Mangawhai’s mother-daughter combo, Anna Parke and Charlie Barclay, hauled in both the top prizes at the inaugural Wahine o te Moana women’s fishing competition last month.
Charlie, 12, took second place in two categories with a 45.5cm Snapper and a 51cm Kahawhai, while Anna was the overall competition winner with 180 points.
But the real surprise catch of the day was when the announcer called Charlie’s name to reveal she had won the grand spot prize – a weekend for two at Great Barrier Island, thanks to Barrier Air.
Charlie has been boat fishing for two years and says that her favourite part is not knowing how big the fish will be until it’s pulled into the boat. Her strategy is to beat mum to the rod.
“I liked the competition because you could measure the fish and then throw them back, so you don’t take more than you need,” Charlie says.
Competition organiser Cara Shields said the Mangawhai Boating and Fishing Club moved to a measure and release system for the new competition because of feedback from members.
“During the Queen’s Birthday competition, the largest snapper in the club’s history was caught. It was 10kg and we got a lot of comments that it was a shame to bring it in, but it is hard to throw a $500 prize-winning fish back, which is why we have switched.”
The competition uses a points system. Smaller species have a higher multiplier that adds to the measured length to calculate its points.
“It makes things more interesting because in most competitions if you get a kingy then you are in, but this way we got more variety.”
The weather proved an extra challenge on the day with a 1.5m swell and a wind from the north east.
This forced the closure of the Mangawhai Bar and pushed contenders out to Leigh and the
Despite poor conditions, 27 women took part. Following the successful inaugural event, the club intends to hold it again when the weather is better in March 2020.
Cara says the club decided to put together a new women’s competition as part of a focus on growing its membership among women and juniors.
“We’ve also moved away from traditional lady’s competitions where the prizes are pink bags with smellies and have gone for gear, because we all like fishing.
“Unfortunately, we had some potential sponsors say they didn’t want to get behind the event because it was gender exclusive.”
The sponsors that stepped up were Okuma Fishing with packs of gear, CDX sunglasses and Ostro seafood restaurant.