The annual Snapper Point Angling Club (SPAC) Tea Tree Snapper Festival was run and won for another year on 30 and 31 October. For many anglers on both bays, the Tea Tree marks the start of their annual snapper pilgrimage and brings many fishers of all ages together in their quest to catch the biggest, and the even more elusive secret weight fish.
The competition is a real credit to the members of SPAC in terms of the sheer size and scale of the event, and also the following that it receives from the anglers. The support of the event sponsors and supporters must also be recognized, because without both, such an event would not be possible each year.
A whopping 1523 competitors were registered this year, which included 159 juniors. An impressive 717 teams competed for the prize pool, and the right to be crowned 2015 Victorian Snapper champion.
Friday’s start saw light winds on both bays in the morning, with a strong southeasterly wind gathering momentum at the end of the day. Still, 401 fish were weighed in on Friday night, of these 260 were caught in Western Port. Saturday saw more still conditions at the beginning of the day, but a massive thunderstorm swept across both bays, bringing heavy rain just after sunrise. The rain quickly cleared however, and a further 959 fish were presented to the weighmaster, with 687 of them coming from Western Port.
The presentation was held under clear skies at Mornington Racecourse, with a massive crowd of anglers and spectators in attendance. Fishing personalities like Paul Worstelling, and others were also on hand to sign a few autographs, and share their knowledge with the competitors.
An impressive total of 1360 snapper were presented to the weighmaster during the event, of which 947 came from Western Port. The three biggest fish all came from Western Port, with one fish in excess of 10kg also coming from Port Phillip Bay. The average number of fish per competitor was 0.893.
The winner of the Open section was John Close from Boronia, with a 12.7kg monster. John is the new Victorian snapper champion. Second heaviest was Theo Hatzis from Pakenham with a 10.23kg fish, and third Norman Kemp from Cranbourne North 10.11kg.
The junior section was won by Natalie Bills from Willow Grove with a 9.51kg fish, second heaviest was Jai Evans from Carrum Downs with a 7.34kg fish, and third was Skye Lutwyche from Springvale South with a ripper 6.68kg snapper.
The first random capture boat prize was won by Alex Broulidakis with a 3.46kg snapper. Theo took home a 4.3m Quintrex Fish About, Suzuki 40hp four-stroke boat package, with Lowrance sounder, Dunbier trailer, safety gear, rego, insurance and many extras from JV Marine World.
The second random capture prize was taken home by Phillip Andis with a 1.85kg fish. Phillip drove away with a 4m Quintrex Dart, 30hp Suzuki two stroke package, complete with Dunbier trailer, safety gear, rego and insurance from JV Marine World.
The third random capture boat prize was won by Jeff Raymond, with a lovely 1.507kg snapper. Jeff took home a neat little 3.7 Quintrex Dart, 15hp Suzuki two-stroke, Quintrex Trailer, safety gear, rego and insurance, all compliments of JV Marine World.
All the winning competitors took home ripper prize packages, and lots of great fishing gear from the many different sponsors of the event. While the numbers of competitors was down on last year, the competition was a resounding success once again, and is a true testament to the mountains of work put in by the members of the SPAC and all the events supporters and sponsors.
The continuing support and participation of the anglers of this event is also a real indication of the popularity and value of the snapper to our recreational fishery. The size and quality of the fish from both bays is also a real indication of the health and vitality of our snapper fishery. It’s great to see the local fishing community getting behind this massive event and making it a real success for all involved at the Snapper Point Angling Club. – Wayne FriebeReads: 859