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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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11 September, 2021

Thomson tribulations

This year's Longreach Yellowbelly Classic saw huge numbers.

By Michael R Williams

The Landsharks camped by the Thomson River for plenty of family fun. PHOTOS: Michael R Williams

FROM across Australia adventurers gathered for their chance at securing a portion of the Longreach Yellowbelly Classic’s massive prize pool. 

Along the banks, attendees camped and over the bridge, they cast their rods — in a record-breaking attendance. 

The event was also the final leg in the Triple Crown Challenge, which involved three western fishing competitions, including Isisford and Windorah.  

The inaugural winner of the Triple Crown Challenge, with the largest overall length of caught fish of all three events was Isisford’s, Sue McKenna.  

Longreach Yellowbelly and Recreation Club President, Elizabeth West said the event went well.  

“We had a huge catch, huge numbers of fish and I was impressed to see such a young fellow who caught most of them — over 50,” she said.  

“You don’t always realise how many their people are, but if you run a boat up the river, you’ll see just how many people are camping. 

“A lot of people have been here for a week already, and a lot of people will stay for another week or more.” 

Ms West said about half of the attendees would be from outside of Longreach.  

“It’s been a great family event; we had activities for the littlies and laser tag for the bigger kids,” she said.  
“I think they really enjoyed that. 

“It was great to see all the family groups sitting around, having a nice dinner — a bit of music, a couple of prizes, yeah, it was great.” 

Ms West said the 53cm winning yellowbelly was about normal for the event.  

“We know they came bigger than that,” she said.  

“Someone down at Isisford caught one recently that was 60cm, not in a competition, unfortunately, so they didn’t get a prize for that.” 

West said the event had a committee of eight people. 

“Everyone took on a role, it was great to be able to split up the work,” she said.  

“We weren’t going to go ahead unless we had enough people to share that load. 

“It’s been great, we’ve all enjoyed it too.” 

Ms West said they plan to hold the event as a part of the Triple Crown Challenge again next year.  

“It takes a little while to establish these new concepts,” she said. 

“But we’ve had a number of people inquiring, 'when’s the Windorah comp on? when’s the Isisford comp on?'."

“So, we’ll actually do a little more marketing in the lead up next year, and hopefully, get a few more people in the lead up to those other events.” 

Ms West thanked the volunteers. 

“An event like this only happens because lots of people are willing to put the time in,” she said. 

“It’s not just us, it’s also the Lions doing all the food — it’s really great that people are willing to put time aside and have a great community event.” 

This year will be the final year with Elizabeth West as President of the Longreach Yellowbelly and Recreation Club. 

The Longreach Yellowbelly and Recreation Club Committee thanked Elizabeth West for taking the reigns and guiding them through the 2021 event.  

Secretary, Shannon Brooke said Elizabeth has been involved in the Longreach Yellowbelly Fishing Competition since 2018 as a helper and heavily involved as a pivotal Committee member since 2019.

 “Without Elizabeth’s knowledge and support, we could not have pulled off this year's event,” she said.  

“We wish her the best in her move back to the South East and welcome her to volunteer at the 2022 event.”  

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