'If you want to keep dad happy let him go fishing'
LOOKING for something different this Father's Day weekend?
Head down to the Great Northern Sports Club for the Spanish mackerel shoot-out.
"If you want to keep dad happy let him go fishing," Mackay Game Fishing Club secretary Brad Thirlaway laughed.
He and his club are hosting the Spanish mackerel shoot-out this weekend for anyone who wants to try their hand at game fishing.
It's their only competition open to the public and it's designed to let people know about the sport.
The competition was scheduled for earlier in July this year but was cancelled due to 50 knot winds.
Mr Thirlaway moved up to Mackay from Canberra two years ago and said the fishing up here is a lot better than the trout and bass he was catching down south.
In the past 35 years he has fished around the south coast, New South Wales, Tasmania and also lived in Vanuatu for 10 years.
After dropping a line here, he said the north Queensland fishing is on par with that in Vanuatu.
"I haven't been lucky enough to get a marlin yet though," he laughed.
"Hopefully anyone who fishes at the competition might get a bit of taste for it and want to go game fishing more often and join the club," he said.
The club is affiliated with the International Game Fishing Association and this is their fourth year running the event.
The competition opens just after midnight Friday and gives anglers until 3.30pm Sunday afternoon to land the biggest mackerel from the Whitsundays down to St Lawrence.
There is a $1000 cash prize for the winner.
Mr Thirlaway said there had been some fairly big Spanish mackerel being caught around the area, some up to 35kg.
"They are very aggressive fish and they'll smash the bait or lure and just go for it," he said.
"You know when you've got them because they just take off."
He suggested the best way to bait them was trolling with ribbon or garfish or using a hard body lure.
Last year about 70 anglers entered but the wind got the better of some and only 50 ended up competing.
"The weather's looking like it should be okay with winds up to 15 knots," Mr Thirlaway said.
"A little bit of rain won't hurt."
The seasoned fisherman admitted that even he found the competition hard.
"I'm a long way from the record but hoping to change that this weekend," he said.
While the competition is for Spanish mackerel he said club members could still tag other fish they catch to get the points.