Inaugural Onslow mackerel comp proves a hit

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
Famous Sharron, Mack 10K winner Nat Hilton and Ashburton Anglers chairman Cam McGurk.
Camera IconFamous Sharron, Mack 10K winner Nat Hilton and Ashburton Anglers chairman Cam McGurk. Credit: Pilbara News, Shannon Beattie

Squalling winds didn’t stop a long-time Onslow resident from getting out on the water, catching a massive mackerel and winning the inaugural Mack 10K fishing competition.

Nat Hilton left Thalanyji Oval $10,000 richer on Saturday after his 15.5kg catch was announced as the biggest of the competition.

The mackerel comp was the first event hosted by the newly formed Ashburton Anglers and despite the winds, more than 90 people registered to participate.

Club chairman Cam McGurk said the weather restricted the fishing a bit, with 31 boats going out on Friday and only about 10 on Saturday.

“On Friday, participants were allowed 50 nautical miles out of Onslow, but on Saturday we had to restrict them to 20 nautical miles for safety reasons,” he said.

The competition also featured a junior division, with 10-year-old Stella Cowan winning the girls’ comp with a 6.88kg catch.

Mac Meyers, 6, was runner-up for the boys with a 7.08kg fish and Koby Britton came in first with a mackie weighing 7.42kg.

McGurk said they chose mackerel as the prized catch for the tournament because the fish was synonymous with the region.

“It’s also a fish which gives everyone a chance to catch,” he said.

“They’re quite versatile in the way you can catch them because you don’t have to have a massive boat, you can catch them out of a tinny or off the beach.”

The competition attracted participants from across the Pilbara, with anglers coming from Karratha, Wickham, Tom Price, Pannawonica, Newman and Exmouth to take their shot at the big prize.

While the tournament was lined up to coincide with the two-yearly Passion of the Pilbara festival, the club is confident it will be able to host the competition every year.

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