Waikato Regional Lake Championships – Lake Maraetai August 2023.
The final competition prior to both the SFFNZ Senior and Women’s teams heading off to their respective World Champs saw a solid field of 22 anglers descend on Lake Maraetai for the Waikato
Regional Lake Championship.
Notable by his absence was Tim “Mr Maraetai” Rich, who is enroute to Slovakia as part of the Silver Flies squad, but his absence was more than made up for by the inclusion of several first-time lake comp anglers: Christine Pritt, Jack McCutcheon, Andre Banas and Johan Kok.
The bright, still conditions on the competition weekend ensured this was a traditionally tough Maraetai angling test with blank avoidance the first point on the agenda of most participants, and the end of day one saw several anglers in with a chance for glory on the final day, with Charlie Abrahams, Rachel McNae and Cory Scott sitting in the top three.
Ultimately, the results went to the wire with venue regular Charlie Abrahams improving on last year’s runner-up position to just edge out Brendan Lyon who made a late run from 4th to end up in
2nd, and the super consistent Cory Scott coming third. Rachel McNae finished the top female angler in 5th place, and evergreen Neil Hirtzel landed the biggest fish with a superb 63cms Brown Trout.
Special mention should also be made of Johan Kok and Chris Pritt who finished their first lake event in the top half of the results table.
Reflecting on his victory, Charlie said:
“it’s no secret that I fish this lake regularly, mainly because it is my nearest still-water, but I also enjoy it for the size of the browns and variety of the fishing. Over the last couple of months, I had noticed that open water drifts in shallow water produced more rainbows than usual but that only worked with wind on the water. Given the weather this week, I therefore spent the flat, early morning sessions in deep bays focusing on the resident fish and only switched to longer drifts with lighter lines as the wind increased during the day. I was also extremely fortunate with my conversion rate, not losing a single fish over the weekend. You need that sort of result to overcome anglers like Brendan and Cory who are at the top of the game here, and I congratulate them both on their podium positions.
I would like to thank the organisers Damon Taylor and Tim Anderson for an impeccably run event as well as all the SFFNZ members who have made me so welcome as a newcomer to this country and this group and my boat partners who were all members of the Fly Ferns team. I will never forget this first trophy in New Zealand!
The catch statistics make interesting reading – last year 28 rainbows and 42 browns were caught by 20 anglers, this time 72 rainbows and 35 browns came from 22 anglers. That means that the species
mix has completely reversed and the rod average has gone up from 3.5 to nearly 4.9, a 38% increase, which allays any fear that practice efforts may have harmed the fishing. More likely, it seems new
approaches and areas have been discovered, which can only be good for the sport.”
From left, Brendan Lyon 2nd, Charlie Abrahams 1st, Cory Scott 3rd