FISHING FUN: Tyler, 5, and Liam, 5, Martin having fun looking at the big fish tank at the Ballina Fishing Bonanza.
FISHING FUN: Tyler, 5, and Liam, 5, Martin having fun looking at the big fish tank at the Ballina Fishing Bonanza. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Anglers hit the water for more than $100,000 in prizes

SEASONED father and son anglers Steve and Darcy Banks are just two of 350 keen fishermen hitting the water this weekend vying for more than $100,000 in prizes in the North Coast Fishing Bonanza.

After years fishing in their hometown Evans Head Fishing Classic, with some success, the pair hit the water after signing up yesterday.

"I've been going in the Evans Head Fishing Classic since I was four," 11-year-old Darcy said.

"We have won a few rods as prizes over the years for catching cobia, kingfish, snapper and flathead.

"We will be heading offshore targeting snapper, mulloway and kingfish off Evans Head," Steve said.

Organiser John Starkey said this year's Fishing Bonanza was being held over four days, until Sunday, to allow for bad weather. "This year in response to feedback from competitors the species list has been increased to include blackfish and tailor for adults and cadets and snapper for juniors and cadets," he said.

Anglers have a vast area in which to fish with boundaries extending from Tweed Heads to Yamba.

"All forms of fishing are permitted, from bait to lure or fly."

"The biggest fish so far this year has been a 99cm snapper and we have had three snapper caught that are 90cm plus."

Mr Starkey said when competitors catch a fish they must take a photo of it alive, then bring the photo back as evidence.

Catch and release is encouraged, but competitors are free to keep their catches.

The action at Ballina's Fawcett Park heats up each day from 5pm when catches for the daily winning draw must be in. Presentations are held from 6pm each day.


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