The anticipation was palpable on the windswept Sunset Deck on the afternoon of November 12 as anglers gathered and talked in groups, posing unanswered questions about who, how many and most of all, how big!
For the 56 anglers (14 children) who took part in the FSC Angling Section’s King George Classic, this was the judgement hour; which anglers would be rewarded for the challenging time at sea trying to nab the best poster fish of the smaller species?
Would the raiders from the northern suburbs, Grant McOuat and Clayton Richards, again plunder the treasure chest of outstanding prizes like they did last year? Would the howling sou’wester which raised its ugly head around noon impact the overall results? Would any of the king george weigh more than the gold standard 1kg-mark?
Before the fascination of the outcome, first the facts.
Organiser Craig Thomas, the vice-captain of the Angling Section and general roustabout, devoted a huge amount of energy to again organise amazing prizes for the competition. Craig was at the FSC gate at 5am for early starters, and still bellowing out raffle ticket winners at 6.15pm, so the man needed a few red cordials through the day, and a few pints of Rogers at the end.
Garmin again provided the major prize, an Echomap, while Southside Boating and Fishing jumped onboard with around $2500 of fishing gear. Other sponsors included Audiocom Marine Electronics, West Coast Camping and Fishing, WA Bait Supply, NGT Logistics, Recfishwest, Varivas, Greg’s Marine Services, Yacht Grot, Emission Apparel and Abrolhos Tackle.
All the prizes were laid out on trestle tables like toys under a Xmas tree on the stage of the Sunset Deck, as more talk and gossip flowed as freely as pellets are fed to the chooks.
Was it true that Grant McOuat – who declared his mate Clayton had been practising hard and was his favourite to take out the major prize of heaviest bag – basically ruled himself out as a contender because his day didn’t measure up to his high standards? Was it true Craig had pictures sent to him from sea of two fish, clearly over 1kg, caught by Chris Walkey and John Bech? Was it true that Andrew Engelbrecht’s crew caught a combined 15 king george, and was one of them big enough to claim a prize? And was there one emphatic winner in the women’s section?
All the answers were revealed at the weigh-in from 4pm as the audience pieced together the overall story as results were noted on the whiteboard.
And the winners are. Yes, Clayton’s bag of 4.96kg (six fish) took out the major prize won last year by his mate Grant; Chris Walkey’s brute of a KG weighed 1.38kg, edging out John Bech’s 1.26kg specimen in the men’s section while Chris Jazxhi, Grant’s deckie, came third with a 0.98kg fish.
In the women’s category, Frances Farrugia, was a decisive winner, with a lovely 1.1kg fish. Next best were Stacey Polinelli (0.5kg) and Denise Bech (0.4kg)
As it turned out, Andrew Engelbrecht’s boat booty did land a major prize when Oliver Defrancesco presented a magnificent 1.28kg fish to clearly claim the award for juniors. Eli Harrison was second with his 0.78kg effort.
It was a superb day, a magnificent promotion for the FSC both on the water where there was action aplenty and on the land at the Sunset Deck where banter and laughter ran freely. There were very few people who left empty-handed because of the huge range of raffle prizes, with Jennine Sampson running in all directions selling tickets to eager buyers.
Craig has issued an invitation for all the 2022 anglers – and to fishers generally – to return next to this very popular and well-organised competition.
– Ray Wilson