MANY years ago a very small group of people started an event to attract visitors to the beachside paradise of Bowen and showcase what could be caught in the serene waters just off the coast.
During September, this annual event turned 25, and while nominations were down, the crowd wasn’t. Clouds threatened but the 25th Bowen Family Fishing Classic and Wet Weekend went off without a hitch. Visitors and tourists came to Bowen’s Front Beach to enjoy time with family and friends and of course refreshments.
Some came for the fishing and others for the family activities and prizes but all came for Bowen’s greatest entertainment line-up of the year, headlined by the super Shannon Noll. Australia’s favourite son had the town on its feet with his unique ability to tap into pure emotion. He certainly captured the hearts and minds of music fans in the Whitsundays on the Saturday.
The crowd of all ages enjoyed a great range of music on the open-air beach stage, with support bands from Sydney and Brisbane as well as local and regional bands ensuring everyone had the chance to rock along to some of their favourite tunes. The biggest fish weighed in was a spanish mackerel landed by Drew Morgan.
This 24kg fish earned him an electric-powered kayak worth $2000 thanks to Tropic Petroleum. The heaviest fish weighed in by a female angler was a 5.065kg coral trout captured by Melissa Eisemann. She took home $1000 worth of Centrepoint Trader dollars to go shopping with. Many families took advantage of the huge range of activities from yabby pumping to cake crunching, crawchie racing, a sand castle competition, kids’ handball competition and cast net throwing.
The $500 male and female dash for cash races had runners slowing down ‘just a bit’ because they had to carry a ball and spoon. All activity winners went home with fantastic prizes without even having to go fishing. All 16 fishing categories were won in both the senior and junior categories. And with just as many secret weight prizewinners, many anglers waited with ‘baited’ breath when the presentations got under way on Sunday afternoon.
Once again, it was another great Bowen Family Fishing Classic and Wet Weekend for all involved. With the tents and crowds now all but a memory, the committee would like to thank all the event sponsors and volunteers. Without them this event would not be a success. www.bowenfamilyfishingclassic.com