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Perfect weather for fishing

Martinborough man Bastiaan van Benthem, left, with his prize kingfish. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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A rare three days of fishing was one of many highlights of the ‘Ngawi Big 3’ annual fishing tournament in Ngawi at the weekend.

The largest fishing event in the lower North Island had not had a full three days of fishing since 2007, mainly due to unfavourable weather.

However, the weather gods were smiling on Ngawi as anglers of different ages got three full days to reel in their prize catch.

“We had three amazing days of fishing which is a first for us in 14 years,” Ngawi Sports Fishing Club captain Donna Fenwick said.

“We always cater for getting the little boats back on their trailer safely, so previously the weather has blocked boats getting out into the water in the first place.

“But the weather was relatively calm on the weekend, so it was good enough to fish the full three days, which was great.”

The fishing tournament attracted more than 340 people to Ngawi, which included 315 open anglers, 23 juniors [6-16 years], eight land-based entries [sibling and couple teams], and one toddler [5 years and under].

The biggest fish hooked over the three days was a 25kg kingfish by Martinborough man Bastiaan van Benthem.

Other fish that were caught were tuna, kahawai, groper, blue cod, terakihi, snapper and gurnard.

Although the 28-year-old competition was reasonably competitive, Fenwick said it was also very family-friendly and always tried to accommodate every significant group.

“Some take it very seriously, but we try to cater to everybody, including toddlers,” she said.

“We only had one toddler who, in the end, caught a blue cod. But if we didn’t have a toddler section and he fished in with the juniors, he probably wouldn’t have got anything, so to speak.”

Having the tournament run at full capacity was a relief for Fenwick, who said she, along with club president Yvonne Ker, was anxiously watching to see where lockdown levels would place the
competition last Wednesday.

“I was definitely watching [lockdown level updates] with anticipation,” she said.

“Having survived the level alerts over the past fortnight was a huge relief.

“If we had stayed at level 2 and could only have a mass gathering of 100, that would have been the demise of the competition.”

Although the tournament was able to go ahead, numbers were still slightly down compared with previous years, which Fenwick put down to covid-19 jitters.

“We believe numbers were down based on the possibility we could have been at level 2 at the time of the competition.

“People were a little more wary, and they’ve got to make accommodation plans, so the change in levels would have deterred a few.

“We also do get a lot of older people, and they would be more conscious of social distancing.”

Fenwick said, overall, the event was a huge success that benefited the Ngawi community.

“The Tuhirangi Rugby Football Club are responsible for the launching and retrieving of the boats, while the Tuhirangi netball girls manage and run the bar over the weekend.

“So the ‘Big 3’ does benefit fundraising for our local clubs,” she said.

“It was a fantastic effort from the committee and the whole community that helped run the tournament.

“Everyone that was here and participated had an amazing time.”

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