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.
- 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)