Snapper fisherman holds on to win

'It’s all finally beginning to sink in. We won. After all that bloody hard work, we won!'

'It’s all finally beginning to sink in. We won. After all that bloody hard work, we won!'

Gisborne’s Chris Spurr hooked the fishing prize of his life and won $30,000 at the Durapanel Snapper Bonanza 90 Mile Beach Surfcasting Competition. Pictures supplied
Winning Team Eastland Port with Sam Morrison, Chris Spurr, Chad Prentice and Nick Powis, enjoying the spoils of victory.

GISBORNE angler Chris Spurr hooked the fishing prize of his life at the weekend, winning $30,000 at the Durapanel Snapper Bonanza 90 Mile Beach Surfcasting Competition.

He was back home on Sunday with wife Clare to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, with children Noah, Sophia and Joel.

Traditionally, a first wedding anniversary is celebrated with a paper gift. Mr Spurr came home with a little more paper than most.

“We’ve been together for 14 years and today is our first wedding anniversary,” he said.

Sponsored by his employer Eastland Port, Mr Spurr took leave without pay for a week and hoped to win at least $1000 from the competition to cover loss of wages.

Instead, he and three mates took home a whopping $37,100 in prize money from a competition that attracted the biggest turnout in its seven-year history.

AMore than 830 anglers entered and caught 880 fish from Tuesday to Saturday. He landed the $30,000 fish in the contest on the second day, a 6.175kg snapper, and won $30,000 cash and a further $2000 for catching the heaviest snapper on the day on Wednesday.

His team bagged another $5100 during the competition.

The winning snapper took the bait about 8.30am on Wednesday, dragged him about 50m and his line tangled into another fishing line.

“There were multiple fishermen to my right at the time. I knew it was a good fish but didn’t think it could end up being the heaviest. It looked to be an average fish.

“It measured 66cm but because we didn’t think it was big enough to be weighed, we put it in a chilli bin and continued fishing,” he said.

Thinking it would be surpassed, he waited anxiously all week.

Tall fishing tales

On the last day of fishing, tall fishing tales were abundant. A short time before the competition finished, an angler came up to him and said he had just caught the winner.

“So I watched that one get weighed and, well, it wasn’t heavier and that’s when I knew.”

“It’s unreal, you never know for sure until you get to weigh-in. The difference could have been a few grams.”

The Eastland Port team members: team captain Chad Prentice from Wairoa, and Sam Morrison and Nick Powis from Hawkes Bay, have split their winnings. Each man has come away with $9150.

“A big thanks to my team mates and to Eastland Port. It has been a great team.”

Spurr took part in the Durapanel 90 Mile Beach Snapper Bonanza in 2015 but could not make it last year.

“We got married on the Saturday the competition ended last year. Next year may be trouble for me because the fishing competition’s last day falls on the day of our wedding anniversary,” he said.

He started fishing with friends as a five-year-old and takes part in fishing competitions throughout the country.

In November, he won $500 cash for catching the heaviest snapper at the Great Exhibition Bay Fishing Competition at Te Kao. The fish weighed 5.5kg.

Snapper Bonanza co-organiser John Stewart said despite the large turn-out of competitors, Mr Spurr’s fish was the smallest fish to win the competition in the seven years he has been running it. The average size of the winner had been 9.7kg during that period.

The heaviest snapper in the competition’s history was 12.030kg, caught by Te Puke’s Darin Maxwell in 2012.

Mr Spurr said the team worked together gathering fresh bait, including crayfish and octopus, before the competition.

They spent countless hours preparing and talking about gear.

“Chad, Sam, Nick and I would retie our rigs, traces and leaders every night before the next day’s competition. You can’t leave anything to chance, as dropping one fish could have meant we missed out on the title.”

“Just as much time was spent studying the area available for fishing. No two bodies of water are exactly the same, so pre-tournament research helps anglers know what must be done to win,” he said.

“Chad has a good eye for reading the water, so after checking out each area beforehand and rating it, we were able to head back there on fishing days.”

“We did all of that together, formulating plans and strategising how we would fish depending on the scenarios of the day. That’s why we shared the spoils. We had the dream team.

“We’re all shattered but we love the sport, the competition and being outdoors. Getting up early, dealing with the sea and weather conditions, standing all day in the water definitely takes its toll but the pain is worth the rewards.

“It’s all finally beginning to sink in. We won. After all that bloody hard work, we won!”

