Jai Tennant with one of his eels last year.
Jai Tennant with one of his eels last year.

Eeel championships set to fire

POSTPONED due to floods in October, the Bellingen Eel Fishing Championships are set to start on Monday.

Now in their 23rd year what began partly as an initiative to improve the Bellinger River’s freshwater perch population by culling eel numbers has now become a fun annual event for young and ‘not so young’ anglers.

Organiser and founding enthusiast Wal Tyson said the event gave him the joy of seeing children happy and enjoying fishing.

“Eel fishing is heaps of fun and very challenging – the eels can be very lively,” Mr. Tyson said.

“In fact, a prize is given each day throughout the week for the liveliest eel – kids should make sure they keep their eels in a bucket of water so they are full of energy at weigh-in.”

The championships promote catch and release and Mr Tyson said another joy was the excitement children got watching all the eels slithering back into the water after the daily weigh-ins.

For those competitors under 16, the ‘Waterhole Wal’ Perpetual Trophy is on offer to the person who catches the biggest eel during the week.

“The Australian record is held by Bellingen boy Jai Tennant, who caught a real beauty last year weighing in at a massive 11.65 kilograms – see if you can beat that!” Mr Tyson said.

Registration is only $2 for under 16s and $5 for seniors for the week, payable when you weigh in your first eel. Weigh-in is at 5pm sharp each day at the northern end of Lavenders Bridge, Bellingen.

The free presentation/BBQ will be held at the Bellingen Bowling Club on Sunday January 9.

For more information phone 6655 1072.

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