Angling Competition December 5-6th, 2020

The Macquarie Dictionary defines “extraordinary” as “beyond what is ordinary; out of the regular or established order”. Indeed, extraordinary describes the 5th Rhyll-Phillip Island Angling Club (RPIAC) competition for the 2020/2021 season for many reasons.
With the start of summer, angling members had high expectations for the competition held over the weekend of the 5th and 6th of December. Everyone hoped for fine weather, however the Bureau of Meteorology forecasted adverse conditions and issued marine wind warnings. Somehow, the collective optimism of angling enthusiasts overwhelmed the forces of nature and delivered suitable weather for boating and angling for Saturday. One wonders, is that extraordinary?
Considering the angling club’s closure since March becoming the status quo, perhaps the easing of the Victorian Government’s coronavirus restrictions could be described as extraordinary. Certainly, Saturday’s reopening of the RPIAC clubroom, with QR code check in and a density limit of one person per two square metres, was deeply appreciated by all patrons enjoying the familiar faces and surroundings. The club has taken appropriate measures, rearranging seating, displaying signage, and requiring face masks to be used for service and to reduce risks.
Despite the weather on Sunday being a “write-off” for fishing, a total of 26 fish were weighed in over the weekend. Whilst this is somewhat impressive, one achievement was truly extraordinary, leaving onlookers agape with amazement. The first to catch, members only, competition weekend Extraordinary Catch incentives for five eligible species has paid out for the first time to Chris Leonardos, for a magnificent mulloway that weighed in at 33,800 grams (33.8 kilograms), exceeding the nominated 25.0 kilogram-mark and smashing the previous club record of 21,140 grams set in the 1997/1998 season.
Now, in its third year, the RPIAC’s Extraordinary Catch Incentive has only 4 eligible species remaining for a first-to-catch $1,000 prize, for fish equal to or exceeding the nominated weight: King George Whiting (1,000 grams), Snapper (10.0 kilograms), Gummy Shark (20.0 kilograms), and Kingfish (25.0 kilograms).
At the conclusion of weigh in on Sunday, the post-competition presentation celebrated the achievements of all anglers and attendees were delighted with a detailed and animated presentation from Chris Leonardos, describing his mulloway battle with a moment by moment recollection. It appears that the beast darted to the left and the fishing rod pulsed with fury. The fishing reel screamed under the strain and the creature moved to the right. Beneath the boat, around the boat and almost tangling with the anchor, a battle ensued. Ultimately this ended with Chris in the boat, flat on his back with a catch of a lifetime lying on top of him. Still in shock a day afterwards, Chris was amused by attendees suggesting that it may have been a mermaid.
Without doubt, this fishing tale will only get better with time and the angling club will be telling this one for some time. For the record, the fish was 158 cm long with a girth of 93 cm and was photographed with Chris, who is 176 cm tall (girth not disclosed). At the time of writing, it was not clear whether this is also a state or national record.
Reigning Squidgie Club Champion, Denver Firth, braved the conditions and tested his skills in the competition for participants aged nine or younger. Denver was incredibly pleased to win the Squidgie Mixed Bag Points competition after catching 3 fish, totalling 60 points. Second place was awarded to Piper Nicolaci with 2 fish, worth 35 points.
The Junior competition celebrated Brinkley Nicolaci’s achievements and again she triumphed in both the Junior Weight and Junior Points competitions, weighing in a 1,265-gram Snapper and a King George whiting, worth 1,050 points (375 grams).
The male Senior Heaviest Weight competition, Extraordinary Catch incentive for mulloway and new club record were all awarded to Chris Leonardos for his 33,800-gram mulloway. The female Senior Heaviest weight competition was awarded to Leah Valente for a snapper weighing 775 grams. The Senior Points competitions were won by Pat Gleeson and Debra Orr, for presenting their catches to the weigh-in masters, a trevally worth 1,491 points (1065 grams) and a King George whiting worth 784 points (280 grams), respectively. The Senior Shark competition was uncontested, and the Secret Weigh prize was awarded to Albert Abram, for a 415-gram snapper (secret weight 512 grams).
The next competition will be held over the weekend of the 9th / 10th of January 2021. For further information about the club, events, competitions and rules, please visit the website: www.rpiac.com

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