Anglers converged on Deniliquin for the annual Fishing Classic weekend for fishing, fun and the chance to win some fantastic prizes.By Shaun Connor
A whopping 1701 anglers took to the Edward River for the Deniliquin RSL Fishing Club’s XXXX Gold Fishing Classic at the weekend.
Organisers have said it was the biggest classic on record, eclipsing last year’s event by 527 entrants.
Boats and camping sites adorned the banks of the Edward River, while the event headquarters at Edward River Oval was abuzz with action all weekend.
Visitors travelled from all over Australia for the 16th annual event, with 131 native fish and 420 carp caught over Saturday and Sunday morning.
RSL Fishing Club member Andrew Jefferies said the amount of prizes and give-aways on offer, as well as the extension of the fishing boundary, was what attracted so many anglers this year.
‘‘The weather was good too which meant there was a lot of late entries. People would have been holding off to see if it was going to rain or if the sun would be out.
‘‘A lot of fish were caught on the Sunday morning. It was a bit quiet on Saturday, but that’s only natural with so many boats out on the river.
‘‘A high percentage of the cod caught were 70-75cm, which is a great sign because next year those fish will be 80cm long,’’ Jefferies said.
The success of Saturday’s family night surprised even the organisers, with more than 2000 people gathering at Edward River Oval for the event.
Thirty random draws valued at over $4000 meant people were winning prizes left, right and centre and more than 1000 meals were served up to visitors, fishermen and locals who just came down for a look.
The family night could be even bigger next year but more work would need to be done if the fishing boundary was to be extended again, Jefferies said.
‘‘The family night was just fantastic. Considering the size of the crowd the Rovers did a fantastic job running the bar.
‘‘We had 30 kids have a go in the casting competition and over 50 went in the carp throwing competition. The lucky door prizes attracted a lot of people too.
‘‘We could make the family night as big as we want next year but fishing-wise there is a bit more to it.
‘‘We’d love to go bigger again (by extending the fishing boundary) but we’d have to work in with the Maritime to do it. The sheer number of people fishing and skiing on the river is just too dangerous. In saying that though, the skiers were really well behaved this year,’’ Jefferies said.
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