Five-hour haul pays off as Oates reels in a big winner at Challenge

NINE-YEAR-OLD Matthew Oates loves fishing.

So it won’t shock those who know the Clifton Grove resident to find the keen angler has taken out the junior first place award at the 2014 National Pirtek Fishing Challenge at Ben Chifley Dam in Bathurst.

Competing in the Murray Darling Basing redfin category, Oates snagged a 40.4 centimetre redfin to claim top honours in the category last month.

“I caught about 25 redfin on the competition day, but my winning entry was far and away my biggest fish,” Oates said.

A catch and release competition, the winners of the competition submit a photograph of the biggest fish they catch to earn a prize.

“I fished with a baitcaster rod and reel and Transam Jackall lures,” Oates added.

“I fished off the Gurus Gear Ranger Z Comanchee competition boat for about five hours to land my winning fish.

“I just love the sport of fishing.”

It’s not the first award young Oates has won, nor does it look like it’ll be the last.

Oates and his brother Mitchell won a Humminbird Fishfinder when they won the Junior Canobolas Marine VIP Member Prize at the Burrendong Classic in 2012 with silver perch and yellow belly catches, but this was his first time in the Pirtek Challenge.

Oates says his interest in the sport has been enhanced by all the help and encouragement from fellow anglers at Canobolas Marine. 

“The team at Canobolas Marine have helped me learn to use a bait-caster reel and how to select the right lure for a target fish,” he said.

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