Angling Competition 20-21st November, 2021

Without a doubt, the snapper are about and it’s certainly time to get to the water and wet a line.  The Rhyll-Phillip Island Angling Club (RPIAC) held the 4th fishing competition for the 2021 / 2022 season, where angling members participate in an annual quest to be immortalised on the Bill Wallis Trophy.  Following Friday’s full moon anglers were greeted by sunrise and a run-out tide for the weekend-long fishing competition on the 20th and 21st of November.

You may ask: “Do strange things happen during a full moon”? The answer really depends on your perspective.  Suppose it’s spring and you notice a carpark beyond capacity with cars and boat trailers, then you see Western Port dotted with boats before breakfast, it’s hardly surprising.  But, if a series of random events at different locations combine to create unprecedented outcomes it’s indubitably related to angling.

The Bill Wallis Trophy and cash incentives for extraordinary catches provided all the motivation for members to participate in this weekend’s competition.  This season’s first to catch, members only, competition weekend incentives for five eligible species remain unclaimed.  The nominated species for a first-to-catch $1,000 prize, for fish equal to or exceeding the nominated weight, are: King George Whiting (1,000 grams), Snapper (10.0 kilograms), Gummy Shark (20.0 kilograms), Mulloway (25.0 kilograms) and Kingfish (25.0 kilograms).

The competition concluded with the close of weigh-in at 5:30 pm on Sunday and anglers and supporters were eager for the weigh-in master, Russell Gallagher, to tabulate and double-check the results and determine the weekend’s winners.  Ron Soolsma sizzled sausages and onions, which were wrapped by Bakers Delight’s finest fresh baked white slices, creating delicious parcels of happiness for attendees.  Combined with beverages bestowed by barman Len Bates, everyone enjoyed the post-competition presentation of awards.

A total of 37 fish and 3 sharks were presented for weigh-in over the weekend, an impressive tally of sought-after species including snapper, King George whiting, trevally, flathead and gummy sharks.

The Squidgies Mixed Bag competition, for participants aged nine or younger, had Denver Firth fishing under the influence of a full moon and possessed with enthusiasm.  Denver excelled with a bag of 5 fish, totalling 90 points, to claim first prize.

The Junior competition was dominated by Heath Womersley, who embraced the lunar phase and outfished many of the senior competitors.  Heath won the Junior Weight and Junior Points competitions with a snapper weighing 1585 grams and a King George whiting worth 1680 points (600 grams), respectively.

Consistent with everyone’s expectations for big snapper, the Senior Heaviest Weight contests were dominated by some worthy beasts (Chrysophrys auratus).  The Senior Male Heaviest Weight competition could not separate the unbelievable achievements of two anglers, Brendan Garlepp and Chris Leonardos, who were tied in first place, each with a snapper weighing 4890 grams.  The Senior Female Heaviest Weight competition saw Kate Jinnette push through a full weekend of fishing to rise and claim the prize for a snapper weighing 2160 grams.  The Senior Male Points competition was illuminated by Pat Gleeson, who presented a flathead, which could be mistaken for a banjo shark, weighing 2795 grams.  The announcement of Senior Female Points competition winner saw Kate Jinnette rise again to claim the prize for a King George whiting worth 1260 points (450 grams).  Not to be eclipsed, Duncan Firth won the flake battle, winning the Senior Shark competition with a gummy shark weighing 6050 grams.  Brett Slade refused to moon about and presented a snapper, weighing 1040 grams, to win the Secret Weight competition (secret weight 911 grams).

The announcement for the RPIAC Bill Wallis Trophy, for the highest aggregate score from Weight and Points categories, was astonishing.  For the first time in the angling club’s history, it was not possible to simply determine one winner.  The fishing stories of the weekend following the full moon could not be foretold by an almanac.  With an aggregate score of 6444 units, the Bill Wallis Trophy was jointly awarded to Brendan Garlepp and Chris Leonardos.  Brendan and Chris each presented a King George whiting worth 1554 points (555 grams) and a snapper weighing 4890 grams and will be pleased to see their names added to the trophy.

The next competition will be held over the weekend of the 4th / 5th of December 2021.  For further information about the club, events, competitions and rules, please visit the website:

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