08 June 2005
GRANDMOTHER LANDS A TOYOTA AT FRASER ISLAND FISHING EXPO
The big winner at the 2005 Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo was a Queensland grandmother who drove away in a new generation Toyota HiLux 4x4.
Leigh Hannant from Hervey Bay, a mother of three and grandmother of two, claimed the prize - the recently released HiLux 4.0-litre V6 packed with Toyota Genuine accessories and valued at more than $40,000 - in a lucky draw on the final night of the twenty-second annual competition.
Another lucky winner was John Drew from Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, who won a new Toyota Echo 3-door hatchback valued at more than $15,000 that was provided by Toyota Financial Services.
“The fishing this year was wonderful and it’s gratifying to see so many people having a great time and leaving the island in even better condition than we found it,” Toyota Australia northern manager Chris Beuth announced at the final presentations.
This year’s Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo established a record for the number of fish caught in the popular Catch and Release section.
Official judge Gary Howard weighed and released 1132 examples of five species back into the ocean during the six days of competition on the north-eastern tip of Fraser Island.
This is almost twice as many as last year, when 572 fish were weighed and released.
Mr Howard said that the Catch and Release program not only preserved fish populations, but helped to educate anglers on how to handle live fish and keep them healthy.
Numbers were also well up in the Catch and Weigh section, up from 271 last year to 440 this year.
The largest catch of the week was a 22.1kg wahoo caught by Sunshine Beach (Queensland) angler Bruno Zigliotto, who backed it up with the second-largest catch of the week.
Mr Zigliotto obviously knows the waters around Fraser Island well because it is the second year in succession that he has scored the biggest fish of the competition.
Another outstanding effort was a 16.4kg Red Emperor landed by Andrew Withers from Lowood in Queensland.
Boaties were out in greater force this year, with 289 skippers registered for the competition compared with 236 last year.
Over six days, 1500 competitors from most states and territories fished the waters around Orchid Beach and Waddy Point on the north-east tip of Fraser Island, the world’s biggest sand island.
Fraser Island is restricted to four-wheel drive vehicles only and Toyotas again dominated the camping sites, accounting for 770 out of 1025 of competitor vehicles.
Apart from the major draws, prizes were awarded in 17 fishing categories, taking the total value of prizes for the week to more than $200,000.
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In a lucky draw on the final night of the 2005 Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo, Leigh Hannant from Hervey Bay claimed the prize - the recently released Toyota HiLux 4.0-litre V6 packed with Toyota Genuine accessories.