River to Reef Success
  |  First Published: December 2006

The 2006 AMM River to Reef Fishing Classic with the North Coast International Boat Show was held from 9-12 November on the Sunshine Coast. All competitors received free entry to the Boat Show, a big step up on last year’s event. Truckloads of boats with everything from tinnies to luxury crafts were on display. There were also plenty of information stands with helpful hints and products for all to purchase and learn about.

A record number of both junior and senior anglers set out to get their part of the $60,000 in prizes on offer. The winds started up on the night of the 9th, and by weigh-in time on Friday estuary fishers started to weigh in flathead, whiting, bream, dart, mulloway and some small cod. The large Squidgy show live bait tank was big enough to host all of the weigh-ins.

A change in categories meant senior anglers could compete in the overall champion, beach and estuary and offshore sections whilst juniors competed in the same areas within their age group. The biggest prizes was the AMM 4.55 CV Custom built plate aluminium with a 40hp Yamaha motor and a colour sounder donated by Caloundra Outboards. Gordon Slade was the lucky winner of this boat. Mitch Jensen won the junior draw was scored a new Viking Kayak with all the accessories you could imagine.

The overall champion section was a struggle and the leader board changed over 20 times over the four day period. The Champion angler category is assessed by the number and size of every species that are weighed-in. Points are given as a percentage of size all judged by a set minimum weight. So, if the weight of a snapper is 10kg for 1 point, then any angler bringing a fish in under that set weight gains a percentage point to be added to their total.

Saturday had the best weather and a constant stream of boats went in and out bringing in the best fish they had on board and then heading out again to catch another. By the time evening came over 40 boats could be easily seen on the reefs around Murphy’s. Over 60 boats stayed out late and overnight at the Barwon Banks in search of the prize winning fish.

The Sunday afternoon weigh-in saw some monster fish being put to the scales including a 30kg+ cobia and a mighty 9kg+ snapper. Cliffy Andreassen took out the tailor section and when asked what was his secret was, he said, “anyone can catch them if they have a bottle of rum and stay out deep in to the night”.

Overall the AMM River to Reef Fishing Classic was a great success and I am sure many anglers will agree. Let’s hope to see everyone back next year to increase the record number of participants and assist the great work that the Recreation Association for the Disabled (R.A.D.) does within the community. RAD takes out handicapped children and young adults fishing on a daily basis and only work on donations throughout the year so their major fund raiser the River to Reef is extremely important to them. – Brad McKendrick

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