RENEE Ferguson created her own piece of history when she claimed the NSW Amateur Fishing Champion of Champions title at Buckenderra in the Snowy Mountains on Sunday.
It required patience, persistence and an incredible level of mental toughness to become the first-ever female to do so in the 34-year history of the event.
Heading into the final round which covers deep sea fishing, estuary, rock and beach and dry casting, Ferguson was in second position.
Positions are determined by a percentage which is a result of the total number of fish and the combined weight.
“Between first and third there was only three per cent between us all and I caught six trout in the freshwater,” Ferguson said.
“I thought I needed 10 to be in the running for the champion of champions and fortunately they only came in with one fish which allowed me to overtake them.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the former Australian casting champion who went almost 12 hours without catching anything between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
“We were out there from lines down at 2pm on Saturday afternoon through to about 9am Sunday – so it was an all-nighter,” she said.
I got probably an hour and a half sleep on the boat, the rain was dripping on my face and I had six layers of clothes on because we were at the Snowy Mountains and I was still cold.Renee Ferguson
“On the Saturday I caught my five trout – because you’re only allowed five a day and 10 in total – so I thought I was looking pretty good.
“Then between 8.30pm Saturday and 7.30am Sunday I caught nothing.
“I got probably an hour and a half sleep on the boat, the rain was dripping on my face and I had six layers of clothes on because we were at the Snowy Mountains and I was still cold.”
The key to it all was targeting what she wanted to catch.
“Some people think fishing is all to do with luck, but you’re not going to go fishing for a drummer with black fish gear,” she said.
“I was committed to it and never thought about quitting. I was talking to some other guys on the water and they were saying they hadn’t caught a fish all night either.”
The 36-year-old Port Macquarie City Bowling Club Angling Club member was thrilled to have her name on the shield alongside well-known fishermen such as Chris Garrett.
I was committed to it and never thought about quitting. I was talking to some other guys on the water and they were saying they hadn’t caught a fish all night either.Renee Ferguson
“He was a member of our club when I was growing up and I remember going down to Burrinjuck Dam when he was in the running for champion of champions,” she said.
“He was able to successfully get that title back then I was only 16 at the time.
“It’s pretty unreal to be beside some of those names on the trophy because I know how great a fisher-blokes they all are and to have my name beside them is an absolute honour.”
In total, Ferguson caught 104 fish with a combined weight of 47 kilograms throughout the five events.
She will now focus on the Australian titles in Harrington next year.