LEIGH Johnston has been declared the Victorian Snapper Champion after he reeled in 9.88kg fish at the weekend.
Mr Johnston, of Pakenham, made his catch in Western Port Bay during the 29th Tea Tree Snapper Fishing Competition, which includes the state championship.
There were 2003 competitors, 228 of them juniors, who fished Port Phillip and Western Port bays on Friday and Saturday in the popular annual event run by the Mornington-based Snapper Point Angling Club.
Spokesman John Vincent said ideal weather conditions on Friday afternoon meant a record number of weigh-ins that night.
"There is an enormous amount of snapper around at the moment," he said.
"The northern end of Port Phillip Bay was producing great results for many competitors."
Over the competition 2536 snapper were weighed in, 883 of them from Western Port.
Wallan 15-year-old Dillon Paul won the junior section with his catch of 7.22kg in Port Phillip Bay.
While the glory and the state championship goes with catching the biggest snapper, competitors only need to catch a fish of legal size to get a ticket in the $120,000 prize draw.
There were 64 random capture prize packages given away, including three boats, at the presentation event at Mornington Racecourse.
Warren Michaud of Hampton Park, Gerald Sammut of Corinella and Robert Thorne of Kyabram will all have a new launch on their next fishing trip.
There were also 10 lucky draws just for entering.
Mr Vincent was full of praise for the crowd at the presentations.
"We estimated about 3000 people attended the event," he said.
"It was a terrific picnic atmosphere with families enjoying the food and activities on offer.
"It was a fabulous crowd."
Winner Open Section
Leigh Johnston of Pakenham—9.88kg; Lyda Ryal of Officer—8.95kg; Alan Finch of Crib Point—8.70kg.
Winner Juniors Section
Dillon Paul of Wallan—7.22kg; Marlon Blackford of Frankston—6.92kg; Jake Maxwell of Chirnside Park—6.64kg.
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