Zara reels in a world cup winner
If there was ever a good fishy tale, Zara Clifton has the best one.
The Matamata Fishing Club member entered the Beach and Boat Competition in Whangarei in February and caught the biggest snapper of the weekend.
The 12.26kg snapper not only scored close to $30,000 in cash and prizes, but has also made Clifton the official 2017 champion of the Furuno NZ Snapper World Cup.
The Cup is awarded to the biggest snapper caught among three top New Zealand Fishing Tournaments - the DeCoro Snapper Kingfish Tournament, the Beach and Boat comp and Stabicraft Trailer Boat Tournament.
It all started early on a Friday morning.
‘‘My partner Logan (Craw) and I, and his friend Scotty, chose a spot, put the anchor down and were fishing about four-to-five hours. We were pumping about 20 kilos of burly.
‘‘After getting several bites with a poor hook up rate I decided it was time to change to some fresh kahawai, I cast out the bait and less than two minutes later I was hooked up.
‘‘I thought i was onto a kingfish due to the nature of the fight, it was not until it surfaced the first time my partner saw it and yelled ‘its a huge snapper’.
‘‘The second time it surfaced, the fish was netted and brought on board, bending the net handle in the process.
‘‘My biggest snapper (in the past) would only be about eight pound.’’
The group headed back to shore to meet the weigh in deadline.
‘‘At that time the snapper was confirmed the biggest of the day so far. In snapper fishing everyone talks about the elusive 20 pounder, I never really thought I would do it.’’
With only half an hour remaining till deadline, the group headed back to their camp not knowing if a bigger snapper would come in, in the time remaining.
Later that evening, at prize giving, they spotted Clifton’s snapper on display. The next closest was 10.2kg They didn’t reel in anything significant the following day.
With no fish on display at the overall prize giving, they were still unsure if Clifton was in the running for the major prize.
‘‘They had a separate ladies category this year, I got called up because I won the heaviest snapper for the ladies but they didn’t mention anything about the overall prize.
‘‘They were talking it up quite a lot, then they started going on about how a chick had never won this competition before, that’s when I got called up.
‘‘Candice Lawson and Nicky Sinden had taken over running the event, they were stoked a woman won it.’’
Prizes included $10,000 cash, a Shimano Thunnus 8000 reel, a Stella 10000 reel and rod, Furuno fish finder and she will also be featured on an episode of the Ados Addicted to Fishing Show.
Matamata woman Zara Clifton holds the title of the Furuno Snapper World Cup, for her 12.26kg snapper.