KRIS Banks says more people are starting to show an interest in fishing simply because it's the unknown aspect that lures them in.
Up to 100 keen anglers are expected to wet a line - from either the shore, a kayak, a tinny or a tournament boat - when the Port Macquarie Flathead Open commences on Saturday.
More than 350 people have shown an interest in the event, whether that's competing or just as a spectator.
Seven hundred and 80 millimetres is the mark to beat when the first competitor feels their first nibble, with a flathead that size caught by angler Brett Lee on September 26.
"It's all about the chase... it's the unknown," Banks said when asked about why fishing was starting to grow in popularity.
"You just don't know whether you're going to catch a five centimetre flathead, or a metre-long flathead."
With the annual Golden Lure held every January the only fishing competition locally, Banks said the Flathead Open provided an opportunity for recreational anglers to compete in tournament conditions.
"There isn't much in the way of fishing tournaments where your Average Joe can go and fish," he said.
"You can turn up and fish off the bank, you can fish out of a kayak, you can fish in your tinny or you can fish in your tournament boat.
"Anybody can compete whether it be a five-year-old that loves going out with mum and dad to an avid angler that goes out and does tournament fishing - it's right across the board."
The "catch-photo-release" format of the competition ensures there are no long-lasting effects to the river system.
"We use an app called FishDonkey that takes all photos and measurements of the fish automatically so the fish can be released straight away once they're caught," Banks said.
"It's a lot healthier for the fish and for the system especially if you have 100 anglers out there all catching flathead.
"You don't want them reeling them in and bringing them home."
The first line will be thrown in at 5.30am on Saturday with the last to be reeled in at midday at Westport Boat Ramp.
"It's preferable people register on FishDonkey and there is an entry fee of $20 which includes a brag mat for the day to take a photo of all your fish on."
Alternatively, search Facebook for East Coast Sport Fishing and follow the links.
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