Angling Competition 25th & 26th November 2023
Anglers Shine in Lacklustre Weather, with Impressive Catches Across Categories
This past weekend, the 25th and 26th of November, the Rhyll Phillip Island Angling Club (RPIAC) hosted its 5th angling competition for the 2023/2024 season. The event was not only a testament to the anglers’ skills and sportsmanship but also a celebration of the vibrant community spirit that defines the club. In addition to the weekend’s prizes, angling members tried hard to make a lasting impression, competing to have their name etched onto the Bill Wallis Trophy.
Changing weather conditions created some ideal opportunities for a weekend of competitive fishing and fellowship. The barometer fell with the competition’s start a midnight on Friday and toggled during Saturday and Sunday, to bring some classic bursts of sunshine, rain, hail and eery calm.
The weigh-in sessions, held between 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm on both days, were bustling with activity and anticipation, as supporters assessed the weekend’s catches. A wide variety of species were brought to the scales, including snapper, King George whiting, flathead, trevally, mackerel, salmon, barracouta, garfish, gummy sharks, and a surprising catch that resembled a mantis shrimp. In total, 56 fish and 4 sharks were weighed in, but notably, there were no calamari or cuttlefish this time. Alex Bowden, the RPIAC Weigh-in Master, was in high spirits as he tabulated the weekend’s results and sorted through the contenders for the Bill Wallis Trophy.
Whilst the season’s first to catch, members only, competition weekend incentives for extraordinary catches provided additional motivation for members to participate in this weekend’s competition, the cash incentives for the 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).
Angling members were relieved when the competition concluded at 5:30 pm on Sunday. The enthusiastic participation of Junior and Squidgy members was particularly noteworthy, demonstrating the club’s success in engaging young anglers. The RPIAC continues to offer complimentary memberships to children aged 16 and under, fostering a future generation passionate about sustainable and responsible angling.
The clubroom served as a hub for socialising and relaxation, where members enjoyed exchanging stories and experiences, enhancing the sense of community. At the conclusion of Sunday’s weigh-in, the club offered a delightful meal, expertly catered, and presented by Peter, RPIAC’s Master Chef. A warming meal of roast chicken, scalloped potatoes, salad, and a splash of the club’s customary welcoming atmosphere was enjoyed by all.
The Squidgie Mixed Bag competition, for anglers aged 9 or younger, was closely contested and Saige Nicolaci scored 55 points for 3 fish to claim the top prize. Anna Grogan finished second, catching 3 fish worth 50 points.
The Junior competition was dominated by the reigning Junior Club Champion, Denver Firth, who aligned with the lunar phase and opened the bite-window. Denver won both the Junior Weight and Junior Points competitions with a 385-gram salmon and a King George whiting worth 1400 points (500 grams), respectively. There are still many opportunities for Squidgies and Juniors to take part in the scheduled angling competitions and compete for comp-weekend prizes and the club championships.
Consistent with everyone’s expectations for big snapper, the Senior Heaviest Weight contests had some notable examples. The Senior Male and Senior Female Heaviest Weight competitions celebrated the achievements of two anglers, Mark Griffin and Debra Orr, each presenting chunky snapper, weighing 6025 grams and 2350 grams, respectively. The Senior Points competition saw James Nicolaci set a new club record for tailor, winning the Male Points for his 1075-gram tailor worth 2688 points. Kate Jinnette won the Female Points with a King George whiting worth 1526 points (545 grams).
Alex Bowden, won the battle for the biggest flake, taking the honours in the Shark competition with a gummy shark weighing 9680 grams. Brian Bowers was closest to the mark in the Secret Weight competition, taking the prize with a 1025-gram snapper (secret weight 972 grams).
The competition for the prestigious Bill Wallis Trophy was a notable highlight of the weekend. This year, the trophy was awarded to Mark Griffin, who demonstrated exceptional skill and persistence. With a snapper worth 6025 units and a King George whiting worth 1358 units, Griffin achieved a total of 7383 units, clinching the trophy. The runner-up Chris Leonardos followed with 5903 units, and Alex Bowden finished in third place with 4447 units. The next RPIAC angling competition will be held over the weekend of the 9th / 10th of December 2023.