As per last year, the big fella upstairs looked after the club by shouting us half an inch of rain on the oval a couple of days before construction took place. This had the ground looking a picture and saved a lot of wear and tear. The traditional “Monster Marquee”, (90m X 15m) was constructed Thursday morning followed by numerous other tents, vans and awnings that were part of the fishing and outdoors expo.
Friday turned out to be a great day with a constant flow of people registering. Participants took the advantage to explore what was on offer and snap up a great bargain from the many fishing related expo sites. Anything from rods and reels, lures, spinnerbaits, boats, canoes, kayaks, swags, canopy’s, boats plus more were there to look at. It was very pleasing the huge amount of positive feedback from competitors about the expo itself.
Friday evening saw David Hodge and Rod McKenzie conduct “Cod Talk”, an informative interactive talk session based around anything that has to do with Cod fishing from catch & release through to lure selection and casting tips. A new innovation for 2009 was to have one draw for a boat Friday night for all competitors who had registered by 8.30pm. This proved a hit as crowd numbers were huge in anticipation of what they had the chance of winning. Once the dust had settled Friday night, over 3000 competitors had register. In turn they helped devour nearly 750kgs of hot roast beef rolls that were served to all involved.
Turn back the clock 12 months and Saturday was a mirror image of 2008. A fine day with moderate wind being the only problem. By the end of the day the majority of anglers had a case of “Panda Eyes”, a set of white eyes with a red wind / sun burnt face! Some great fish were reported with Melbourne boy James Duke leading the way with a great specimen that fell 1cm short of the magical mark of one meter.
Saturday night saw approximately 5000 people converge on the Mulwala football ground for the night’s activities. Early in the evening “Flathead Fred” kept the children entertained for an hour with his energy filled kids fun fishing show. A special appearance was made by the legendary CUB draught horses that allowed participants a rare photo opportunity. Following this, lucky door prizes were given out. Amazingly, every one of the 2666 adult competitors received a lucky door prize. All major lucky door prizes were then drawn followed by giving away another four boating packages. There were some very excited winners, most were lost for words when put on the spot and asked how they felt!
To help celebrate our 10th anniversary, a huge fireworks display was put on lasting nearly ten minutes. To say they went off with a bang was an understatement! A report from one local resident said she had some goods knocked off a shelf, whilst another rang her son and said that they were exploding on top of her roof! To finish the night, the finals of the adult and junior casting shootouts were held. Hundreds of onlookers had stayed around to watch this event with the Australian pro casting titles closing out the night.
Sunday morning, competitors were greeted with pleasant conditions with only little wind. As per usual, only the fair dinkum made it onto the water. Many wounded participants from the night before thought that a sleep in was what they needed more.
Presentations for all fishing categories got under way before noon Sunday with the massive tent being jam-packed. The juniors got onto some nice fish with Nick Tarbett taking out first place with a beauty measuring 65cm. Aaron Hausfeld took the coveted junior prize of Swagman Lures Junior Champion of Champions with his two legal cod measuring 123cms. In the adults section, James Duke’s 99cm model was not passed allowing him to take home the Mulwala Football Netball Club Champion Angler title. Lee Ramadge finished in second place with a great 92cm cod while Greg Crellin finished in third with a nice 85cm specimen. The SMAK Lures Female Champion was taken out by Beryl Shimans with a 74cm model. Three more boats were given away with the highlight being a junior competitor, 15yo Callum Giggins taking home the Charlie Carp boat.
All in all, the event was a massive success. An estimated 1450 boats took part making it a site to be seen once again. As indicated by the fishing statistics, fish numbers were well up on the 2008 event. This go’s to show the size limit increase NSW Fisheries has put in place is working and they should be applauded for their efforts. It also proves that the lake draw down during winter had no effect on fish numbers what so ever. For groups to carry on and call for a total fishing ban this time of year is absolutely ridiculous.
To round out the weekend, 8 golfing tragic’s took to the royal and ancient Yarrawonga & Border golf course to contest the 5th “Cod Classic Invitational Golf Championships”. Rules such as if you do not hit it you don’t count it, if you can retrieve it within 10 seconds from the tee you can have it again, you could choose to have 1 kick and 1 throw somewhere within your round and all sledging is fair whist having your shot made for an interesting and very funny morning. Ken Stone off a very dubious handicap of 20 streeted the field to take home the crown with a fine score of 70.