Zara reels in a world cup win­ner

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - REXINE HAWES

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.

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