BIG FISH: Greg Collins and Wayne Stoves with their award-winning fish.
BIG FISH: Greg Collins and Wayne Stoves with their award-winning fish. Rachel Vercoe

Making a splash in competition

WE'VE all heard stories of rescued dogs turning from malnourished and scared to thriving due to a loving family and TLC but have you heard of the rescued koi fish which became a grand champion?

Koi fish co-owners Greg Collins and Wayne Stoves from the Northern Beaches have been collecting and breeding fish for a number of years and are passionate about caring for their pets.

"We got a call that a collection was abandoned and when we turned up, the broadest part of the fish was the head. It was all sunken in and skinny, it hadn't been fed and was only a little black fish, around 250mm long,” Greg said.

With time, care and a healthy environment, the little black fish thrived and is now 67cm with sparkling black and white scales and at the annual Australian Koi Association Championships this year, took out the Grand Champion fish.

This year was the first show Greg and Wayne entered after deciding it was time to show off four of their treasured fish.

Greg and Wayne knew they had quality fish but didn't expect to come home with Grand Champion Fish B, the President's Award and the Hong Kong Judge's Award.

"We've been working towards showing fish for about eight years. We finally decided it was time and we knew our fish were quite good but didn't know they were grand champion material,” Wayne said.

"It's still really hard to believe that we could actually do it, I'm very proud of our fish and love showing them off.

"The judges look for confirmation, girth, placement of how the fins are held when swimming and then look for colour and pattern.”

As a kid, Wayne caught carp in the creek behind his house and kept them in little tubs.

"It's been a lifetime passion but to get decent fish took us a very long time,” he said.

Caring for more than 100 carp, Greg has a pond and a pool filled with koi of all colours, shapes and sizes.

"I was fishing and looking for something to do when the seas were too big and heard there were carp in creeks where they shouldn't be and caught them to give to Wayne,” Greg said.

"He said maybe I should think about getting a little pond. I was only going to build a little pond but it kept getting bigger and bigger, it's an addiction.”

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