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Fishing and Outdoors

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Cover story: Fish ’N Chicks Tournament 2022

5 min read

Delwyn Matene (second from left) with teammates Heidi Ross and Jeff Scott along with Robert Walters (first from left), skipper of their boat Intruder, weighing in her Second Place Heaviest Yellow Fin Tuna. Photo: Supplied

Back in 1999, the Tauranga Sport Fishing Club (TSFC) Fish ’N Chicks Tournament was inaugurated by a group of women in the community who wanted to host an event emphasising fun, fishing, and fundraising.

“The idea was to promote women’s fishing in New Zealand while also giving back to local charities,” committee member Jaime Dumbleton says.

While it has evolved in many ways over the past two decades, these core principles have remained.

This year, it is being organised by a small but strong team of seven passionate women who have volunteered their time to prepare an event that is sure to exceed expectations.

“We have high aspirations that this will be the most fun and successful tournament this club has ever seen,” says Jaime.

February is for Fish ’N Chicks

Nicole Irwin won the Second Heaviest Snapper prize in 2021. Presented by the legendary skipper Rick Pollock. Photo: Supplied

Hosted by the Tauranga Sport Fishing Club, the event is a social competition set to take place on 11 and 12 February this year. Entries are open to any female over the age of 12 who is interested in taking part; whether you are a seasoned angler or are yet to reel in your first big catch, all abilities are welcome to participate.

“This tournament caters to both inshore and offshore fishing aspirations, has great prizes, and always a superb atmosphere with a strong emphasis on having fun. Fishing experience is not necessary, as this is as much a social event as it is about fishing,” says Jaime.

Homes of Hope

In addition to empowering female anglers, giving back to charity is one of the primary purposes for hosting this event. In 2022, the Fish ’N Chicks fundraising efforts are going to Tauranga’s Homes of Hope, a local charity dedicated to providing foster home care and general welfare support to children in need – that’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through all 52 weeks of the year.

“This will be the first charity we have selected in more than 22 years that involves children,” Jaime says.

The organisation opens doors for young people who require assistance to live away from their families. Homes of Hope work tirelessly to provide safety, stability, and tailored support to children in a foster care setting as they strive to keep siblings together and minimise movement throughout their care.

Funds raised from Fish ’N Chicks’ silent auctions and raffles this year will be donated directly to the charity.

Welcome to the TSFC

A group of passionate women volunteer for the annual event at
the club. Photo: Supplied

Tauranga Sports Fishing Club was formed in 1923 and now caters to approximately 3000 members.

“Our club offers a wonderful relaxing atmosphere with a popular restaurant, panoramic viewing decks, pool table, large screen TV, bar facilities, gaming, and great friendly comradery,” says Jaime.

The club is also ideally located at Sulphur Point Marina, near the entrance to Tauranga Harbour.

“This area provides a pristine and unspoiled location for the club and is only a few minutes’ drive to the vibrant CBD of Tauranga. The coastline offers the visiting angler a reputation of world-class fishing for marlin, tuna, and kingfish. Mahi mahi, shortbilled spearfish, and broadbill are also captured from time to time. [The club’s] close proximity to Mayor Island lends itself to great billfish and big game fishing for those venturing out wide, where many anglers experience the thrill of the migratory game fish that abound this coast during the summer months.”

A goal to grow

The tournament is a highly anticipated event on the club calendar. Each year, they look forward to welcoming female anglers from all areas and of all abilities to enjoy some friendly competition in the Bay of Plenty.

“This is a great way for ladies to get away from their day-to-day life with 48 hours of fun, fishing, and a boogie on prizegiving night,” says Jaime.

Last year, 153 anglers participated in the event – a number that the committee hopes to exceed in 2022.

“This year, with the help from all our amazing sponsors, our goal is to have over 200 anglers at this event.”

In to win

An entry into the 2022 tournament gives the opportunity to win from a $70,000 prize pool. Photo: Supplied

An entry into the Fish ’N Chicks Tournament also gives you the opportunity to win from a greater $70,000 prize pool, which includes products

donated by local sponsors: outdoor furniture, bicycles, SUPs, marine electronics, fishing rods and tackle, apparel, and more. Prizes will be awarded across a range of categories, both on and off the water.

Competitive species this year include billfish (blue/black/striped marlin, and broadbill), tuna, skipjack/albacore tuna, kingfish, trevally, and kahawai.

Come prepared with your most memorable stories, too, as you could be the winner of Best Hard Luck Story 2022, Top Young Fisher Chick Award 2022 or one of Top 3 Skipper/ Deckhand Stories 2022. To make the event more colourful each year, the committee also decides on a dress-up theme; this year, it is ‘Your Childhood Idol’ for a chance to win a share of a cash prize among the Top 3 Fancy Dress Teams 2022.

How to enter

Entries into the competition are possible via the Tauranga Sport Fishing Club website (tsfc.co.nz) or in person: simply ask for an entry form (can also be downloaded from the link below) at the bar at the club’s restaurant. The early bird entry fee of $55 per angler is available until 31 January 2022, after which time, it increases to $65.

The Fish ’N Chicks tournament is a great opportunity to escape from everyday life for 48 hours by attending a competitive fishing event with a party atmosphere while raising money for Homes of Hope.

“Come and enjoy an amazing tournament hosted by the Tauranga Sport Fishing Club; we won’t disappoint! You will be guaranteed plenty of fun, laughter, and entertainment,” says Jaime.

What: Tauranga Sports Fishing Club Fish ’N Chicks annual fishing tournament for female anglers
Who: Open to females aged 12 and over
When: 11 and 12 February 2022 (briefing on 10 February)
Where: Tauranga Sport Fishing Club, Bay of Plenty
Why: Empower female anglers and have fun while raising funds for local charity Tauranga’s Homes of Hope

UPDATE: RED TRAFFIC LIGHT SETTING

The Fish ‘N Chicks Tournament 2022 is going ahead at this stage. However, given the current red traffic light restrictions, the event will be limited to a maximum of 180 registered paid entries, including skippers and team captains.

There are no changes to the fishing competition criteria or the fishing prize pool.

To comply with the current COVID regulations, the original format of the tournament has changed and may continue to change to comply with any future changes in regulations, the organisers said. Any changes will be advised to skippers/team captains at the pre-tournament briefing and changes will be notified and updated on the Tauranga Sport Fishing Club’s website.

Early Bird entries close at 5pm, 31 January 2022, and all entries close at noon, 8 February 2022 or on reaching 180 registered paid entries.

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