2019 Sweetman's Reel Fishin Lower Waikato River trout comp

2018 October Contest results

Kilwell 2018 Lower Waikato river trout contest results.

The Kilwell Lower Waikato river trout contest was again a superb family event, this year the 8 day long contest attracted 55 keen experienced anglers from Cambridge to Te Kauwhata, well up on the previous 3 years. With 23 juniors under 17 and 32 adults including 3 in the women’s section, there was strong competition for the $6,000 plus in prizes sponsored by locals, corporates, and businesses.  Kilwell NZ featured in the prize selection and were a valuable sponsor, the remainder was mainly sourced from our local Sweetman’s Reel Fishin’ Huntly store.

The river started at a reasonably low level from Saturday October 6th, decreased further but then rose with some showers towards the end date, Saturday October 13th. The weather was very favourable, overcast with light winds for much of the week. 

With the lower level we had good clarity at times, and there were many reports of whitebait being seen in greater numbers, plus there was a higher proportion of new junior and even adult contestants catching their first trout in the competition.

There were 65 trout caught, with 62 being browns and 3 rainbow trout. This compares with 66 trout in 2017. Many more fish were caught or released than were entered, and overall they were in similar condition and slightly heavier on average than the previous year.

With the contest area being as usual the main stem of the Waikato from below the Karapiro dam to the Waikato heads, the fish were caught from Karapiro dam to Mercer, with the browns chasing the annual whitebait migration. This year, a majority of fish (by numbers) were caught in the Rangiriri (16), Huntly (12), Cambridge (11) Ngaruawahia (6) areas. Next were- Hamilton (4), Ohinewai (4), Taupiri (2), Mercer(2), Karapiro(4), Horotiu (3) and Hopuhopu (1). 

While most of the fish were caught from shore, some anglers used their boats to access good areas or fish from their anchored boat, and some were caught trolling. This is a top spin fishery, the most popular terminal tackle by far was still softbaits (43) , followed by spinners (11), rapalas (5), large wet flies with splitshot (3) then worm or bait (2), tassie devils (1).

Most trout were caught early morning or at dusk and into the evening, but a surprising amount were also taken in the middle of the afternoon. The more successful anglers targeted the very edge of the river, using short casts or even just trailing a lure off the rod tip to probe likely brown trout lies behind and under cover, along banks with good current. From analysis of the total catch data this year, the average trout in this area weighs about 1.353kg, (well up on last year) and has a condition factor of 38.89, which is a nicely coloured trout. 

Weigh stations were at Sweetman’s Reel Fishin’ in Huntly, Taupiri Tavern in the evenings, plus Waikato Hunting & Fishing in Te Rapa and also Sportsworld Cambridge.

Competition started in earnest at 5am on the Saturday 6th Oct. During the 8 days fish were weighed in steadily with the usual flurry in the weekends. 

The prize giving was held at Taupiri Tavern on Saturday 13th in the garden bar( a day earlier and a popular choice), with free barbecue provided by owner Bob Gamble, plus some on-site “cold smoked” trout from Steve Farrar and a wonderful cooking and tasting demonstration from Mike Geelen (featuring smoked fish croquettes and his famous dip/spreadf) which kept the big crowd happy. 

This year we again had a wide ranging prize selection of fresh and saltwater fishing related products- bags, rod/reel combos including slow-jig types, smokers, lure packs, knife sets, waders etc
A new plus this year was a series of miniature trophies for winners in the junior and women’s sections, donated by the Cocup and Farrar families respectively.

Results for the 2018 competition; 

Juniors (23 entries, 17 fish caught)

1st heaviest brown trout- Dylan Farrar (Huntly) 2.160 kg- $250 package
2nd heaviest brown trout- Cory Burt (Hamilton) 1.825 kg- $150 package
3rd heaviest brown trout- Ocean Leigh Cocup (Taupiri) 1.774 kg - $100 package
Last fish weighed in- Jordan Moffitt (Huntly) 1.474kg-  $100 package 
Best condition factor trout- Cory Burt (Hamilton) 46.73 condition factor, $250 package.

In the juniors, the entry draw prize went to our youngest competitor- two-year old Cruz Godfrey from Hamilton, he was the happy recipient of a $250 rod combo, sponsored by Huntly Fish Game and Clay Target Club. He presented 2 trout at weigh ins!

Ladies (4 entries, 3 trout caught)

Heaviest trout- Andrea Sharpe (Hamilton) 2.480 kg- $200 package
Best condition factor trout- Andrea Sharpe (Hamilton)  55.35 condition factor- $100 package

Adults (32 entries, 47 trout caught)

1st heaviest brown trout- Graham Mc Haffie (Hamilton) 2.550 kg $350 package 
2nd heaviest brown trout- Steven Farrar (Huntly) 2.510 kg $250 package
3rd heaviest brown trout- Andrea Sharpe (Hamilton) 2.480 kg $100 package
Heaviest rainbow trout- Joe Bradford (Cambridge) 860g  $200 package 
Best Condition Factor rainbow- Joe Bradford (Cambridge) 52.38  factor, $200 package

Best condition factor brown trout adults section- Andrea Sharpe (Hamilton) 55.35 condition factor. She won a major prize of a $500 sporting voucher to be redeemed at Sweetman’s Reel Fishin’. This is co-sponsored by Sweetman’s and Taupiri Tavern. 

Kotare Ventures Best Condition Factor overall trophy- Presented for the seventh time, the stunning trophy donated by Kotare Ventures (John Charteris) was won by Andrea Sharpe, 55.37. 

