The fifth annual Echuca-Moama RSL and Citizens Club Fishing Classic was held over the weekend of 31 March to 2 April. 930 anglers headed to the mighty Murray River around Echuca-Moama to pit their skills against the resident native fish.
The competitors used everything from deep diving lures and spinnerbaits to pieces cheese as they chased the fish. Trolling was one of the most popular methods amongst competitors.
The biggest Murray cod stretched to 110cm – taken by Bryan Pygall who snagged it on the Sunday morning, right under the main road bridge. Bryan was trolling a yellow and red Yarrum Legend Lure when he caught the winning fish.
This year’s event promoted catch and release, a practise that is fast gaining popularity in fishing competitions.
Marshals patrolled the competition waters using two-way radios, so competitors could quickly weigh and release their fish.
Three boat, motor and trailer packages were up for grabs as well as raffle prizes and a bonus $5,000 secret weight draw that was open to any angler who had a native fish measured. Prizes were also on offer for seniors and juniors.
Peter Caldwell was named champion senior angler after compiling a 209cm overall length of legal fish. Peter now has his name on the perpetual trophy and won a $400 rod and reel package. He was also lucky enough to pocket the $5,000 bonus secret weight draw.
Mathew Middlebrook, who caught a 78cm Murray cod on a purple and black StumpJumper, won champion junior angler and received a $300 rod and reel package. Mathew became a regular on the presentation stage when he also won longest cod for his category and a secret weight prize.
Other winners were: Dylan Gascoine with the longest yellowbelly at 47cm, Robert Dunn who won a $6,900 B/M/T package thanks to his registered legal cod, Steve Nikolovski who won the registration tag raffle and received a $5,800 B/M/T package and John Rae who won the major raffle prize of a $15,000 B/M/T package. Ironically, John told me that he doesn’t normally fish but might take it up now that he has a great fishing platform.
These sorts of community fishing competitions wouldn’t exist without the help of sponsors, so thanks to Evinrude BRP, the Stargames Corporation, Brown Brothers Wine, Echuca-Moama RSL & Citizens Club, Gary at Gone Fishin’ & Murray River Marine and Dave Hodge for keeping the crowds entertained with his casting demonstrations.
Next year’s competition will be held between 23 and 25 March.
The Club demonstrated their on-going commitment to stocking the Murray River when they released 4,500 Murray cod and 8,200 golden perch fingerlings into the system, a couple of days after the competition.
Ron Stockdale, the Club’s Chief Executive Officer, and Bruce Whittaker, Club Supervisor and Fish Release Co-ordinator, were present for the release at the 5 Mile boat ramp. The release was conducted under the supervision of the Uarah Fish Hatchery from Grong Grong in NSW.Reads: 1806