SWANFISH 2017 wrap up

There was no doubting which capture attracted the most attention at last weekend’s Swanfish weigh-in.

Justin Chapman’s 10.6kg pink snapper raised plenty of eyebrows at Sunday’s weigh-in and was the biggest fish of the annual event run by the Melville Amateur Angling Club and Recfishwest, and supported by The Sunday Times.

There has been the odd good pinkie reported from the lower Swan over the years, but such a catch was most unexpected after the heavy rains of the previous weeks, which led to the river being given its biggest flush for decades and made for tough fishing conditions in Swanfish.

There were no mulloway weighed in and even chopper tailor were scarce, making Justin’s catch even more remarkable.

Fishing from a boat, he caught the snapper on a coral prawn and his bream outfit and said it took around 15 minutes to land.

It won him Most Unusual Capture.

Justin’s timing was pretty good, as he happened to weigh in the fish on the day Premier Colin Barnett turned up at Swanfish for the first time and he got to have his photo taken with the Premier.

The Premier’s attendance surprised the crowd and he was pretty popular after promising several initiatives for recreational fishing should he be re-elected.

These included new floating platforms for fishing in the Swan, more funding for re-stocking projects and a buy-out of up to half of the commercial licences in the Peel-Harvey system.

While the Premier and the pinkie stole the limelight, the weigh-in also showed there had been some surprisingly good fishing over the weekend given the tough conditions.

Plenty of bream, which were a catch-and-release only entry in this year’s event, were reported from downstream of the city centre and some good fish were caught, although competitor numbers were slightly down this year.

The best bream belonged to young Western Angler Next Gen team member Lachlan Carter, at 39cm in length.

Several tarwhine were caught, and the number of blue swimmer crabs weighed in suggested they had stayed in the river in despite the big flush.

There were some great prizes from Jarvis Walker, Getaway Outdoors and Anglers Fishing World, with Recfishwest’s Tim Grose handling the presentations.

The big winner was 12-year-old Riley Crone, who walked away with a dinghy and motor package for simply entering Swanfish, after his name was plucked out in a random draw.