Wivenhoe paddle convention a success

The 2nd annual Wivenhoe Kayak and Canoe Fishing Convention was held in spectacular spring conditions on the weekend of September 12 and 13 with the event HQ located at Captain Lumley’s Camp, Logans Inlet.

With over 100 entrants attending this years event, a total of $3153.48 was raised for the Somerset and Wivenhoe Fish Stocking Association. This amount almost triples the figure raised in 2008 and is a great
indication of the growing popularity of this event.

Sweetwater fishing legend Garry Fitzgerald spent months organising and planning the two day catch, photograph and release fishing tournament that attracted a raft of big name sponsors and over $10,000 in prizes.

With the majority of punters setting up camp on the friday night, an unofficial meet and greet, safety discussion and local fishing roundup whet many anglers appetite for Saturday’s mandatory 6am badge call.

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Comp day one dawned with blue skies and a flat expanse of human and electric powered fishing perfection. The next six hours would prove to deliver a mixed bag for intrepid kayak and canoe anglers (or Hayes Landing key holders) striking sizeable schools of bass around the Billies Bay area numbering 20-30 fish per angler.

At the same time, fishers who travelled further up the dam weren’t quite so lucky with only occasional, but nicer sized fish taken. At the end of day 1, Danny Wong topped the leaderboard with a 53cm bass and Geoff Seeto brought home the day’s biggest golden perch at 57cm. Because no individual angler managed one of each species on the Saturday, the competition was by no means sealed.

Sunday’s tourney opened with a heavy fog that left those anglers without GPS running sweetwater donuts in near zero visibility. By 9am much of the fog had lifted and once again, anglers at the lower reaches of the dam were treated to the most consistent action in truly superb ‘yakking conditions.

When the collectively weary kayak and canoe anglers returned for the final presentation and prize draws, Chris Howell took the title as the overall tournament winner on 133 points. Overall second place and Sundays biggest bass (56cm) went to Danny Wong at 109 points, while Douglas Carroll took out an overall third with 104 points. Sunday’s biggest golden perch was won by Gordon Low on countback (50cm) while Allisson Sewell claimed 1st position as highest ranking female angler and 4th position overall. Winner of the random Major Draw and motorised Ocean Kayak Angler Peekaboo was Sel McLennan.

To complement the competitive aspects of the convention, a seemingly endless pool of social activities took place on Saturday afternoon. Highlights included inspiring spin and baitcast workshop by the Barefoot Fisherman, Dave Hodge, and a fly fishing seminar hosted by legend Gordon Low at the camp HQ.

At the waterline, Craig McSween and Jason Milne conducted a highly informative kayak safety course. Matt Johnson of SEQFish later invited convention delegates to take part in a restocking and awareness program on behalf of the Wivenhoe and Somerset Fish Stocking Association, where a total of 5500 silver perch fingerlings were released into the Wivenhoe system.

Throughout the weekend, the crew from BLA provided a selection of test craft as well as hands-on product demonstrations. Fundraising barbeques hosted by The East Coast Kayak Fishing Club and KFDU and raffles seguyed into the nightly tournament presentations and recaps of each days fishing activities.

In summary, The 2009 Wivenhoe Kayak and Canoe Convention was a resounding success on every level and has earned its place as a major event in the annual Australian kayak fishing calendar.



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