Bit­ing big at Ca­nia Dam Fish­ing Clas­sic

Mul­ti­ple prizes, in­clud­ing a fish­ing boat and kayak

Central and North Burnett Times - - SPORT - Jack Lawrie

IT IS ei­ther a sign of tremen­dous or comedic irony that the grand prize draw of the an­nual Ca­nia Dam Fish­ing Clas­sic should go to the man who needed it most.

Ray Dun­woodie, who has at­tended the an­nual fish­ing com­pe­ti­tion since 1989, said per­for­mance-wise, this year was one of his worst.

Through no fault of his own, Mr Dun­woodie found him­self plagued with boat trou­ble and un­able to get out on the wa­ter.

How lucky it was that he would go onto win the ma­jor se­nior prize, a brand new alu­minium fish­ing tinny with mo­tor and trailer.

“We went on the wa­ter for about 30 min­utes, but had to pull out be­cause the boat kept break­ing down,” Mr Dun­woodie said.

“I’ve been com­ing ev­ery year and I’ve won a cou­ple of prizes, but I’ve never won a fish­ing boat.”

Mr Dun­woodie joked the boat would make a fine birth­day present for his wife.

It was a slim chance of tak­ing away the top prize, as roughly 400 peo­ple at­tended the com­pe­ti­tion.

The ju­niors par­tic­i­pants went in the run­ning to re­ceive a chil­dren’s fish­ing kayak, which went to Monto res­i­dent Cameron Brown.

In ad­di­tion to these grand prize draws, dozens of lucky draw prizes were given away, in­clud­ing rods, gift sets, bait boxes and more.

The top prize for largest ju­nior perch was a pair of hand-made wooden stat­uettes, which went to Chloe Thorn­ton and Archie Poin­ton for gold and sil­ver perch re­spec­tively.

Ca­nia Dam care­taker and Fish Stock­ing As­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber Brett Powter said there were enough prizes for 80% of the crowd.

“Most of the lucky draw prizes we’re giv­ing away are at a min­i­mum of $60, some of them go­ing up to $200,” Mr Powter said.

“When you con­sider it was only $35 for adults and $20 for kids to en­ter, a lot of peo­ple could end up get­ting dou­ble what they got in prize money.”

Trou­bled con­di­tions, but a good haul

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Powter, a sur­prise shower on Satur­day night dis­rupted the event, de­lay­ing the evening weigh-in and scar­ing off the fish on the sec­ond day.

“They went off to­day (Sunday) and weren’t bit­ing at all, but if they’d been fish­ing last night they would have been bit­ing their heads off,” Mr Powter said.

“The day af­ter it rains, they nor­mally go a bit quiet.”

De­spite the weather, fish stock­ing as­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber Bevan Be­necke said said the re­sults from fish caught were im­pres­sive.

“The big­gest bass were up around 56cm, that’s well above av­er­age,” Mr Be­necke said.

“There were plenty of big fish get­ting caught, they’re the ones the club put in last year.”

The Ca­nia Dam Fish­ing Clas­sic is the sole com­pe­ti­tion held, leav­ing the rest of the year for the Fish Stock­ing As­so­ci­a­tion to breed and re­stock the dam with fish.

The com­pe­ti­tion had a strict rule lim­it­ing the cap­ture of saratoga, which were the big­gest fish the dam had to of­fer.

The win­ning se­nior catch for saratoga, and the largest fish in the com­pe­ti­tion over­all was Dav­ina Cook, who caught one at 65cm.

Ca­nia Dam is best known for its bass this time of year, and the high­est fish­ing prize, a $500 cash prize and medal, went to Monto res­i­dent Matthew Bryan who caught a whop­ping 56cm bass.

Turnout from the an­glers

At­ten­dees turned out from all across the state and fur­ther.

Peo­ple came from as far asWar­wick, Lon­greach and even Sydney to fish.

There were even a few in­ter­na­tion­als in the mix, in­clud­ing a back­pack­ing cou­ple from Switzer­land tak­ing pic­tures of Ca­nia Dam’s gor­geous scenery along with the many oth­ers camped out on the grounds.

De­spite this, Mr Powter said the turnout was less than it had been in pre­vi­ous years, due to the gen­eral dry­ing up of the pop­u­la­tion in the re­gion.

“It’s about what we’ve been get­ting for the last three or four years since the min­ing down­turn,” Mr Powter said.

“All the comps have got lower be­cause we haven’t had all the min­ers and gas work­ers up here; used to be ev­ery one had a mine shirt, but they all live on the coast.”

Camp­ing this year was free for par­tic­i­pants, though Mr Be­necke said they were pushed to start charg­ing peo­ple.

The fish stock­ing as­so­ci­a­tion re­ceives a grant using fish­ing per­mit money to fund the dam but the price of a per­mit has re­cently gone up.

“The gov­ern­ment lifted the price of a per­mit from $35 per two adults to $50 per per­son,” Mr Be­necke said.

“What they’re go­ing to end up do­ing is forc­ing peo­ple not to fish or to come down and fish il­le­gally and end up get­ting a fine.”

Ca­nia Dam re­ceived a $15000 grant.

Funds from the event will go to­ward re­stock­ing the dam to en­sure it re­mains a pop­u­lar fish­ing des­ti­na­tion.

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