evans head fishing classic 2017
Snapper season is firing, with plenty of big fish coming on the chew.

Evans Head Fishing Classic 2017 – all you need to know

IT’S not long until the Evans Head Fishing Classic 2017 and it looks like it’s going to be a pearler.

A new event format will be laid out under the guidance of Australian Fishing Tournaments. This company has a brilliant record with fishing competitions, be it bream, bass or the North Coast Fishing Bonanza, which is one comp my better half and I fish and we love the way it is run. The Evans Head Fishing Classic runs from July 7-14 and provides a week of fun and games for serious and not-so-serious fishers. Being run during the NSW school holidays, it’s perfect timing for the whole family to come along and enjoy the festivities.

For the non-fishers in your family, there is plenty to do around Evans Head, with miles of pristine beaches and headland walks where you can watch whales cruising past (and July is a great time of year to see them). You’ll also find very nice novelty shops in the area, such as Beachside Bargains in Evans where you can pick up heaps of goodies. The local pub and Chinese restaurant have lunch and dinner menus, or you could grab a feed and a cold beer at the bowls club and have a game while you’re at it if that’s your thing.

The Classic will be held on the Evans River right behind Woodburn Evans Head RSL Club. This venue is brilliant. The RSL Club has sponsored the Classic for years and has always supported the committee. Here you can also get a great meal after the Classic’s nightly draws. Sitting up the top watching the draws is the way to go if the weather turns nasty.

Accommodation is something you’ll have to think about if you are going to be visiting for the comp. Here’s a few options to get you started: the caravan park (02 6682 4212), units at the bowling club (02 6682 4343), a holiday house and units available through the RSL (02 6682 4282), LJ Hooker (02 6682 6000), First National (02 6682 6226) and Camp Koinonia (02 6682 4329).

The weekend in the competition invites the little ones in for the new Cadet Competition, a two-day comp for juniors, with prize pools open to all budding anglers under the age of 16. AFT has also introduced new overall champion categories. There will be a champion male, champion woman and champion team, with a limit of four per team. I like the team concept because it means you can fish with your kids as a team. Fishing boundaries are from Byron Bay to the Clarence River, so if one bar is too dangerous and closed, you may launch at any other bar within the generous boundaries.

You’ve got a good chance of encountering donkey-size jewfish during the Evans Head Fishing Classic.
Solid tuna can push your gear to its limits.
evans head fishing classic 2017
Chappy and a jewfish caught on a soft plastic from the closer reefs off Evans Head.
Offshore anglers are spoilt for choice around Evans Head.
Blackfish are in full swing, with quality fish getting about.
Adults will be competing to take out a variety of fish categories including snapper, pearl perch, mulloway, tailor, kingfish/cobia, amberjack/samson fish, whiting, bream, blackfish and flathead. Cadets can target the usual estuary suspects of flathead, whiting and bream.

All fish are to be alive when pictures of the fish are taken on a brag mat approved by the organisers. Brag mats will be available from the venue if you don’t own one or yours isn’t deemed suitable. While the organisers encourage catch and release, if you want to take a feed home that is fine too. Nightly giveaways and fish prizes are up for grabs, as is a great boat and trailer package drawn at the end of the comp. With over $80,000 of product to give away, you’ve got to be in it to win it. You don’t even have to fish to win a prize, with Hobie kayaks, Lowrance sounders, Wilson Fishing gear, Engel fridge-freezers, Samurai rods, Mako sunglasses and much more to be given away as random draw prizes.

Congratulations to the previous committee on a job well done over the years, but new blood brings a new beginning for the Evans Head Fishing Classic, and I’m looking forward to it. For the seven-day event, entry costs $130 for adults and cadets (12-16 years; parent/guardian must approve). For the two-day weekend event on July 8 and 9, entry is $40 for cadets and $20 for juniors (0-12 years, parent/guardian must approve). All seven-day entries will receive a free shirt. Head to evansheadfishingclassic.com.au to register now and find out more.
Local fishing

Evans Head is fishing really well, with very nice fish being caught in the deep blue. I have been grounded due to ill health, so I’ve depended on a few mates to keep me updated on what is happening out there. While I have heard mixed results, the most recent reports have been brilliant. Snapper, trag, pearl perch, jewfish and tuna are being caught on the closer reefs. As we move further into winter, the snapper fish will just continue to improve, but please let the big girls go as they are the breeders. The colder it gets, the more big girls will show up on the closer reefs. If you’re out there, just keep a feed of pinkies. I love plate size snapper because they have really sweet meat. If I get a jew and a few pinkies, I’m a happy chappy.

The Evans River has fished OK since the onset of winter. Big snowy (sea-run) bream and blackfish are my preferred targets.

Blackfish will be my number one this year but getting a hold of weed is a bit of a problem as I am unable to climb the rocks or make it up the headlands to gather it. So I’m going to have to depend on mates to get it for me (lucky my mates are total legends!). At the beginning of the season, the best bait for blackfish is cabbage, which you don’t usually have to go far to find. Most rocks near ocean water will have some cabbage on them, just make sure you grab enough to berley with as well as use for bait. Cut off small pieces, mix them with sand and don’t overfeed the fish with berley. Throw in little bits at a time around your bait and you should get a feed. Remember just a small piece of cabbage on your hook is all you need and a small size 8 or 10 hook.

Our beaches are fishing fairly well, with bream, dart, whiting, tailor and a hell of a lot of flathead being landed. I’m not sure why we have had this flathead explosion but I’m not complaining. In some sessions fishers are catching 20-plus fish and many of them are well and truly quality fish. Ocean-caught flathead are so clean and tasty compared to river flathead.

Well I’ve said my piece for this month. I hope to catch up with some of you guys and girls at the Evans Head Fishing Classic 2017!

‘Til next month, remember: limit your kill, don’t kill your limit. Tight lines and smelly fingers.


About Gary 'Squidgie' Palmer

Squidgie thinks he was born with a fishing line in hand. His father and uncles were mad-keen fishers and spearfishers, he learnt his trade in the Wollongong area as a kid and is still learning to this day in his current area of the far north coast of NSW. Bream and flathead are the main species Squidgie targets on soft plastics or hard-body lures. He hasn’t used bait in about 15 years. Any queries, just email squidgie@bigpond.net.au or phone 0402 415 487.

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