Tis the season of fishing competitions, and now you tradies have your very own one to get excited about. The inaugural Great Tradie Fish Off will be held in March – it’s a measure-based online comp with three leaderboards: individual, company and trade. The eligible species are kahawai, snapper, and kingfish, with prizes for long bois and also average length fish. But how can you earn the bragging rights this year?

Choose your crew 

As the saying goes, you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family – so don’t fish this competition with your family. The right team selection is critical. From a glass half-empty perspective, let’s take a look at the type of mates who shouldn’t make your draft for the comp:

The Snoozer – this guy loves sleeping-in. In fact, he loves kipping so much he snoozes his alarm on average six times before he finally rouses. He’s selfish – he puts his own rest ahead of the team. He will put you on the backfoot for the rest of the day because he’s always in a rush but never on time, leading to mistakes and likely missing the early morning bite time.



The Party Animal – everyone loves this guy during a bender, but not when you’re getting up at 5am to go fishing.This absolute lad is likely to still be awake at 5am. He might even lull you into a false sense of security as he Bluetooths up some Netsky and charges on for the first part of the fishing morning. However, all things that go up must come down eventually – and this will result in an annoying sack of dead weight groaning and rolling around in the cabin for the rest of the day.


The Apprentice – don’t get me wrong, this type of individual normally means well. However, he can truly stitch you up through lack of experience. His common unforced errors include forgetting key supplies or not including the entire fish in the frame of the measurement photo. He also ties double-granny knots on his line and is no help when it comes to fishing tactics discussions. Oh, and did I mention he gets seasick too?


The Tight-Ass – fishing can be an expensive pursuit, so you need to share the burden amongst the crew. But old gorse-pockets doesn’t understand this concept. He won’t get lures, bait, morning coffees, fill the boat-up, or bring any food. He’ll also under-cater his own refreshments, meaning by midday he’ll be cracking open someone else’s beers. Even if he brings his own fishing rod, it will probably have been sourced from his Grandad’s garage and the reel handle might not rotate forwards without a liberal spray of CRC every few hours. 

Find the right spot

The right crew means nothing unless they’re in the right place. And like most things in life, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Therefore, you must use the lead-in time to the Great Tradie Fish Off to grease up those more knowledgeable than you. Shave something off their next invoice, link them up with a new client, shout them lunch or beers, or invite them along for a free fishing trip. Do whatever you can to earn a good fisher’s trust before March – then completely abuse that trust by hammering their favourite spots on game day. 

Measure your fish correctly

Whilst you can’t get out a rolling pin to make your catch longer, you can reduce it’s size by not laying it on the measure mat correctly. Make sure the fish is straight and the v of the tail is in the centre of the ruler. Hell, get the level out if you must – that 0.5cm reading could be the difference between glory or heartbreak. And make sure the snout of the fish is touching the start of the mat – you don’t want your winning fish disqualified. 

Targeting average length snapper

If you’ve already fished the bite time and have a few biggies under the toolbelt, it might pay to spend the last wee part of the day catching an average length snapper. For this, you’ll need to think like an average weekend warrior. Grab a stock-standard rod and reel set (stay away from expensive gear for this exercise) and an orange 100g Slider lure, or a ledger rig baited with hunks of pilchard. When you see a bunch of boats on the horizon, head over towards them. Don’t worry about the terrain, season, depth, tide or what your fish-finder is saying – just park up next to them and flick out your line. There’s also a popular school of thought that the closer you get to another boat, the more average your snapper will be. Based on previous measure-based tournaments, the average snapper size is likely to be around 40-45cm long (but you lot are obviously handy fishers, so the size might well bump up a couple centimetres for the Great Tradie Fish Off).

All the very best out there!

Article by: Nick Jones