The New Zealand Softbait Championship is similar in concept to the pro bass tournaments in the USA and Australia. The winner is not the angler with the single heaviest fish; instead you have to land 4 snapper on each of the two days in order to qualify. The fish are measured rather than weighed; to be eligible, all snapper must be between 35cm and 60cm in length. This is designed to protect the big breeders and the smaller fish under 10 years old, and will ensure that the best angler wins - or at least a very good angler will take out first prize. A lot of tournaments are won by an angler who just gets lucky when a 20-pounder swims past - not this tournament. You will have to put in the effort, be consistent and have some ability if you want to win.
There are a number of unique features to this tournament which we like: the snapper are measured not weighed, a fin is clipped and you get to keep the fish you enter. There will be a late weigh-in (measure-up?) on Friday, the first day of the tournament. As long as you are in the queue by 9pm your fish will be measured - which lets you have an evening fish, a great time to fish in the Coromandel at this time of year.
This tournament will award the title of NZ’s Champion softbait angler. The organisers of this tournament recognise that they are not in the hospitality business, which they leave to the professionals. The venue is the “Bottom Pub” the Admirals Arms Hotel, 146 Wharf Rd in Coromandel town. It has an outdoor bar, a marquee, a stage, and will have circulating finger food at no charge as well as a $10.00 barbeque, Handle Club prices on beer and great staff. They have booked a couple of large adjacent sites for secure off-street parking, and the pub will run a leader board on the big screen updated after every angler records their fish on Friday and Saturday. They also have a great restaurant if you don’t want to eat the basic barbeque with the rest of us anglers.