GISBORNE angler Chris Spurr hooked the fishing prize of his life at the weekend, winning $30,000 at the Durapanel Snapper Bonanza 90 Mile Beach Surfcasting Competition.

He was back home on Sunday with wife Clare to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, with children Noah, Sophia and Joel.

Traditionally, a first wedding anniversary is celebrated with a paper gift. Mr Spurr came home with a little more paper than most.

“We’ve been together for 14 years and today is our first wedding anniversary,” he said.

Sponsored by his employer Eastland Port, Mr Spurr took leave without pay for a week and hoped to win at least $1000 from the competition to cover loss of wages.

Instead, he and three mates took home a whopping $37,100 in prize money from a competition that attracted the biggest turnout in its seven-year history.

AMore than 830 anglers entered and caught 880 fish from Tuesday to Saturday. He landed the $30,000 fish in the contest on the second day, a 6.175kg snapper, and won $30,000 cash and a further $2000 for catching the heaviest snapper on the day on Wednesday.

His team bagged another $5100 during the competition.

The winning snapper took the bait about 8.30am on Wednesday, dragged him about 50m and his line tangled into another fishing line.

“There were multiple fishermen to my right at the time. I knew it was a good fish but didn’t think it could end up being the heaviest. It looked to be an average fish.

“It measured 66cm but because we didn’t think it was big enough to be weighed, we put it in a chilli bin and continued fishing,” he said.

Thinking it would be surpassed, he waited anxiously all week.

Tall fishing tales

On the last day of fishing, tall fishing tales were abundant. A short time before the competition finished, an angler came up to him and said he had just caught the winner.

“So I watched that one get weighed and, well, it wasn’t heavier and that’s when I knew.”

“It’s unreal, you never know for sure until you get to weigh-in. The difference could have been a few grams.”

The Eastland Port team members: team captain Chad Prentice from Wairoa, and Sam Morrison and Nick Powis from Hawkes Bay, have split their winnings. Each man has come away with $9150.

“A big thanks to my team mates and to Eastland Port. It has been a great team.”

Spurr took part in the Durapanel 90 Mile Beach Snapper Bonanza in 2015 but could not make it last year.

“We got married on the Saturday the competition ended last year. Next year may be trouble for me because the fishing competition’s last day falls on the day of our wedding anniversary,” he said.

He started fishing with friends as a five-year-old and takes part in fishing competitions throughout the country.

In November, he won $500 cash for catching the heaviest snapper at the Great Exhibition Bay Fishing Competition at Te Kao. The fish weighed 5.5kg.

Snapper Bonanza co-organiser John Stewart said despite the large turn-out of competitors, Mr Spurr’s fish was the smallest fish to win the competition in the seven years he has been running it. The average size of the winner had been 9.7kg during that period.

The heaviest snapper in the competition’s history was 12.030kg, caught by Te Puke’s Darin Maxwell in 2012.

Mr Spurr said the team worked together gathering fresh bait, including crayfish and octopus, before the competition.

They spent countless hours preparing and talking about gear.

“Chad, Sam, Nick and I would retie our rigs, traces and leaders every night before the next day’s competition. You can’t leave anything to chance, as dropping one fish could have meant we missed out on the title.”

“Just as much time was spent studying the area available for fishing. No two bodies of water are exactly the same, so pre-tournament research helps anglers know what must be done to win,” he said.

“Chad has a good eye for reading the water, so after checking out each area beforehand and rating it, we were able to head back there on fishing days.”

“We did all of that together, formulating plans and strategising how we would fish depending on the scenarios of the day. That’s why we shared the spoils. We had the dream team.

“We’re all shattered but we love the sport, the competition and being outdoors. Getting up early, dealing with the sea and weather conditions, standing all day in the water definitely takes its toll but the pain is worth the rewards.

“It’s all finally beginning to sink in. We won. After all that bloody hard work, we won!”

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winston moreton - 6 months ago
Great news. Great win.
Our Eastland Port-sponsored team have won over $30,000 at the annual national surf casting competition at 90 Mile Beach. The victors deserve a ticker tape parade or at least a week's paid holiday for showing, once again, the sporting talent across so many codes that hail from East Coast.
There is a jarring note. The sponsorship by the port company is money that would have accrued to our community trust. What do our ECT trustees have to say about companies owned by it giving sponsorship to employees? Would ratepayers approve rates being used to fund council employees in professional sport?
I hope the team return to win again next year; but without funding from our community-owned assets. That money should go to reducing power bills and relieving poverty that causes family hardship throughout our district.

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