Politician/Celebrity Fishing Tournament teams announced

THE Australian Fishing Trades Association (AFTA) says the response to its upcoming inaugural Politician / Celebrity Fishing Tournament has been tremendous. More details on the event HERE.

In news just in, the Coalition and ALP candidates for the local seat of Gilmore – Ann Sudmalis and Neil Reilly – have confirmed attendance and will be going head to head, an
interesting development considering the election annoucement this week by PM Julia Gillard. The two election candicates, plus the sitting MPs and Senators who have confirmed
attendance, will be joined by some of our best known fishing celebrities and local identities, including Matilda star and Footballer of the Year Sally Shipard.

The politicians and celebrities will be matched with leading tournament anglers who will be driving and guiding the teams. AFTA said it was proud to have them involved. AFTA also acknowledged the support of sponsors including Schneider, Rapala, Shimano, Evinrude, Pure Fishing, Jarvis Walker and Daiwa.

Preliminary Teams for the AFTA Politician / Celebrity Fishing Tournament:

Daiwa – Vicki Lear, Fishing tournament veteran; Sally Shipard Female footballer of the Year and Matilda; Jo Gash MP for Gilmore

Rapala – Scott Gray, Rapala Expert and talented all-rounder; Rob Paxevanos,
well known fishing and TV entity; Joe Ludwig Federal Fisheries Minister

Pure Fishing – Ross Canizzarro, Expert tournament fisher, has won a St Georges basin tournament before; Adam Royter, Well known fishing and media entity; Nigel Scullion Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs

Pure Fishing – Russell Babekuhl, Ranked #1 Tournament angler in Australia in teams and individual lists; Tani Konsul, Well known fishing entity and local fisher; Niall Blair, Member of NSW Legislative Council

Jarvis Walker – Daniel Tillack, Talented all-rounder now Jarvis Walker Expert; Greg Read,
Well known fishing entity and gun local guide; Neil Reilly, ALP candidate for Gilmore

Schneider – Steve Gill, Local gun and in the top ten in ABT rankings; Jim Harnwell,
Editor Fishing World and local fisher; Richard Colbeck, Shadow Minister for Fisheries

Shimano – Chris Wright, Three time AFC champion, perennially ranked in country’s top 10; Chloe Taylor, well known fishing and media entity; Katrina Hodgkinson, NSW Minister for Fisheries

Shimano – Adrian Mikkelsen, One of Shimano’s top guns, a talented all rounder, Paul Worsteling, well known fishing and TV entity; Bob Baldwin, Shadow Minister for Tourism and Regional Development

Daiwa – Chris Hickson, leading tournament angler; Ann Sudmalis, Coalition candidate for Gilmore, Allan Hansard, CEO of AFTA

Speculation within the recreational fishing community is already increasing as to who will claim honours at the event. With a mixture of politicians renowned as fishers and others with unknown abilities, all teamed with a field of our best celebrity anglers, picking a winner has been described as a “bookies’ nightmare!”

We know they’re politicians but can they fish…?

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Joanna Gash, retiring local MP & Shoalhaven City Mayor
Jo Gash has to be considered a strong favourite, as the Tournament is being staged in her own backyard. Jo is known as a keen fisher and will bring strong local knowledge to the tournament. It’s rumored that she has been seen on the Basin in recent weeks with a well-known local fishing expert, presumably checking out the hotspots.

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Senator Joe Ludwig, Federal Minister for Fisheries
Though having been a Fisheries Minister for a number of years, the Senator’s abilities with a rod and reel are unknown. Coming from his home state of Queensland, Joe may be more used to a 12 foot beach rod and Alvey sidecast – could be difficult to handle on the tournament boat but will probably out-cast everyone else.

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Nigel Scullion, Shadow Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister
Nigel comes to the tournament with a strong pedigree of fishing ability. Hailing from the Northern Territory, Nigel – a former commercial fisherman and professional charter operator – is known for his fishing and culinary abilities with the catch. There is a debate as to whether Nigel will be able to effectively adapt his fishing techniques to the notoriously fickle Basin – after all, bream and whiting require more finesse than barra and mackerel!

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Senator Richard Colbeck, Federal Shadow Minister for Fisheries
Richard is another well-known angler who comes with a strong reputation from the Apple Isle. Its known that they breed them tough in Tassie and Richard is likely to be a strong competitor.

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Katrina Hodgkinson, NSW Minister for Fisheries
Katrina is another dark horse in this field. She holidays in the Jervis Bay region with her family and she does like fishing. It’s rumoured that she’s asked her Department for a full briefing on St Georges Basin – with the focus on fishing hotspots.

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Bob Baldwin, Shadow Tourism and Regional Development Minister
Big Bob Baldwin is definitely a strong favourite. Known for his exploits with large marlin and other gamefish, Bob’s years of fishing experience means he will be well suited to the tournament atmosphere.

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Niall Blair, Member of the NSW Legislative Council
Niall is a keen sportsman and is likely to lift the competition of the tournament. His fishing abilities are yet to be assessed, but coming from the Southern Highlands, known for its fine trout streams, Niall may be well suited to the craft of catching bream on small lures. Niall is definitely one to watch.

The Tournament Rules
The AFTA Politician / Celebrity Tournament has been organised with the assistance of ABT. Steve Morgan and his Team Simon Goldsmith and Chris Byrnes will be ensuring the Tournament runs smoothly. The Tournament will follow the ABT style with the focus on catching bream. The major prize will go to the team that catches the heaviest bag of bream. A prize will also be awarded for the team that catches the largest bream. All bream will be released back into the Basin after being weighed, photographed and bragged about. The Tournament will also recognise teams who catch other species, such as flathead and whiting.

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AFTA Tournament Trophy

Family fun
While the tournament entrants are out enjoying Australia’s most popular sport, families who want to come down can also enjoy a fun day out. Young Guns Fishing Adentures will be providing “fishy activities” for kids of all ages, including casting clinics, Fish Bingo and yabby races. There will also be stalls providing information on a range of issues, from fishing regulations to water safety and a sausage sizzle.

You can still be part of the tournament
There is still time to support or sponsor this event – call (02) 6282 8500.

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