Team Section
The  4 person teams section drew 7 entries, with Steve Farrar’s “Flyz R Down” weighing 2, Clive Poultney’s “Flying Fush” 4, Jeremy Johnson’s “Trout Ticklers”  3,  Sharnay Cocup’s “The Incredibles” team 2, Steven O’Hara’s “The Tradesmen” 3, Steve Sharpe’s team “Fish Magnets”  3, and Michael Lynch’s team “Hack n’ Flash” 10.  To qualify, team fish had to have a condition factor of 36 or above, so some fish were excluded from the “bag”.

The prizes are for the best average condition factor of the total fish caught per team, and was a close race, with the prizes going to-

Team Section 1st – Fish Magnets (Hamilton) - Average condition factor 46.95,  $500 prize of 4 x $125 packages

Team Section 2nd – The Tradesmen (Huntly) - Average condition factor 46.82,  $200 prize of 4 x $50 packages

Rest of teams in order- 
Trout Ticklers .46.39. FlyZ R Down 42.97, Flying Fush 41.19,  The Incredibles  39.86, Hack n’ Flash averaged 39.23. 

Overall average weight trout for the whole competition- $250 prize comprising a boat rod combo and lures from Sweetmans- weight was 1.353 kg and nearest was Brian Taplin with a brown of 1.362 kg. Congratulations to a very deserving winner, he put in plenty of time on the water and weighed in 6 trout.

Adults grand entry draw- this was open to all adult entries regardless of success, and was a stainless steel 6 burner Masport Barbecue valued at nearly $1200 with gas bottle part sponsored from Mitre 10 Mega at the Base. Number 147 won, and it was Ray Lloyd from Huntly, a new entrant with his son Oscar Kemp-Lloyd this year- well done. Reports are that it has been put to good use at home already!

Six $100 “novelty” packages of assorted  tackle were given to AJ Morley Jnr, Oscar Kemp-Lloyd Jnr, Blake Baverstock, Jeremy Johnson, Michael Brown and a shared one between Tyla and Chase Baranyai, both juniors. These were for a variety of deserving hard work and persistence during the competition.

The many remaining spot prizes from Sweetman’s Reel Fishin’ were then distributed to all contestants- 4 digital subscriptions donated by NZ Fishing News, caps, nets, BNZ bags, knives and tackle from Holiday Fishing, plus lures sponsored from Plant Talk. 

Two good raffles were run at the prizegiving, (thanks for your support),  the $269 Shimano Bait-runner combo was won by our host Bob Gamble, with 2 minor draws going to Richard Tregoweth and Bernard Bailey, and the popular $100 meat pack raffle donated by The Meat Co Huntly had 3 draws, 1st Chase Baranyai, 2nd Logan Baxter, 3rd Margaret Taplin.

The contest has been coordinated by the team of Peter Sweetman, Michael Lynch, John Charteris, William Van Zyl , Bob Gamble, Sharnay Cocup, and Steven and Tracey Farrar. 

John Charteris assisted with the initial planning, erected a banner at Ngaruawahia and organized the major draw prize, the barbecue.

Peter Sweetman and the Reel Fishin’ team liased with Kilwell, picked and packed some outstanding prizes for the competition,  and his team handled the weigh station duties at Huntly. He also supplied many of his own product range at significant discounts and stocks a great range of salt and freshwater tackle for the locals to buy, and displayed the big banner on his Main Rd frontage. Thanks too to the staff of Sweetman’s, Peter Fletcher, Margaret Taplin for prize selection/packing and Sharon Mackie for handling the entries and finances (and sponsorship via Graham’s Plant Talk)

William Van Zyl was official photographer and committee member, and has uploaded his wonderful images to our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/troutfishingcontest2018/
All of the competition images are there, you can email him for full resolution pics at williamvzyl@xtra.co.nz.

Michael Lynch produced posters and entry forms, handled email lists, PR and paper publication, selected Kilwell prizes and handled the Taupiri weigh-ins and computed the results.

Sharnay Cocup and Steve and Tracey Farrar were a big help on the day with raffles and food and especially Steve with the smoked trout and data checking, all had good input at meetings and both the Cocup and Farrar families donated trophies this year. 

Bob Gamble helped set up the weigh stations, and he and his team took care of the venue preparation & barbecue at the Taupiri Tavern prizegiving and hosted us very well, including the 7 nightly weigh-ins. 

Our 2 outer weigh station venues need a big vote of thanks- Sportsworld Cambridge (Blake and Stacey)  & Waikato Hunting & Fishing (Scott Fraser & Logan Baxter). 

Many thanks to the great media coverage we have had from local publications,  especially Jim Richardson at the Chatter and Grant Dixon at NZ Fishing News, this helped publicise the event.

Much appreciation to all the sponsors, contestants and families, for making it such a wonderful competition. 

The following sponsors made the competition possible, so please support them…

 Gold Sponsors


Silver Sponsors
 Beddis Rivertown Electrical 
Huntly Plumbers
Mitre 10 Mega Te Rapa
NZ Fishing News
Huntly BNZ

Bronze Sponsors

Waikato Hunting & Fishing Te Rapa 
Sportsworld Cambridge
Huntly Meat Co.
Planet FM (Colin Shepherd)
Plant Talk 
Kotare Ventures
Waikato Times
Your Cambridge News
The Cambridge Edition
Huntly Snapper Club 
A/W Fish & Game
Cocup & Farrar Families

Don’t stop fishing, plenty of action on the river from now till early December, then it will fire up again about May or before. Remember your licence lets you fish anywhere in NZ except Taupo fishery.

Lower Waikato Trout Contest Committee 2018

Michael Lynch, Peter Sweetman, William Van Zyl, John Charteris, Bob Gamble, Steven & Tracey Farrar,
Sharnay Cocup.

Trout Contest Facebook