Smaller fish still sweet for contestants

18:48, Feb 18 2013
GREAT CATCH: Craig Merrion, of Wakefield, with his 7kg kingfish.

Much bigger snapper have been caught over the summer but that didn't matter when the weigh-in ended in the inaugural Tasman Bay Snapper Classic on Saturday - 3.99kg (9lb) was plenty big enough to win a $3500 prize for Brett Greer.

Mr Greer, of Nelson, took away a Furuno GPS chart plotter from Port Nelson company Electronic Navigation.

The teams event was won by Nelson team Wurth A Shot, from Wurth NZ Ltd, who will be the first to get their names engraved on the Champions Cup for the best combined snapper total, 8.94kg.

Co-organiser Troy Dando was delighted with the "silky smooth" way the one-day competition went, and is already looking ahead to next year.

There were 130-150 people fishing in the competition, he said, fishing out of Nelson and Motueka.

"Pretty much everyone who was there at the prizegiving, including the sponsors, were rapt and said they'd be back next year."


He said one of the drivers of the idea had been that prizes should go only to those who caught fish, rather than the spot prize draw often encountered in this kind of event, where many people entered but didn't actually go fishing.

"Everyone was really supportive of the idea that if you don't catch a fish, you don't get a prize."

The idea of limiting the fishing to within Tasman Bay had also proved popular, meaning that people with bigger and faster boats were not at an advantage over those with smaller and slower craft.

It ensured that "it's putting everyone on the same playing field", Mr Dando said.

Many snapper over 10kg and some up to 13.6kg (30lb) have been caught in Tasman Bay over the past few months, he said.

"The big ones were out there, but no-one could nail one. Some people were fishing right next to others, some got 10 fish and the ones next to them got none. That's the way it was on the day."

Other heaviest fish were: junior snapper, Jyles Lavington, 1.17kg; kingfish, Craig Merrion, 7kg; tuna, Linda Glew, 10.18 (albacore); gurnard, Angela Elliott, 0.82kg; kahawai, Bill Moore, 3.13kg. The kahawai prize was awarded to Gareth Rosser for a 2.48kg fish, since Mr Moore didn't attend the prizegiving, not realising he had to be there to claim it.