Plaudits for inaugural AFTA tournament

FEDERAL Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig and his Opposition rival Richard Colbeck both came up trumps in the inaugural Politicians Fishing Comp on the weekend.

Senator Ludwig, fishing with Scott Gray and Rob Paxevanos on Team Rapala, caught the biggest bream, a 1.14kg beauty. Meanwhile, Senator Colbeck, fishing with Steve Gill and Jim Harnwell as Team Schneider Fishing Lines, took the award for biggest flathead and also claimed second place overall.

The event, staged by the Australian Tackle Trade Association (AFTA) and held at St Georges Basin on the NSW south coast, was taken out by Team Jarvis Walker, comprised of Dan Tillack, local guide Greg Reid and NSW MLC Rick Colless, with a top bag of five bream weighing 3.10kg.
Ten teams of politicians, celebrity anglers and tournament specialists, competed in the event, which has been described as a “groundbreaking moment in angling/political relations”.

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Team Jarvis Walker – Dan Tillack, NSW MLC Rick Colless and local guide Greg Reid – won the inaugural AFTA Politician/Celebrity Comp with a 3.01kg bag of bream.

The brainchild of AFTA CEO Allan Hansard, the comp aimed to give state and federal politicians firsthand experience of recreational fishing and also reinforce the importance of the rec sector to regional economies.
“As this is an election year, we thought it very important to ensure our political representatives understand more about recreational fishing so that they can develop and implement policies that actually work to grow and develop our sector, not limit or constrain it,” Hansard told Fisho after the comp.

“The feedback I’ve got from the politicians who competed is that they really appreciated the opportunity to see what we actually do on the water and that they now understand more about the importance and significance of fishing to the millions of Aussie anglers out there.
“The sort of hand’s-on experience that this sort of event offers is worth so much more to politicians than briefing papers or meetings up at Parliament House. Hopefully, our comp will help us develop closer ties with politicians involved with fisheries portfolios and allow us to work proactively to develop meaningful policy outcomes,” Hansard said.

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Steve Fields, of Team Evinrude standing amongst the various comp boats.

Angling pundits and celebrities Fisho spoke with during the event said feedback they’d got from the parliamentarians was overwhelmingly positive.
“To have federal and state ministers, plus high level Opposition shadow ministers, as well as MPs, senators and local candidates for the upcoming national poll, was pretty impressive,” one angling identity said. “The AFTA guys did an amazing job getting this organised and it was also great to see the tackle industry so involved. I’d be hoping that this becomes an annual event.”

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Paul Worsteling, who fished on Team Shimano II with Adrian Mikkelsen and Opposition regional development spokesman Bob Baldwin, talks tactics with the ABT’s Simon Goldsmith.

As well as the actual comp, the event featured displays by NSW Fisheries, the NSW Recreational Fishing Alliance, the Australian National Sportfishing Association, the local Marine Rescue, Bay and Basin Sportfishing and plenty of fun and education for kids courtesy of Young Guns Fishing Adventures.
Food and refreshment was provided by Wes and Mary Murphy’s Wandering Woodfired Oven serving their famous gourmet pizzas.
Surf Life Saving Australia received $5000 thanks to money donated by sponsors including Rapala, Shimano, Daiwa, Pure Fishing, Schneider Fishing Lines, Evinrude and AFTA.

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The BETS tank proved very popular with the kids.

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Results for the inaugural 2013 AFTA Politicians/Celebrity Fishing Comp are as follows:

1 JARVIS WALKER: Daniel Tillack/Rick Colless/Greg Reid
2 SCHNEIDER: Steve Gill/Richard Colbeck/Jim Harnwell
3 PURE FISHING 2: Russell Babekuhl/Niall Blair/Tani Konsul
4 PURE FISHING: Ross Cannizzaro/Nigel Scullion/Adam Royter
5 SHIMANO: Chris Wright/Katrina Hodgkinson/Chloe Taylor
6 RAPALA: Scott Gray/ Joe Ludwig/Rob Paxevanos
7 EVINRUDE: Steve Fields/Neil Reilly/Anthony Bradstreet
8 SHIMANO 2: Adrian Mikkelsen/Bob Baldwin/Paul Worsteling
9 AFTA: Kristoffer Hickson/Ann Sudmalis/David Kramer
10 DAIWA: Vicki Lear/Jo Gash/Sally Shipard

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Well known angler Chloe Taylor displays a solid Basin lizard she caught with Team Shimano team mate NSW Katrina Hodgkinson (NSW Fisheries Minister) and Chris Wright (not pictured).

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Team Rapala, Scott Gray, Rob Paxevanos and federal Fisheries Minister Senator Joe Ludwig, who took honours for the biggest bream.

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Jim Harnwell, Steve Gill and Senator Richard Colbeck, who fished together as team Schenider Fishing Line, on stage with the ABT’s Simon Goldsmith (left) and tournament host Adam Royter.

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The weigh-in.

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Jim Harnwell indicates how many bream Team Schneider Fishing Lines has to weigh in. Team Schenider came second over all.

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