What do you get if you put 84 ladies, a fishing competition and one of the most spectacular fisheries in Australia together? A whole lot of fun, some impressive fish and a seriously hot competition for all.

GECSFC Ladies Competition

Groote Eylandt Game and Sport Fishing Club’s Ladies Competition has been running now for seven years. I have been lucky enough to participate in the last five of them. Each year the competition gets bigger and better – it peaked in 2016 with 127 ladies taking part. Not bad for a tiny remote town with a population of approximately 1000 people in all, hey?

‘Best Photo’ winners – Kiss our Basses!

For me, and many other ladies who live on Groote, it’s one of the highlights of the year. It’s an event that gives us girls an excuse (and a push) to leave behind the cares of daily life for a day or two and get out on the water amongst some awesome fishing and scenery.

A lot of people know that I love getting out on the water. I love fishing. I love the time I get to spend with family and friends on the boat, out in the rivers and on the sea. I love emerging myself in the spectacular environment that Groote Eylandt has to offer. Of course that’s all great, but what I particularly love this time of year is seeing those who are new to fishing, or who simply can’t get out there much, giving it a go and having an amazing time and lots of laughs in the process.

Not just about fishing…

Over the years, I have encouraged ladies to enter the competition, only to have that hesitant, ‘Oh, but I don’t fish…’ come back in reply. Those that go ahead and enter anyway have always come back afterwards glowing – and no, it’s not sunburn. There’s a happy (and sometimes newly competitive) glint in their eye, and a determination to do it all again next year with a new understanding – it’s not just about the fishing!

My team – ‘Bigfish is the new black’

Perhaps even more important is the company and camaraderie we get from hanging out with the girls, skippers and support crews (dads, babysitters, partners and bar tenders) who all have one goal in mind. Fun!

Groote Eylandt fishing

It helps that Groote has some of the best fishing in Australia (well, I think so). This year, our team caught 20 different species, from golden snapper and nannygai, to barramundi and barracuda. Tuna, mackerel, shark, mangrove jack, cod, blue nosed salmon and plenty more were hooked.

And some were not, despite a fair bit of effort and a few comic errors. At least no one fell overboard this year, but I have never before put so much effort into trying to catch a batfish (with no success) or a sea mullet (yay! Caught that one). It’s not just about the spectacular prize-fish people usually target… that batfish would have been worth an equal number of points to a barramundi. That’s another reason I love this comp.

Kelly’s black marlin!

Well done to all the girls who entered, from Kelly, who caught a spectacular black marlin as big as her boat, to Lou who caught her own finger (ouch!). They both have the photos to prove it. The presentation night was also a highlight for many who brought along their fishing shirts and dancing shoes and danced well into the night.

Unfortunately, that’s it for another year. Now we are left with sore feet, fantastic memories, photographs… and a countdown to the next one.

 

*Do you have a local event that you look forward to every year? I’d love to hear about it… leave a comment below.

All photos courtesy of GEGSFC Facebook page, Melainie Collins, or own collection.

*Thanks to the GEGSFC and all the organisers, especially Melainie Collins – without whom there would have been no event.

Organisers and helpers, 2017

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