CONCENTRATION: Fishing in the 2012 North Coast fishing Bonanza were James, 13, and Clare Joblin, 11, of Wardell.
CONCENTRATION: Fishing in the 2012 North Coast fishing Bonanza were James, 13, and Clare Joblin, 11, of Wardell. Doug Eaton

Anglers angling for $60,000 fishing prize at Ballina bonanza

ANGLERS from all around Australia will descend on Ballina this week to vie for $60,000 in cash and prizes in the fourth annual North Coast Fishing Bonanza.

Organiser Michael Starkey said more than 250 competitors wet a line last year in search of the elusive "big one", and this year promised to be bigger and better.

Mr Starkey said the photograph-and-release competition ensured fish stocks remained healthy.

"People who enter can go out and have fun fishing with their kids, or the adults that get a bit more serious can chase the big fish."

You don't need a boat to enter as competitors can fish from beaches, breakwalls or riverbanks, or chase fish offshore and in estuaries in boats.

"Snapper is the most popular species offshore and usually flathead and whiting in the estuaries."

Fishing boundaries stretch from the Tweed River to the Clarence River, including all tributaries and beaches in between.

This year the competition moves base from the Ballina Seagulls rugby league field to the Richmond River foreshore at Ballina's Fawcett Park.

"We are trialling the introduction of two live species for the cadets and juniors so they can bring back their whiting or bream live to put in a tank."

People can learn how to fish with lures, try their luck on the fishing simulators or watch former MasterChef contestant Jay Huxley's daily cooking demonstrations.

He said fish are weighed each day in adult, cadet and junior categories but you don't have to catch the biggest fish to win a prize.

"Over 75% of the prizes are based on random draws each night, with prizes including a boat, motor and trailer for both adults and cadets," Mr Starkey said.


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