They came, they saw and they conquered at the Fremantle Sailing Club’s second King George Classic on November 13.
Clayton Richards and Grant McOuat live north of the river, mainly launching from Hillary’s but the fabulous list of prizes on offer at the Classic tempted them to mosey south with Clayton’s 6.9 Haines Hunter.
They could have taken Grant’s boat as well because it is identical aside from the fact that Clayton’s has a secret weapon, a device that, they say, helped produce some jaw-dropping king George at the weigh-in on the Sunset Deck.
Twenty-three boats and 56 anglers (60 registrations), including members of the public, fished the well-run Angling Section comp in far better conditions than forecast, as anglers primarily worked the grounds north of the Windmills.
And, that’s where you would have found Clayton and Grant, and their electric trolling Minn Kota motor which locks them onto the ground they want to work, primarily along the edge of weed banks or reefs.
That’s the theory, but it was the practical evidence that knocked the socks off the competitors and on-lookers who had the Sunset Deck rocking at the weigh-in and presentation.
To add to the drama of the weigh-in, the Classic’s organiser Craig Thomas insisted that Grant’s and Clayton’s bags be the final ones out of the esky.
Kyle Timms impressed with a 0.79kg fish to claim third place in the male section while Craig Bibra’s 0.94kg King George drew applause and earned him second prize.
Stacey Polinelli, one of five women competing, took out the ladies’ section with 0.864kg fish, while Denise Bech was second in that category. Josh Engelbrecht’s 0.57kg Geordie won him the junior award, while his mates – Cooper Vincent and PJ Shrubsai – fishing aboard his dad Andrew’s boat, also nailed a King George each. Lewis Burton also fished the junior section.
All noteworthy achievements, but it was akin to some light entertainment before the cameras rolled for the main event. And what a showstopper it was as the bags of Grant and Clayton were hefted from the holding esky, with noticeably more effort from angling captain John Bech to get them on the scales.
Previously, Ray Wilson’s bag of six King George, weighing 2.56kg, was the heaviest. Sorry Ray, take a seat.
If this was an Olympic sporting competition, the drug testers would have been sniffing around looking for signs of steroids because the 12 King George presented by the pair – they also nailed another six each to max out on the bag limit – were all enormous. Comfortably enormous.
As the crowd hushed in awe at the sight of the oversized King George, Grant’s bag of six fish weighed 5.94kg, an average of 1kg a fish, with his biggest going 1.1235kg.
In a battle of the heavyweights, Clayton’s bag was almost identical, but with Grant being awarded the heaviest bag category, Clayton’s 0.99kg fish saw him claim the heaviest fish prize because no angler could win two categories.
Craig Thomas, who put in an enormous amount of work to make the Classic a success, is confident a bigger and even better production scheduled for November 12 will be produced in 2022.
With help from John Bech, Craig worked hard to get the event up and running and thanked the many sponsors who donated a treasure trove of prizes.
Sponsors included: Audiocom Marine Electronics and Garmin; West Coast Camping and Fishing, Chivers Marine, NGT Logistics, Anglers Fishing World, Varivas (available from Tackle HQ, Compleat Angler Nedlands and Rockingham, Tackle West, Jetts Cycle and Compleat Angler Gosnells, Whiteys Tackle, 2 Oceans), Old Bridge Cellars, Greg’s Marine Services and Yacht Grot.