Tyler Apps, 10, and Melody White from Nanango show off some Tilapia they caught during this year’s Yellowbelly … the pest fish scored no points but Tyler and Melody both went on to win prizes in this year’s competition

February 14, 2020

The combination of drought and floods meant attendance numbers at this year’s Boondooma Yellowbelly were the lowest in more than four years, but organisers were still happy.

Almost 700 adult and junior anglers registered to take part in the two-day competition, well down on the 1123 who signed up just two years ago, however organisers were pleased given that torrential rains across Queensland and northern NSW prevented many people attending.

“Honestly, we thought if we had 500 we’d be doing well this year,” Boondooma Fish Stocking Association’s (BFSA) Janene Steinhardt told southburnett.com.au.

“A lot of people contacted us to say they couldn’t make it because they were flooded in. And some of our other regulars have been hit really hard by the drought.

“So we’re really happy with this year’s registration numbers in the circumstances.”

Organisers were also pleased the worst of the weekend’s weather bypassed the dam and confined itself to the coast.

While a couple of brief showers fell on Saturday, the weather stayed warm and sunny for the critical weigh-ins on Sunday morning.

A large crowd gathered around the Fish Stocking’s Association’s headquarters for the final weigh-ins and prizegivings.

Compere Matthew Mott told the audience he thought one particular group of fishermen deserved special recognition for the effort they had made to attend, and called them to the stage.

Bundaberg trio Rodney Pearce, Robert Hadwen and Richard Brown rolled their car on the way to this year’s Yellowbelly.

But even though their vehicle was a write-off, and young Robert was forced to wear a neck brace on Saturday, they still managed to take part in the event thanks to some last-minute assistance from Robert’s mum Jenny, who picked up the trio and their fishing gear from the crash site and drove them to the dam.

“This just goes to show the extraordinary lengths some of our competitors will go to and I think this deserves a special award,” Matthew said, presenting Rodney with a jar of Vegemite.

Mayor Keith Campbell said the South Burnett Regional Council was the major sponsor of the Yellowbelly because Council recognised it had important economic benefits for the community.

He also praised the efforts of the Association to keep the dam stocked with fish.

The BFSA’s work, he said, drew a steady stream of visitors from south-east Queensland and northern NSW and the Yellowbelly was a great opportunity to showcase the region to them.

“The Yellowbelly Fishing Competition is an event the council heavily gets behind as it contributes to the sport of recreational fishing and is a big opportunity to increase visitation to the region,” Mayor Campbell said.

“We provide a sum of money as part of our community not-for-profit grants and essentially we are investing on behalf of the region.”

The Mayor then presented BFSA members with a certificate of appreciation from Council to mark the event’s 30th anniversary.

2020 Results:

  • Longest Bass – Brad Wickson (505mm)
  • Longest Yellowbelly – Troy Harch (510mm)
  • Longest Eel Catfish – Samantha O’Keefe (505mm)
  • Most Fish – Tommy Beil (8 fish)
  • Snr Heaviest Bass – Shaun Manthey (1.05kg)
  • Snr Heaviest Yellowbelly – Caitlin Lang (1.14kg)
  • Snr Heaviest Spangled Perch – Michael Jarvis (0.11kg)
  • Jnr Heaviest Bass – Blake Manthey (0.99kg)
  • Jnr Heaviest Yellowbelly – Jackson Kreis (1.31kg)
  • Jnr Heaviest Spangled Perch – Tyler Apps (0.20kg)
  • Biggest Yellowbelly Catch – Bill Smith and Ashley Chandler (tied)
The Yellowbelly is organised by the Boondooma Fish Stocking Association, and members were hard at work collecting stats at each of the three weigh-ins that helped decide the ultimate winners
South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell and Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff proudly showed off this year’s major prize – a fully equipped boat and trailer package with an outboard, fish finder and and safety gear valued at $15,000
On Sunday morning a large crowd gathered in front of the Association’s clubhouse for the final prize draws and trophy presentations …
… and it was so large it stretched to fill an arc around the building
Bundaberg fishermen Richard Brown, Robert Hadwen and Rodney Pearce were congratulated by Mayor Campbell and Crs Heit and Duff for coming to this year’s competition after they rolled their car and wrote it off … Rodney is holding the jar of Vegemite they were presented with for their dedication, and the trio later won a pack of Smak lures in the prize draws as well
Cr Heit, Mayor Campbell and Cr Duff congratulated Logan Steinhardt from Wondai, who won a Dragon Kayak in the draws … they asked if he’d like to be pushed down the hill, but Logan politely declined
Jody Carsburg picked up a trophy and a cheque for $50 from Cr Duff for being the overall winner in the Spangled Perch section of the Catch & Release …
… and she was back on the podium soon after to accept the Jewfish Catch & Release trophy as well
Shelly Driver took the trophy and a $50 cheque for the Silver Perch section
Steve Sloman won the Bass category in this year’s Catch & Release …
… and Troy Harch won the Yellowbelly section
Sharyn Wickson was surprised and delighted to win a second Dragon Kayak in the prize draws
Members of the Boondooma Fish Stocking Association posed with their certificate of appreciation from the South Burnett Regional Council for organising the Yellowbelly for 30 years
Cr Duff congratulated Junior Heaviest Bass winner Blake Manthey while his proud dad looked on
The overall winner for the Gilled & Gutted Spangled Perch …
… and the Gilled & Gutted Silver Perch
Jody Carsburg also won this year’s Gilled & Gutted Jewfish section
The association unveiled a new perpetual trophy for the competition’s two top awards this year, with winners each receiving a smaller version for their own trophy cabinet …
… but it quickly ran into trouble when Bill Smith and Ashley Chandler were announced as joint winners of this year’s Yellowbelly after they both caught a 1.615kg Golden Perch (the Association are now getting a second mini-trophy prepared)
Surprise! Tyler Apps and Melody White were the winners of this year’s $15,000 grand prize in the prize draw, and were congratulated by BFSA president Glenn Munro
After the two-hour prize giving ceremony concluded, Cr Ros Heit congratulated compere Matthew Mott on keeping everything running smoothly
Fisheries consultant Rod Cheetham, centre, was raising awareness about Tilapia at this year’s Yellowbelly and Shanelle Brown, 12, Dallas Brown, 8, and Leah Forsythe, 12, were eager to learn … the three had travelled from Miles with their parents for the competition

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