Make a Wish Flathead Challenge
  |  First Published: November 2004

Team Pig Lures 1 (Shane Gartner and Peter Lyne of the Gold Coast) claimed their third team title in this year’s Make a Wish Flathead Challenge, held on the weekend of September 11-12 in Caloundra.

Lyne, with 638 points, beat his team-mate by just 16 points to win the Champion Angler title. With each centimetre of fish worth a point, their team aggregate of 1260 points is the equivalent of 12.6m of flathead!

During two days of fishing, 38 teams caught 275 fish, all of which were measured and released. Numerous fish over 70cm were caught, with the largest being an 86cm monster by Ken Mallett from Deception Bay of Team Happy Hour. Just to make sure he claimed the prize for that category, Ken got a second fish of the same size.

The runners-up in the team event were Croc Hunters of Caloundra, comprising John Maslen (516 points) and Cameron Muir (457 points), for a total of 973 points. The highest scoring junior was Craig Dover of Kingaroy (405 points) who teamed with his father Bob in Team Reel Big.

The major prize, for which all competitors were entered in a draw, was a 15’6” canoe sponsored by Fish n Canoes, fitted out with a Minn Kota electric motor and Piranha Sounder and was won by Mike Hollows of Team Plastic Spastics. The early entry prize draw was won by Ross Smith of Team Rat Catcher. Sponsored prizes were valued at about $11,000.

Conditions on Pumicestone Passage were ideal on the first day of the tournament and teams were able to fish an outgoing tide with little wind for most of the day. Club marshals, who patrolled the entire contest area, were kept flat out as green flags, indicating that fish were caught, were continually being hoisted. One marshal said it looked like green mushrooms were popping up all over Pumicestone Passage. Of the 275 fish caught and released, 199 were taken on the first day. On the second day, with fewer hours fished and a strong southerly wind making the going harder, 76 fish were caught.

Shane Gartner, skipper of the victorious Team Pig Lures 1, said the key to their success was being consistent in their trolling technique and thoroughly working the middle areas of Pumicestone Passage with hard-bodied lures in trout and gold colours.

Overall, the tournament was a credit to the Lure and Fly Anglers Club, the tournament’s sponsors, the Make a Wish committee, and the Caloundra City Council. Plans are already being made for next year’s tournament and indications are that all 38 teams who competed this year will be back.

Organised by the Lure and Fly Anglers Club Sunshine Coast, this event raised about $5000 for the Make A Wish Foundation Sunshine Coast Branch and is being hailed as the most successful of the four tournaments held to date. More information can be obtained by calling Lindsay Adcock on (07) 5445 2172 or e-mail at --e-mail address hidden-- - Peter Skinner


2. Team Pig Lures 1, Shane Gartner, left, and Peter Lyne, from the Gold Coast, congratulate each other after taking the team title for the third time. Lyne also won best angler. Their team total was 1260 points. (Photo: Peter Skinner).

4. Ken Mallett of Team Happy Hour, Deception Bay, was very proud of this 86cm flathead, the biggest of the tournament. He landed another of exactly the same size. (Photo: Peter Skinner).

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