The Canberra Native Cup 2014 was held over seven legs from the 6 February to the 13 March on every Thursday afternoon, with the top 20 anglers advancing to the finals in week eight.
This unique catch-and-release freshwater competition was started by Adam Samios of ‘My Two Hooks’ fame in an attempt to connect the angling community of Canberra, and also to encourage fishos to utilise one of Canberra’s most well stocked impoundments: Lake Ginnindera.
With thousands of dollars in prizes up for grabs, this year’s comp attracted over 50 semi-professional and amateur anglers. The tournament is going from strength to strength and has some excellent sponsors including The Compleat Angler, Shimano, BCF and Noxious Spinnerbaits to name but a few. With an overall cash prize of one thousand dollars, competition proved strong from the outset.
The first week of competition was fierce with every angler on the water searching for big points and taking advantage of the warmer weather. Points were awarded for longest Murray Cod and Golden Perch with points also awarded for the longest chosen pest of the week (either redfin or carp). Each angler was provided with a numbered brag mat to be used during each afternoon and returned at the end of the session.
The first week did not prove fruitful for most anglers, with many leaving empty handed. Some anglers were too disheartened and did not return but those who braved the rain over the following weeks were richly rewarded.
Lake Ginnindera turned it on from week two and in spite of some nasty weather many excellent captures were recorded, including a 45cm redfin and a 55cm yellowbelly. The larger cod remained elusive though until the final week of regular competition, when anglers started turning up with many specimens above 80cm.
Brendan Hawes proved that you don’t need a kayak or boat to compete with the big guns, winning several stages of the competition just by walking the bank and flicking lures and small worms and yabbies. Brendan was the first angler in the history of the competition to win both Largest Cod and Largest Perch in the same session, and took home two great prize packs from Compleat and Shimano. He finished second overall in the regular competition and did well in the finals.
The atmosphere of the competition was one of friendly rivalry, with many boats stopping to comment on shore-based captures and the odd shout from the shore to passing boats as they trolled the deeper sections of the lake. The festival-like nature of the competition created a sense of community over the eight weeks.
Adam Samios should be commended for creating a fishing competition which promotes the amazing native fishing in the ACT, and which lets local and interstate anglers discuss their experiences and build their knowledge of how to catch two of Australia’s most iconic freshwater sportfish. - Toby Grundy