We are in the depths of winter on the Cape and I have currently set a new record – I have not worn a jacket or coat yet this year! Ridiculous I know, but other than 3 or 4 cool (18ºC) mornings, the winter so far has been beautiful. However, the wind has more than made up for it and is probably the reason for the lack of morning chill.
As per usual the wind really decided to get up just days prior to the 2013 Weipa Fishing Classic, held over the weekend of the 7-9 June. Southeast winds in excess of 25 knots greeted organisers and competitors, but did little to dampen anyone’s spirit.
The huge event went off without a hitch and there were some cracking fish weighed in on both fishing days over the weekend. A record 2168 entrants made it the biggest Classic so far, and next year looks to be even bigger and better.
Held on the sports grounds at Weipa’s Western Cape College, huge crowds were treated to plenty of action. The always interesting weigh-in at 5pm, right through to some top live entertainment in the evening.
Undoubtedly it’s the numerous random prize draws and drawing of the ‘Final 30’ prize winners that’s the real hit with entrants and spectators. Over the course of the weekend 30 numbers from 1-2168 are drawn and on Sunday night these lucky 30 are taken on stage and are counted down randomly and handed great prizes until the last 3 are left.
This year in third place and taking home a flawless Rio Tinto Diamond was Liz Williams. In second place taking home a Honda TRX ATV, was Marcellina Adams. Number 1 in the draw was young Gabby Hyytinen who is now (or dad) the lucky owner of a 5.45m Plate alloy Allison Arufura boat Yamaha motor and trailer package. Great prizes, and they had to do to get in the draw is buy a ticket and get up to the stage smartly when your name is drawn – you don’t even have to wet a line.
Fishing wise there were some really nice fish taken, considering the weather in the river and offshore. Fishers that put in the hard yards were the most rewarded with those doing overnighters picking up some quality reef fish at different bite times throughout the night.
Good tides kept the fish moving in the many rivers that surround Weipa and all the different fish categories were hotly contested at the weigh in each afternoon.
To finish this month’s report I have a tribute to long time Weipa visitor and avid fisherman Norman Gannon, who sadly passed away on 21 June at Weipa hospital aged 90.
Known by his mates as ‘The Grunter Hunter’, Norm and his wife Shirley would travel to Weipa every year from the Gold Coast. Veterans of over 20 years at the Weipa Campground the couple would set up a comfortable long-term camp and see out the winter fishing and crabbing mostly in his beloved Mission River.
Fishing out of a small tinnie, Norm and Shirley would spend most days chasing golden snapper and grunter in the local estuaries while the crab pots soaked.
Fishing as a competitor in this year’s Fishing Classic, Norm and his Grandson James managed a place in the heaviest Grunter category, a great effort for a bloke 90 years of age.Reads: 1234