by Ian Kemmis
THE 2017 NSW Mackerel Championships were held last weekend amid clear skies and abating seas.
A good flotilla of boats headed out on Friday and while the wind was anxious and the seas solid there was no stopping the challenge of finding that big mackerel.
Reports were slow and in between what can only be described as a 'tunathon' by the end of day one, the usual run of 12-15kg mackerel came in to be weighed with one stand out of over 18kg by a visiting angler setting the pace for day two.
Day two dawned and really the weather can only be described as awesome. With over 140 boat trailers parked around the boat ramp and club house you can only guess what financial impact fishing has on this town, a point that might by overlooked by those that shape the future of our foreshores.
Can I suggest that if you forget about the visiting fisher folk you may as well forget the harbour and the foreshores.
No amount of tourists walking the jetty will ever inject as much money into the town as will a few fisherfolk, if that $9 million spent on the foreshore redevelopment was spent on the boat ramp and new marina facilities this town would suddenly become the city it pretends to be.
Being what they are though those fisher people will quietly succumb to whatever the powers that be impose, unless of course they stand up to be counted.
During day two the weigh station began to hear reports of the odd real mackerel showing up.
With the weigh station regularly transmitting the weights to beat only a handful of fish were weighed on Saturday but that was when the picture became clear, that's when the men got separated from the boys and we soon learned who was taking control of the event.
With local boats going head to head with the visiting anglers it was a waiting game to see who would come out on top.
On presentation day the results were there to see, Andrew Mainey displayed his usual coolness and attention to detail with a great fish of some 25.5kg to take out the $5000 top prize, well in front of visitor Michael Bonici with 18.5kg.
The spotted mackerel prize went to Paul Dowdle with a fish of over 7kg, while local junior Chevy Wilde came in next with a spotty of 6.5kg proving age is no barrier in this event and hooked a share of the $30,000 prize share.
Visitor Bert Cerruto caught the most meritorious 'other' fish, with a great wahoo of 25kg caught in less than 20m of water just out from the harbour.