Angling Competition 28th & 29th October 2023

The Rhyll-Phillip Island Angling Club (RPIAC) welcomed members to the club rooms for the 3rd fishing competition of the 2023/2024 season, held over the 28th and 29th of October.  The weekend was marked not just by the thrill of the catch but also by a significant celebration.  Alongside the spirited angling competition for the 2023/2024 season, the club revelled in marking the 35-year anniversary of its inception and the 25-year anniversary of the clubrooms’ grand opening.

Despite Saturday’s challenging windy conditions, the anglers’ determination, ranging from seasoned professionals to budding Junior and Squidgy members, was evident. Sunday was marked by serene weather, forming the perfect backdrop for the celebrations, and the results were as impressive as the participation. Indeed, it was a hub of celebration and the clubrooms echoed with conversation and live musical entertainment by local talents.

Attendees were enthralled by Ian Huther, RPIAC’s first president and life member, who gave an account of the club’s history, it’s illustrious journey and promising future.  The atmosphere was one of camaraderie, where RPIAC founders, life members, past-presidents, and committee members gathered and reflected, reminiscing about a shared love for fishing and the bonds nurtured over the years.

The weigh-in master, Alex Bowden, and Club Captain, Chris Leonardos, saw many triumphs during weigh-in and a total of 59 eligible species, 5 sharks, and 3 calamari met the scales.  Reports were snapper-centric, although King George whiting, gummy sharks, school sharks, trevally, salmon, flathead, and mackerel were also around. Again, timing and location appeared to be crucial and most the big fish were caught on Sunday.

With recent reports of huge Snapper entering the bay, the $5,000 incentives for angling members with extraordinary catches, during a competition weekend, remains in the bank.  The five eligible species nominated for each first-to-catch $1,000 prize, by equalling 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 Squidgie Mixed Bag competition, for anglers aged 9 or younger, saw Byron Griffin back in action to claim second place after catching 2 fish worth 40 points.  Sage NIcolaci went one better, weighing in three fish for a total of 45 points and taking first place.  Some impressive fish were also caught in the Junior category, for anglers aged 10 to 16.  Piper Nicolaci caught a snapper weighing 1900 grams to win the Junior Weight competition and the reigning Junior Club Champion, Denver Firth, won the Junior Points competition with a trevally worth 1477 points (1055 grams).

Steve Bland and Kate Jinnette each caught a whopping Snapper weighing 7440 grams and 3865 grams, respectively, to win the Senior Weight competitions.  Trevor Gleeson won the Senior Male Points competition with a salmon worth 1965 points (1965 grams) and Debra Orr won the Senior Female Points competition with a King George whiting worth 1302 points (465 grams). Paul Goodwin earned bragging rights in the Squid/Cuttlefish category with a southern calamari weighing 1235 grams, whilst Nicholas Stefanakis topped the shark competition with a gummy shark weighing 8675 grams.  David Soler claimed the secret weight prize after catching a 3415-gram snapper (secret weight 3362 grams).

The post-competition presentation on Sunday was a great celebration of participation, made successful with the efforts of the volunteers on the day. Many thanks to Frank and Paula who transformed the sea breeze with the tasty aroma of a charcoal spit roast, and the assistance from Jill, Nikky, Marina, Peter and Lorraine ensuring all in attendance were fed and hydrated.  Of course, with the generous assistance from RPIAC’s sponsors, including Bakers Delight Cowes and Kristos, the weekend closed with a fitting tribute to a club that, for 35 years, has been both a beacon for angling enthusiasts and a cornerstone of the Rhyll community. RPIAC encourages participation in recreational angling and children, aged 16 and under, receive complimentary membership to the angling competitions to develop skills and an interest in sustainable and responsible angling.  The next competition will be held over the weekend of the 14th / 15th of November 2023. 

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