Fishing Competition 14th & 15th October 2023

The Rhyll-Phillip Island Angling Club’s (RPIAC) second angling competition for the 2023/2024 season was held over the weekend of the 14th and 15th of October.  Battling suboptimal conditions, valiant anglers faced off against rough and windy weather, which stretched their skills and patience. But as the old angler’s adage goes, a challenge thrown by the elements only amplifies the thrill of the catch!

The season, boasting 12 weekend-long competitions, is in full swing and all RPIAC members are heartily invited to participate. Juniors even get a golden ticket (complementary RPIAC membership) so they can develop their fishing skills and go straight to the Squidgie and Junior championship arenas.

Despite Mother Nature trying to play spoilsport, the lure of the snapper season kept our fisherfolk on their toes. And let’s be honest, who needs an umbrella when you’ve got a fishing rod? Alex Bowden, RPIAC’s Weigh-in Master, and Chris Leonardos, the Club Captain with a penchant for large catches, entered a total of 27 fish, one shark and two calamari during the 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm weigh-in hustle on Saturday and Sunday.

The Squidgie’s competition, for budding anglers aged 9 or younger, was uncontested.  A tide of post-competition excitement grew with the presentation for the Junior Competition, for anglers aged 10 to 16.  Denver Firth, the reigning Junior Club Champion, won the Junior Points competition with a stranger whiting worth 600 points (150g).

In the Senior division, Duncan Firth, the current Senior Club Champion, won the heaviest weight for males with a snapper tipping the scales at 5040 grams. Tenille Preddice, matriarch of the Firth family, topped the female category with her snapper weighing 3755 grams.  The Senior Points competition saw Duncan Firth and Tenille Preddice each clinching the lead with King George whiting scoring 1386 points (495g) and 1568 points (560g), respectively.

Clearly, when it comes to the Firths, fishing isn’t just a sport, it’s becoming a family tradition. With a broad grin, the Club Captain commented, “The Firths are a triple threat! Duncan’s masterclass, Denver’s budding expertise, and now Tenille’s stellar win – they’re making it a family hat-trick! I’ve got half a mind to join their next family picnic, maybe some of their angling luck will rub off on me.”

With Dad holding his championship title, Denver ruling the junior waters, and Mum now on the winners’ board, the RPIAC is left in delightful suspense: What’s next for the Firth family? Is there a family fishing mantra they chant? Or perhaps a secret bait recipe? RPIAC members are playfully plotting to get a sneak peek into the Firth family’s tackle box. All in good fun, of course!

Vinco Anticevic reeled in victory in the Shark competition with a gummy shark weighing 3990g. Duncan Firth showed versatility by winning the Squid/Cuttlefish competition with a southern calamari weighing 1370g. Debra Orr’s snapper of 2895g, inched closest to the secret weight of 2655g, sealing her win in the Secret Weight competition.

No competition is complete without a hearty meal and RPIAC celebrated the generosity of Bakers Delight Cowes and Kristos Charcoal Rotisserie Cowes for the delectable post-competition feast – the true unsung heroes behind every successful angler’s strength!

The RPIAC Extraordinary Catch Incentives remain untamed and the members-only, competition weekend, $1000 first-to-catch prizes for senior competitors stay banked.  The incentives up for grabs are for eligible species that equal or exceed the nominated weight and include King George Whiting (1000 grams), Snapper (10.0 kilograms), Gummy Shark (20.0 kilograms), Mulloway (25.0 kilograms) and Kingfish (25.0 kilograms). With two rounds down and a deluge of 10 more to come, the Club Champion titles remain as slippery as a wet fish. Mark your calendars for a splashing good time on the 28th and 29th of October 2023, where the third competition coincides with RPIAC’s double anniversary: 35 years strong, and 25 years at the clubroom adjacent to the Rhyll boat ramp. RPIAC’s clubroom is open to members and visitors on Fridays (from 5 pm) and competition weekends coinciding with weigh in. 

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