|1 December 2011
Countdown on to Whyalla's national snapper fishing comp - home of 'Big Red'
On-line entries are now open in Whyalla's annual three-day Australian Snapper Championship next Easter.
Traditional printed entry forms will be out and distributed nationally before Christmas.
In its 21st year, the well-known event, which attracts hundreds of keen anglers every year from throughout Australia, will be held April 6-8.
Two major changes for 2012 will see a lifting in the cash component of the top three major prize packages and the return of a previously popular team's section.
The event has also introduced its own Face book page, Whyalla Snapper Comp CouncilPage, enabling competitors and fishing enthusiasts to keep in touch with the latest news - in addition to the official website www.australiansnapper.com.au.
Championship co-ordinator Rebecca Lichtenberger said that with information and entry forms out more than two months earlier than previous years, organisers expect an increase in visiting competitors - allowing them more time to organise accommodation.
On-line entries via the website have been open for almost two weeks with a steady stream of interest already received.
Next year's champion will take home $5,000 cash, up from $3,000, with the runner up receiving $2,500, previously $1,500, and third place up from $1,000 to $1,500. Re-introduction of a team section is set to see some friendly rivalry as anglers chase extra "bragging rights."
More than 100 recreational fishing clubs in SA, Victoria and NSW have been sent preliminary information while more than 1,000 previous competitors have been canvassed via e-mail.
"The earlier launch of entry forms has enabled a similarly much earlier start to spread the word and the many reasons to plan a fishing holiday to Whyalla next Easter," Ms Lichtenberger said.
Both previous and first-time competitors will again be competing for a collection of 100 plus prizes covering the top 10 heaviest snapper, mystery weight snapper, heaviest snapper caught be a female, boat owner's random draws, junior encouragement awards, other daily species and the team's section.
The 2011 championship saw around 650 anglers compete from SA, Victoria, NSW, WA, NT and Queensland. Local angler Denis Knowles took out the title with his 14.08kg Whyalla Big Red. Ashley Talbot, of the Adelaide seaside suburb of Semaphore Park, won with a 15.65kg snapper in 2009, and Andrew Hodges, from Wantirna, Victoria with a 14.06kg fish in 2007.
Key dates for prospective competitors to note are March 1 for the close of a special earlybird discount entry fee and March 30 for the acceptance of last entries.
BACKGROUND: The ones to beat:
2011:14.08kg, Denis Knowles, Whyalla, SA,
2010: 15.04kg, Ray Curnow, Whyalla SA.
2009: 15.65kg, Ashley Talbot, Semaphore Park, SA.
2008: 13.88kg, Darrell Murray, Whyalla, SA.
2007: 14.06kg, Andrew Hodges, Victoria.
2006: 14.22kg, John Xerri, Victoria.
2005: 14.66kg, Wesley Yates, Port Augusta, SA.
2004: 14.72kg, Heath Withers, NSW.
2003: 15.98kg, Daniel Fell, Whyalla, SA.
2002: 14.84kg, Luch Demarchi, Port Augusta, SA.
2001: 14.36kg, Eric Calder, Whyalla, SA.
2000: 13.55kg, Ken Halse, Coober Pedy, SA.
1999: 13.65kg, Adrian Ellis, Port Augusta, SA.
1998: 11.9kg, Peter Lipczyk, Whyalla, SA.
1997: 13.45kg, Richard Caldwell, Whyalla, SA.
1996: 15.5kg, Hans Jaritz, Whyalla, SA.
1995: No event due to change of date
1994: 10.9kg, Rudi Klicek, Whyalla, SA.
1993: 13.09kg, Gary Paddick, Murray Bridge, SA.
1992: 9.9kg, Ralf Pidun, Whyalla, SA.
1991: 14.0kg, Tom Cheesman, Whyalla, SA.
Copies of a full-colour information flyer, entry form and other details including photos of previous championships can be viewed on the event's official web site - www.australiansnapper.com.au.