week when bream and flatties bit their heads off in the rivers and snapper and mackerel got up to their usual tricks offshore.

But you don't want to know about that now ...

So, what to do this weekend?

Why not grab your umbrella or raincoat and head on up to the Goldie, where the national boat show circuit kicks off with the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, open 9am to 5pm until Sunday.

Parking has always been the problem at this show for us plebs, but organisers this year are trying something different, with free parking at Movie World (Exit 60 on the M1) and free shuttle buses to Sanctuary Cove. There are also half-hourly shuttle buses from Helensvale railway station.

Check http://www.sanctuarycoveboatshow.com.au to see if there are any pre-booked paid parking spaces left at Sanctuary Cove itself.

This show caters for every boating taste, from paddle or pedal kayaks right up to 50m megayachts, and many trailerboat builders, outboard manufacturers and electronics makers use this show to premiere their latest models in this country.

Sanctuary Cove also seems to have more stalls of chandlery, clothing and other marine industry stuff than the big city shows, the food is more varied and tasty and the village/marina atmosphere is unique.

It offers a good day out and a chance to dream ...

Ballina mulloway

SEVENTY mulloway frames were donated to the NSW Research Angler Program over summer, continuing to provide data for monitoring the health of the New South Wales mulloway stock.

These donations included six longer than 130cm.

The oldest fish donated, a 135cm Hawkesbury River specimen, was estimated to be 16 years old after its ear bone (otolith or "jewel") was cross-sectioned and growth rings counted.

The largest fish donated, a 150cm fish from Ballina and a 141cm fish from Iluka, were estimated to be just eight and nine years old respectively.

Another 66 fish were tagged over summer as part of the program, bringing the overall number of tagged mulloway to 512.

Seven mulloway were also recaptured this season, providing important information on the movements, growth rates and post-release survival of mulloway in NSW.

Mulloway frames, heads or a single jewel can be left at one of the 30 participating drop-off points in NSW. Alternatively, contact the program co-ordinator to organise for a reply-paid post pack to be sent to you so you can donate your jewels by mail.

For more information email research.angler@dpi.nsw.gov.au, phone 02 9435 4671 or visit http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/researchangler

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