Charter boats are arriving en masse in Port Macquarie this week for the 37th annual Golden Lure fishing tournament.
The Garmin sponsored event is organised each year by the Port Macquarie Game Fishing Club and runs from Friday, January 8 until January 16.
The cut off for entries is 6pm on Wednesday, January 6, although late entries will be accepted until Friday with penalties.
The spectator-favourite sail past and blessing of the fleet at Lady Nelson Wharf is scheduled to take place on Saturday from 7.45am.
Club president Janeck Kaczorowski said anglers are ready for a big return to game fishing in the Hastings.
"Obviously many people and the committee has been nervous about COVID this year and thankfully things have fallen into place for us," he said.
"Our roll-up has been really good with many people excited to get back into fishing. Many people have cancelled their own holiday fishing trips or competitions down the coast last year.
"Things are lining up well, it's all on and many boats are showing up early in what could be near-record numbers. We are expecting about 60 boats, which is close to the record."
Kaczorowski said there is a lot happening behind the scenes for registrations, the Friday night briefing and competition start.
The event runs over the week, allowing organisers to pick the best days for competition. Competitors usually travel from the Gold Coast, Sydney, Newcastle and Port Stephens by sea.
"Most entries will come from this side of the Hawksbury River such as Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and up the coast. Unfortunately this year we will miss some of the Queensland and Melbourne boats who are worried about how they will get home," he said.
"I think it's great to see the regulars come back, but also introduce the tournament and our region to new visitors as well."
The Golden Lure features cash prizes of $10,000 for heaviest marlin over 150kg, $7500 for the champion boat, $3000 for Blue Marlin, $2000 for a lucky boat draw and $2000 for heaviest shark over $150kg.
Shellharbour angler Steve Lamond, who competed in the competition last year and registered again this year, said the event has him hooked.
"We just have fun and enjoy it. We try to get out there and talk to people, learn something new everyday," he said.
"We're in town for a couple of weeks so we are looking forward to spending some time wandering around."
All boats and anglers must be registered with the club for the 20/21 season to qualify for points. Entry forms can be found HERE.
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