Hedland’s keenest fishers reeled in prize-winning catches off the boat over the weekend at the annual Blue Water Classic, with impressive hauls and a day of entertainment in trying weather conditions. There were 71 anglers competing across the two days — 10 more than last year. Damian Butler had the most bizarre catch of the comp when he accidentally hooked himself with a treble and was forced to remove the hook. Butler submitted himself as a catch and release fish, naming it the “Damo fish”, measuring 1.86m. It was an opportunity for Hedland’s fishers to experience the new Richardson Street Jetty for the first time, after its completion on July 26. They provided positive feedback about the jetty, believing it to be a huge improvement and a lot safer to use. In the Blue Water Classic awards, Barry Townsend claimed the weighmaster’s prize with a red lionfish. Raihania Whaanga was leader for the most species caught and released with a total of 19 while the Roy Fenton Memorial award for most released sharks went to Amanda Harris for her tally of four. The biggest catches were Ronny Kris’s 19kg mackerel and Tony Russell’s 12.5kg cobia. Port Hedland Game and Fishing Club weighman Peter Bartho had fished at the Blue Water Classic for the last 15 years. He said the event went well and everybody had a good laugh over the weekend. “We all joked around with each other and everybody thought the new jetty was really good,” he said. “It was really windy out there on the Saturday, pretty choppy with 20 knots-plus wind and a bit of swell. It was trying conditions but there were some very good fish being weighed in.” Next year will be the 30-year anniversary of the Blue Water Classic.