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A rookie competitor in the Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo claimed a brand new Toyota HiLux Turbo Diesel 4x4 trayback after winning the major prize draw on the final night.

Ian Hall, a concreter from Lower Portland near Windsor just outside Sydney, was one of 50 competitors whose name was randomly selected from a record 1490 fishing competitors during the 19th Fishing Expo.

The event was held at Orchid Beach on the northern end of Fraser Island from May 18-24.

The draw revealed the winners in reverse order until in the end there were just two people standing of the stage - Ian Hall and Gary “Joe” Schwarz from Buderim on the Sunshine Coast.

Gary’s was the second last number drawn, winning him the runner-up prize of a $27,000 centre console Southwind boat with 60 Hp Yamaha outboard.

That left Ian Hall standing on stage alone, the owner of a brand new 3-litre Toyota HiLux Turbo Diesel 4x4 trayback and accessories valued at over $39,000.

It was his first time at the Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo.

Ian is currently the owner of a two-wheel drive HiLux, which he admits is on its last legs.

Hervey Bay local Kevin Gillespie, also attending the fishing expo for the first time, won third prize - a Yamaha Wave Runner valued at over $14,500 courtesy of Toyota Financial Services.

Second place getter “Joe” has been fishing the event for the past six years.

“The first thing I’m going to do when I get back home (to Buderim) is to go and get my boating licence so that I can take my prize for a spin,” he said.

Competitors in the week-long event targeted a total of 13 species of fish, with five of those making up the Catch, Weigh and Release category.

This year over 60 percent of fish caught and weighed during the event were subsequently released.

Outstanding fishing performances for the week included:

* Maryborough's Ian Garret, who finished first and second in the Flathead Catch, Weigh and Release category with a 4.83 kilogram and 3.00 kilogram fish respectively. Ian’s bigger fish was also the largest outright catch, earning him $4000 by winning both the Catch, Weigh and Release and the Catch and Weigh divisions.
* Murwillumbah’s Jim Hayes won both the Sweetlip (4.230 Kilograms) and Jobfish (12.635 kilograms) categories. He also hauled in the biggest daily Wahoo on the final day of competition.
* Kingaroy local Shane Howard won the Red Emperor crown in the dying moments, beating Proserpine’s Brett Fallon by a mere 240 grams.
* Gary Enkelmann from Gympie managed to land the largest Whiting for the tournament. The 564-gram fish earned him $4,000. On top of that he snared another $2,000 for the largest Tailor and finished second in the Swallowtail.

The 2003 Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo will be held again at Orchid Beach from May 24 - 30.

For further information:

Expo Hotline

Ph 1800 800 543

Ian Hall, the 2002 Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo major draw winner with his prize on Orchid Beach - a brand new Toyota HiLux Turbo Diesel 4X4 trayback valued at over $39,000.