Can’t be koi about cham­pion

Re­mark­able story of a res­cue fish

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - NEWS - RACHEL VER­COE rachel.ver­coe@coff­s­coas­tad­vo­

WE’VE all heard sto­ries of res­cued dogs turn­ing from mal­nour­ished and scared to thriv­ing due to a lov­ing fam­ily and TLC but have you heard of the res­cued koi fish which be­came a grand cham­pion?

Koi fish co-own­ers Greg Collins and Wayne Stoves from the North­ern Beaches have been col­lect­ing and breed­ing fish for a num­ber of years and are pas­sion­ate about car­ing for their pets.

“We got a call that a col­lec­tion was aban­doned and when we turned up, the broad­est part of the fish was the head. It was all sunken in and skinny, it hadn’t been fed and was only a lit­tle black fish, around 250mm long,” Greg said.

With time, care and a healthy en­vi­ron­ment, the lit­tle black fish thrived and is now 67cm with sparkling black and white scales and at the an­nual Aus­tralian Koi As­so­ci­a­tion Cham­pi­onships this year, took out the Grand Cham­pion fish.

This year was the first show Greg and Wayne en­tered af­ter de­cid­ing it was time to show off four of their trea­sured fish.

Greg and Wayne knew they had qual­ity fish but didn’t ex­pect to come home with Grand Cham­pion Fish B, the Pres­i­dent’s Award and the Hong Kong Judge’s Award.

“We’ve been work­ing to­wards show­ing fish for about eight years. We fi­nally de­cided it was time and we knew our fish were quite good but didn’t know they were grand cham­pion ma­te­rial,” Wayne said.

“It’s still re­ally hard to be­lieve that we could ac­tu­ally do it, I’m very proud of our fish and love show­ing them off.

“The judges look for con­fir­ma­tion, girth, place­ment of how the fins are held when swim­ming and then look for colour and pat­tern.”

As a kid, Wayne caught carp in the creek be­hind his house and kept them in lit­tle tubs.

“It’s been a life­time pas­sion but to get de­cent fish took us a very long time,” he said.

Car­ing for more than 100 carp, Greg has a pond and a pool filled with koi of all colours, shapes and sizes.

“I was fish­ing and look­ing for some­thing to do when the seas were too big and heard there were carp in creeks where they shouldn’t be and caught them to give to Wayne,” Greg said.

“He said maybe I should think about get­ting a lit­tle pond.

“I was only go­ing to build a lit­tle pond but it kept get­ting big­ger and big­ger, it’s an ad­dic­tion.”

Photo: Rachel Ver­coe

BIG FISH: Greg Collins and Wayne Stoves with their award-winning fish.

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