THE EXPORT NZ FISHING COMPETITIONTHE PRIZE BOAT IS HERE!Leaderboard action With most of us back to the daily grind, a few long weekends this side of Easter still provide hope of getting out on the briny. Some decent high-pressure systems brought about some great fishing weather after Christmas, resulting in the busiest month of the Export NZ Fishing Competition season, with over 300 catches submitted. As a result, there are a few changes to the leaderboard, with Gabe Wills (146cm kingfish), David Kovacs (56cm gurnard), Matt Vieceli (60cm blue cod) and Dean O’Brien (68.5cm blue moki) taking top honours. Additionally, Hawkes Bay surf angler Luke Leydon has scored himself a late Christmas present with his 54cm kahawai landing him our monthly prize. Thanks to the team at Shimano, Luke will be kicking off 2024 with a new Shimano Blackout 7’ 2-piece rod and Stradic 4000FM XG spin reel spooled with Kairiki 20lb braid worth $750! Prize Boat The 2023-24 season Prize Boat is here! Once again, thanks to our incredible sponsors, we’ve put together another amazing Prize Boat to be given away at the end of the season. Worth over $85,000, the Extreme 1770 Enduro is an inshore angler’s dream, and we’ve already had a fun day out on the water on her… all in the name of ‘testing’!A side console configuration, there is a wealth of fishing space on the Prize Boat including a huge casting platform up front. The driving position behind the console is comfortable and there is bench seating at the rear of the cockpit. She’s ready to fish with a livebait tank, Shimano rod and reel combos, and a Lowrance HDS Pro fishfinder/chartplotter. In addition, Hutchwilco have come to the party with lifejackets to keep everyone aboard safe. Powered by a quiet and powerful Suzuki DF100B four-stroke outboard, the Prize Boat absolutely flies… and she looks bloody cool doing it, with a flash kingfish-themed wrap from Brave Designs and a unique SeaDek design underfoot. Finally, a high-quality Voyager single-axle trailer makes launching and towing a breeze.All you need to do to be in the draw to win this beauty is register for the Export NZ Fishing Competition and submit an approved catch this season!Dometic Sustainability Tip The Export NZ Fishing Competition is all about sustainable fishing, giving anglers the choice to keep or release their catch while still being in the draw for some great prizes! This month’s Sustainability Tip, brought to you by Dometic, is all about releasing your catch.If you decide to release a fish, there are a few simple rules to follow. Ensuring you have wet hands or a damp towel when handling fish helps maintain the protective mucus on their skin. The best practice is to leave fish to be released in the drink, but if you have to take them out, ensure you move as quickly as possible to minimise stress for the fish.And make sure you don’t place them on a hot deck! If fish have been caught from deeper water (+20m), barotrauma can affect their swim bladder and internal organs, particularly for bottom-dwelling species such as snapper. Barotrauma symptoms to look for include organs protruding from the mouth or anus, bulging eyes, or gas bubbles popping out of scales. Barotrauma is regularly a death sentence for fish, so if fishing in deep water for bottom-dwelling species the answer is simple: keep the legal fish you catch, and when you have enough for your needs, stop fishing or head into the shallows.Registration and up-tothe-minute leaderboards can be viewed at www.fishingcomp.co.nz
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