Suzie Arthur weighed in a quality 11.2kg Red Emperor at the 2018 at the Rainbow Beach Family Fishing Classic.
Suzie Arthur weighed in a quality 11.2kg Red Emperor at the 2018 at the Rainbow Beach Family Fishing Classic.

Record-breaking start to Rainbow Beach fishing comp

HUNDREDS of people have descended on Rainbow Beach, booking out the entire town in the lead-up to the annual Rainbow Beach Family Fishing Classic, which is set to be bigger than ever.

A record-breaking number of people have already signed up for the iconic competition, which kicks off this afternoon, after being delayed for months due to COVID-19.

Organiser Nathan Kropp said so far 620 adults, 60 cadets and almost 100 juniors had signed on for the competition, setting a new record for the number of entrants.

“The last two years we’ve seen around 500 [entrants] so we’re 250-odd competitors up,” Mr Kropp said.

Rainbow Beach Family Fishing Classic 2019, Adam Cottier, David Bradford and Lewis Hoadley.
Rainbow Beach Family Fishing Classic 2019, Adam Cottier, David Bradford and Lewis Hoadley.

He said the tickets had sold out almost immediately at each release, with the first 500 selling out within 48 hours of being announced.

Due to COVID-19, the competition, which is usually held in July was delayed, and at first organisers were only allowed to sell 250 tickets, which sold out straight away. But as restrictions eased more tickets were released.

Mr Kropp said hundreds of people had arrived in Rainbow Beach, which has been inundated with bookings and “not a single room, caravan park, motel” was available.

He said it was great for local businesses, which looked forward to the competition every year and the money it brought to the local economy.

This year’s categories remain the same, with the addition of a Mangrove Jack category, and weigh-ins will be held each evening with nightly prizes and a lucky draw.

Rainbow Beach Family Fishing Classic competitor Dan Bauer, 2019.
Rainbow Beach Family Fishing Classic competitor Dan Bauer, 2019.

Mr Kropp said their sponsors had donated a $15,000 boat for the adult grand prize, and they had rallied together to be able to offer an $8000 boat for the cadet grand prize.

“The adults were last year promised a grand prize of a new car, but with the unknowns of COVID and how many people could come, the car was held off, but Hervey Bay Marine and various sponsors have come to give us awesome prizes,” he said.

“The car will be back in 2021.”

Mr Kropp said there would be an open discussion this weekend as to whether they continue to hold the competition in November next year, bring it back to July, or offer two four-day competitions in winter and summer.

The four-day competition kicks off at 4pm today at the Rainbow Beach Sports Recreation and Memorial Club, 7 Turana Street, Rainbow Beach.