The 25th Fraser Island Fishing Classic was a much anticipated event as 1500 anglers pre-booked holidays and accommodation for one of Queensland’s premier fishing events.
An unashamed environmental awareness message is part of the event and in association with some serious sponsors, the event went off without a hitch and all competitors enjoyed the special 25th Anniversary entertainment.
With the weather threatening and 1500 anglers to move there’s generally a good crowd of onlookers settled along the beach awaiting their chance to be entertained in the Aussie way of applause for the numerous amount of misfortunes of others while they re-load.
Even though at the same time there are some nice table fish kept, it’s great to see such a focus in the expo on the catch and release side of things also, especially with the number of younger anglers there. Enthusiastic involvement from the DPI Fisheries and National Parks also helped promote this growing section of the tournament.
Event organiser from Toyota, Simon Clarke, said that, “aside from the 770 caught, weighed and released - nearly 500 fish were measured and used for research in the DPI and Fisheries Long Term Monitoring Program, which is a vital way to help monitor the local fish stocks and assess the effectiveness of fisheries management strategies from the Fraser coast.”
The Expo runs for seven days and, weather permitting, a normal daily routine involved competitors getting up early, heading out fishing, returning and weighing in the afternoon, back to camp to clean up and then to the competition site for the night’s entertainment and prizes.
The competition site is situated just inland from the seaside at Orchid Beach. Leading out from a main stage, similar to that of what you would envisage an outdoor concert setting to be like, a ring of shelters with products, displays, food and drinks circle the perimeter around the crowd space.
There are two large screens either side of the stage that nightly air the day’s events, and the more anticipated unfortunate mishaps encountered by competitors. Laughs lift through the crowd with the vision of bloopers, as boats being reversed are mistimed and dropped on the sand and the like.
We weren’t too sure on what to expect from our trip up there from Brisbane, and arriving at Inskip Point we boarded the Manta Ray barge for our 15 minute ferry ride across to the World Heritage Island that this popular event has now called home for 25 years.
Travelling later in the afternoon around low tide, the beach was near deserted, and the turquoise waves peeled alongside us travelling up the island to our campsite.
It was nearly sunset by the time we had reached the Maheno Wreck, just past the crystal running water of Eli Creek, and after pulling up to watch a pair of dingoes on the dunes, we soon had to move on to Orchid Beach with darkness soon to set in.
Up with the sound of bustling vehicles, we had a quick coffee and made our way down the sand track leading out to the dune cutting onto the beach. With the sun starting to rise over the horizon, it soon opened the view of an eye opening amount of boating entrants lined up and waiting their turn to reverse up to slide their boat in the deep running gutter that sheltered them from the rolling surf.
Other than the boating entrants, there were also the others who chose to travel up and pick their spot to cast in for a hopeful catch from the beach.
The majority of their days up there are spent trying to tempt the local fish populations with their assortment of baits and lures, and although it does take you a little by surprise at the number of visitors to the event, it is limited to 1500 entries.
As the day progresses into the afternoon, a steady stream of boats make their way back to the launching site and welcome notes. There are random draw prize giveaways for some very, very lucky competitors, and as the week progress so do the prizes, ranging from ice-boxes and freezers, to Dunlop/Goodyear tyres, a Cruise Craft boat with Yamaha outboard, and a Toyota Yaris and Hilux 4x4.
The weather was ideal for the first half of the week, although towards the end, a large low-pressure system had moved in closer from the northeast. Conditions quite rapidly turned to strong winds and very heavy rain, which did shower down the salt spray down off the trail of 4WDs and boats as they made their way back down the island and to head home at the end of the event.
A great time was had by all, and at the end of the week, prizes were awarded to the winners of the different divisions. Results can be viewed on www.toyota.com.au/fraserisland, and more pics and info on www.thegallboys.com .
There is a great feel of social and recreational interaction between friends and family, and was such an enjoyable break to appreciate a break away from work in one of the most gorgeous spots that our country boasts
Catch and Weigh
11.05kg, Peter Dusi, Smiths Creek8.15kg, Jan Lindh, Gympie7.15kg, Paul Box, Bargara
13.45kg, Daniel Lake, Tamborine11.05kg, Chris Thurlby, Dulong10.3kg, Mark Alderson, Thornlands
15kg, Ole Florager, Kangaroo Point14.6kg, Cory Ford, Margate14.4kg, Douglas Sanderson, Craignish
8.05kg, Greg Barnett, Redland Bay7.4kg, Jason Comino, Sandgate7.25kg, David Hinz, Nikenbah
0.91kg, Nigel Goodchild, Pomona0.652kg, Damien Pollock, Caloundra0.638kg Adrian Gray, Brighton
Sweetlip (Red Throat)
5.3kg, David Blanckensee, Rochedale4.854kg, David Palermo, Thornside4.482kg, Richard Love, Buccan
2.885kg, Leslie Nichols, Banora Point2.64kg, Leslie Nichols, Banora Point2.539kg, Paul Box, Bargara
Wahoo or Spanish Mackeral
25kg, Stephen Dunn, McGraths Hill22.85kg, Bruno Zigliotto, Noosaville20.8kg, Scott Morton, Clontarf
Venus Tusk Fish
4.585kg, Allan Donovan, Bribie Island4.353kg, Sean Keegan, Upper Caboolture4kg, Brendon Schroeder, Flinders View
Catch, Weigh and Release
1.082kg, Russell Donpon, Dalby1.054kg, Russell Donpon, Dalby1.02kg, Michael Benson, Scarborough
2.242kg, Ian Garret, Booral2.238kg, Lorraine Campbell, Booral2.148kg, Tim Hetherington, Toomulla Beach
0.97kg, Christopher Flynn, Arana Hills0.856kg, Josh Thorne, Broadbeach0.084kg, Christopher Flynn, Arana Hills
0.55 kg, Ed Gravestein, Kenmore0.418kg, Clayton Francis, Cooroy0.412kg, Peter Dusi, Smiths Creek
0.82kg, Stephen Tierney, Burrill Lake0.67kg, Melton Erickson, Yandina0.638kg, Graeme Swanson, Kenmore
Faxct Box 3
The Gall Boys
The Gall Boys are a bunch of super keen 4WDers, campers and anglers who just love getting out into our great outdoors. Their website (www.gallboys.com.au) showcases just about everything they do.
With the backing of Kedron Caravans and Toyota, the Gall Boys have produced a sensational Cape York safari DVD titled The Gall Boys Far NQ Adventure. They also write for various off road, 4WD and camping magazines detailing road trips, products and developments.
If you’re into the rough and tumble of off road adventures, check out the website.