For the 24th year, Snapper Point Angling Club has hosted its now famous Tea Tree Snapper Competition, on Melbourne Cup Weekend, November 2/3, 2007.
Many anglers regard this competition, being the first of the new snapper season, as a pointer to the prospects for the coming season, and rate it as a ‘must fish’ item on the calendar.
From feedback on the day, accolades must go to all of the members of this small club for their dedicated effort in succeeding with one of the biggest and best run competitions of its type held anywhere in Australia. Such a large competition, executed so well, is a tribute to supporters and sponsors, and is a blue print to be admired and studied.
There were a number of carrots dangled before 1767 competing anglers. Not only were there 78 prizes valued at approximately $500 each and totaling over $100,000 (including 3 boats), but the heaviest ‘big red’ entitled its captor to become Victorian Amateur Snapper Champion for 2007. In turn this lucky angler won for himself and four friends a trip to Whyalla, South Australia, to compete in the Australian Amateur Championships in March 2008.
The 1767 anglers, including 164 Juniors and 20 Catch and Release entrants, fished both Port Phillip Bay and Western Port from 746 boats. Fishing times were 2pm Friday until 2pm Saturday. Anglers were tested by the southeasterly sea breezes of 10–15 knots, land temperatures of 20oC, and water temperatures of approximately 16oC. In total 1240 fish was weighed, at an average of 0.70 per angler. Other contributing factors to the lower catch rate were the conservation-based rules put in place this year, with a minimum size of 40cm, and a competition limit of two fish per angler (these imposed limits are stricter than the state regulations).
Although only 168 fish from the total catch was from Western Port, but the Port returned the heaviest fish of the competition.
The heaviest weighed snapper was 8.8 kg taken by Martin Kraulis, who also caught the second heaviest fish of 8.2kg. The third heaviest snapper was caught by Doug Phayer, which pulled the scales down to 7.95kg.
Another double act of sorts featured Mathew Susic (6.32kg) and brother Michael (6.24kg) who won first and second in the junior section. Josh Williams took third place in the junior section with a nice 5.24 kg fish.
In the capture and release section, Brendan Wing caught a nice fish that bottomed out his 8kg scales. Photos of this fish, and other shots taken by Club photographer John Vincent, plus all results of the competition can be viewed on-line at www.teatreesnapper.org.au. – John Vincent
TEA TREE 2007 RESULTS
Open Section, heaviest snapper
First: Martin Kraulis, 8.80kg
(New Victorian Snapper Champion).
Second: Martin Kraulis, 8.24kg
Third: Doug Phayer, 7.95kg
Junior Section, heaviest snapper
First: Matthew Susic, 6.32kg
Second: Michael Susic, 6.24kg
Third: Josh Williams, 5.40kg
Random Draw winners
Open section (capture): Luke Beyer and Mick Colins
Catch and Release Section: Jye Ripari
Lucky draw: Warwick Dunlop
Total number of competitors: 1767, including 164 Juniors and 20 Catch and Release.
Total number of boats: 746
Total fish weighed in: 1240, including 168 from Westernport.
Average number of fish per competitor: 0.70