No laughing matter as classic catch leads to new boat

ANDREW Jefferies proved yesterday it’s not the size of the fish that matters, it’s all in the luck of the draw. 

After landing a 39-centimetre salmon off Port Fairy, Mr Jefferies was laughed at when he said it would win him a boat as part of the Shipwreck Coast Fishing Classic. 

He had the last laugh yesterday afternoon when he hitched up his new boat, complete with trailer and motor, and headed home to Deniliquin. 

The annual fishing classic which started on March 1 attracted 650 entries, 200 up on last year. 

Two boats were offered as grand prizes in a raffle-style competition: one for anyone who entered the competition and the other available for anyone who caught and weighed an eligible fish. 

Mr Jefferies said luckily he had brought a car that was capable of towing home his prize. 

“One of the local guys I know from here has been at me for years to come down and fish this competition,” he said. 

“I organise a comp up home and he’s been up and fished mine, so I returned the favour. 

“When I said that the salmon would win me a boat they all said ‘you’re dreaming’. I said ‘it’s all the luck of the draw’, and put it in the keep tank. 

“Now I’m heading home with a new boat.” 

The second boat went to 14-year-old Harry Rantall, from Warrnambool, and although he had to get his dad to tow it home for him, Harry said it was his prize. “Dad’s not allowed to lay claim on it,” he said. 

“I’ve fished in this competition before, but only won a couple of little prizes, nothing like this though.” 

Warrnambool Offshore and Light Game Fishing Club spokesman Ben Pohlner said the 10-day competition had been a great success, culminating in yesterday’s final weigh-in, presentations and sustainable fishing expo. 

He said the heaviest catch was a 2.56-metre, 132.5-kilogram mako shark, caught off Warrnambool by Peter Mahony on Sunday. 

“We had 29 categories and every one was filled except for the junior kingfish. We’ve given away about $64,000 in prizes,” Mr Pohlner said. 

“Other catches of note were a 19.75-kilo tuna, 7.05-kilogram yellowtail kingfish, 21.35-kilogram gummy shark and 5.6kg snapper.

“Having the sustainable fishing expo down at the presentations yesterday was fantastic as well to really drive home that sustainability message.” 

Marine, estuarine or freshwater fish caught between Port Campbell and Yambuk were eligible for prizes. 

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