OVER the last 14 years the Kirkleagh Klassic Family Fishing Competition has become one of the biggest freshwater fishing tournaments in Australia.
With cash and prizes up for grabs and the chance to fish on one of Queensland's premier freshwater impoundments, it’s little wonder that competitors come back year after year.
The large camping area has great facilities, with several amenity blocks that have hot showers that never run cold and clean toilets. Electric BBQs under shelter, drinking water and firewood are provided, and there will be hot food and cold drinks for sale on site for anyone who doesn't want to bring their own cooking gear. Competitors will also be treated to night entertainment under a massive marquee.
Launching at Kirkleagh is a breeze with six-lane boat ramps in two locations (handy if conditions are windy), and there are many places where campers can set up on the edge of the lake and pull their boat up on the bank right next to their camp. There is also a boat ramp at the front of the lake at The Spit.
In the past organisers have leased the entire Kirkleagh Recreation Area from the water board. As there is now a private enterprise operating Kirkleagh this arrangement is no longer possible. Competitors in the Kirkleagh Klassic won't need to purchase the SEQWC boating permits that apply to normal visitors, but there’s a camping fee of $5 per night (normally $12) charged by the operators of the Kirkleagh Tourist Park to offset the cost of grounds maintenance.
There are several different competition divisions. The main competition is based on a secret length system (secret weight in the past) so those who catch the biggest fish are not necessarily the winners. The available categories are bass, golden perch, silver perch and eel tailed catfish in senior and junior divisions. Note there are no divisions for Mary River cod or saratoga as we are trying to establish breeding populations of these rare fish in Lake Somerset.
The Kirkleagh Klassic is also attractive to sports-minded anglers. There is a catch and release section where extra incentive prizes are on offer for anglers who choose to release their fish.
There will be a special catch-and-release-only tent situated on the lake edge so anglers can bring in their catch for measuring without leaving their boats. A suitable livewell must be used for this division, as the judges may reject any fish that aren’t in good condition. The catch and release concept has been getting more popular as the years go by, why not give it a try?
Any tilapia caught should be destroyed and disposed of in bins provided at the campground.
Prepaid entrants can pick up their entry pass at the staging area at Kirkleagh. There will be a pre-competition briefing held at the staging area at 5am on Saturday. All competitors must attend to get their name/number ticked off before going fishing. As there are different rules this year, it is important for everyone to attend. The use of on-water marshals, who will be able to measure and release fish for competitors’ convenience, will be trialled this year. These marshals will be identified at the pre-competition briefings.
There will be another briefing at 8am for any late arrivals. Anyone jumping the gun on the start won't be able to measure-in any fish until they attend a briefing.
The 2004 Kirkleagh Klassic will be held on the weekend of October 16-17 at the Kirkleagh Recreation Area, Lake Somerset. Entry fees are $30 for seniors and $5 for juniors. All money raised goes directly towards fish stocking initiatives in lakes Somerset, Wivenhoe, Atkinsons Dam and surrounding waters. In the last Kirkleagh Klassic, over $14,000 was raised for fish stocking. Without this annual event, the sponsors and the entrants, the great fishing on offer in the Brisbane Valley Region would not be what it is today.
For more information or to receive an entry form, contact Garry Fitzgerald on 0412 161 169. Hope to see you there. – SWFSAReads: 911