After about two months of exceptional offshore weather, the forecast leading up to the event looked as though it would be a struggle to even get competitors on the water. Despite the weather, there were still plenty of willing anglers at the Friday night briefing.
Strong SW winds were forecast for the morning, so competitors were reminded about the rules and safety procedures for the weekend and that competition would start at 5:30am, providing there was no Strong Wind Warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology. All the teams were then given their ‘goodie bags’ from the sponsors, and after some quick last minute conferencing about the weekend strategies most were off to bed ready for a big day on Saturday.
The wind was up early from the Southwest, but with the all clear from the Bureau the competition began. Despite the poor conditions, boats and kayaks still headed far in every direction to try and gain an edge on those big reds. Many of the more capable boats traveled a long way north of Coffs Harbour, which paid off for some and for others was a long way to travel for no fish.
Most boats only lasted half the day before the still waters of the Harbour became too enticing to rest their wind and wave wearied bodies and boats. Some who stuck it out for the day got their reward with some big fish landed in the afternoon, but there also were many stories of a hard and fishless day.
Kayakers launched at Diggers Beach and Sawtell, with Sawtell turning out the pick for the fish and possibly the conditions, too. After a long day at sea everyone’s photos were returned to the club and there was much talk about the tough fishing conditions and small fish, but the good fish were kept under wraps seeing as it was still just the first day.
After a long and hard day on Saturday, there were plenty of tired anglers up and ready to get at it on Sunday. Unfortunately the Bureau of Meteorology had called a strong wind warning for the area and the competition had to be called off for the day. A determined few still headed offshore during a break in the weather, but were soon forced in by worsening conditions.
That didn’t mean the fun was over for the day. The Shimano fish fighting simulator was in full swing. There were casting competitions for the kids and some freshly caught local fish in the Shimano display tank out the front.
There were many prizes provided by all the sponsors including a $50 voucher going to every Junior that entered the event. After the minor prizes were awarded it was time to head inside for a buffet dinner and the drawing of the major prizes including a $3700 sounder from Lowrance, a Stealth kayak from Fishing Tackle Australia and a boat and motor package from Evinrude E-Tec.
There was, of course, some trophies to be won also. Considering the conditions there was an impressive total of 122 snapper caught with an average size of 55.32cm.
The largest snapper came in at 88cm and was caught by Dominic Thornely who also won the open individual score and 3rd place in the Teams score with the Edgwater/Lowrance team.
Profishent came in second in the Teams event with Simrad/Evinrude coming in at the top spot for the 2014 event.
Congratulations to all the winners as well as everyone at the event, those who got out and especially those who caught fish under trying conditions.
Dave Irvine was a Northern NSW local. Dave was a big supporter of sustainable fishing, in particular catch and release fishing and was the inventor of the ‘Environets’ which improve survival for fish after being released. Unfortunately Dave passed away in 2007 at 44 years old.
The Dave Irvine Memorial Snapper Classic was created as a tribute to his contribution to sustainable fishing practices. The Irvine Classic is a unique competition in that it is a snapper ‘Catch, Photo and Release’ tournament. No fish are kept during the competition, all are released after being measured and photographed on a Bragmat (another of Dave’s inventions).
Fishing is with lures only, and strictly cast and retrieve, which almost always results in mouth hook ups, another factor in healthy catch and release fishing. The event is well supported by the sponsors with $50,000 worth of prizes given away this year, including a $15,000+ Quintrex boat and Evinrude E-Tec motor package.
All the prizes are drawn out of the barrel, with everyone in with a chance no matter how well you went at the fishing. It has been the respect for the fish, fun atmosphere and great prizes for all that has made it one of the most popular and enjoyable fishing events for offshore anglers in Australia.
It is also set to continue to grow as some exciting new prospects were announced this year including the possibility of adding some species to the target list to enable more anglers to be involved.
|3rd||83cm||Robert Young||Team Serenity|
|1st||3134||Simrad/Evinrude||Tim Angos, Michael Bonnici & Chris Cleaver.|
|2nd||2525||Profishent||Trent Killmore, Sondel Benson, Scott Brown.|
|3rd||1351||Edgewater/Lowrance||Jarrod Beven, Dominic Thornely.|
|1st||465||Chloe Taylor||Team Costa|
|1st||359||Stephen Worley||The Scuppers|
|2nd||120||Dale Johnson||The Scuppers|
|3rd||95||Robert Moore||Wet Nuts|
|1st||170||Shaun Cameron||Team Stinginn|