TICKETS sold out so quickly for the Weipa Fishing Classic this year that organisers have had to put out extra for the fishing categories.
The event itself is free, but the $65 keyring gave you entry into the fishing categories as well as the major prize raffle.
When the last of the allocated 2200 keyrings sold on Saturday morning, the volunteer committee had to find a way to keep the local anglers happy.
“We’ve come up with $35 tickets for adults and $25 for juniors for just the fishing competition,” president Aaron Schleich said.
“These tickets won’t get you into the major raffle draw but you will be eligible to win some of the great prizes we have for the fishing categories.”
All the usual fishing categories are up for grabs this year, with one new one – mud crabs.
“We will announce the details for that category on Friday night because we don’t want people to go out catching a heap of mud crabs,” Mr Schleich said.
The president said this year’s prizes, with three boats up for grabs, were “pretty deadly”.
“The random pool prize is going to be cool, too.
“I think last year we gave away around 100 random prizes and we’ll be aiming for a similar number this year.
“There are actually four boats as we have another one up for grabs in a $10 raffle, so if you missed out on a ticket in the main draw you can still be in the running to go home with a new boat.”
The Weipa Fishing Classic kicks off on Friday night, although the fishing component doesn’t start until midnight.
The weigh-in station will open at 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday and will close at 5.30pm.
“We think this year will have a real show feel about it as we start to get back to normality after those COVID years,” Mr Schleich said.
“We’ve got more than 30 stall holders, which includes the food outlets and there will be some great entertainment over the three nights.
“With the expertise and sponsorship of KC’s Fireworks we are excited to bring you some festive flare on both the opening night and closing night.
“This is the Weipa Fishing Classic’s gift to the community.
“This is our gazetted show holiday so we really want it to have that ‘show’ feeling.”
MARK Berg says it took him a long time to get to Weipa but it has proven to be worth the wait.
“It’s now one of my favourite places in the world,” he said.
“I know Cape York well and used to go to Seisia every year, but somehow managed to avoid Weipa.”
The host of this year’s Weipa Fishing Classic and face ofMark Berg’s Fishing Addiction visited the community last year to film an episode of his TV show and has already been back again.
This will be his third trip to Weipa in 12 months.
“I’m bloody excited,” he said.
“The last trip I did with Ganesy (Far North Fishing’s Kurt Gane) we camped out on a river mouth and I think we got about 70-80 barra, just on topwater lures.
“What I love most about Weipa is that it feels so pristine and untouched.
“The community is so positive, too, and love their fishing.”
Berg is no stranger to the microphone, having hosted major events over the last two decades.
He says he’ll bring energy to the stage across the three nights and hopes to be able to impart some of his fishing knowledge at the weigh-in station.
“I can’t wait to see what everyone brings back,” he said.
“I know that there will be people there that don’t know a lot about fishing, or kids that are new to the sport, so we’ll help people identify the species and try and get the crowd involved.”
BERG is famous for bringing amateurs on his fishing expeditions.
As part of his package, three lucky people in the Weipa crowd will win a trip to New Zealand for the trip of a lifetime.
“It’s another great chance to win at the fishing classic,” he said.
“Three people in the crowd will be surprised with a trip to New Zealand where they will go fishing for kingfish and snapper in a remote area on the North Island.
“The odds are sensational as well because you have to be one of the 2200 ticket holders and you also need to be a subscriber to Mark Berg’s Fishing Addiction.
“We’ll cross-reference those lists and draw out three people on Sunday night.”
Berg said people could sign up over the course of the weekend and be in the draw, with information to be shared on the opening two nights.
“This part of NZ reminds me a bit of Weipa in that it’s remote and untouched,” he said.
“The fishing is going to feel a bit different, though.
“People are going to get their arms pulled off. When you hook a kingfish that is over 30kg you need to be hanging on.”
Mr Schleich said the Weipa Fishing Classic was thankful for the support of Berg and the long list of sponsors that made the iconic Cape York event possible.
“Make sure you keep an eye out for the list of sponsors over the weekend because they are the ones you should support as they support you and this event,” he said.
“Special thanks to Cavs Marine & Outdoor who have gone above and beyond in supplying four boats for this year’s Classic.”
Check out the list of prizes on Page 9 of this week’s Cape York Weekly.