EASTER holiday tourists and locals were treated to a live auction with a difference on Nelson Bay foreshore on the long weekend.
The booming voices and tactics of Joe Martindale and Patrick Mullins rivalled those of seasoned property auctioneers, but eager members of the bidding crowd were not bargaining for prime waterfront real estate.
Instead they were haggling over seafood caught by competitors in the Australian Pacific Coast Championships.
The two-day auction hosted by the Newcastle Neptunes is an annual Easter event that draws huge crowds to the foreshore.
Traditionally, the Easter weekend brings overcast weather and rough seas, so the perfect autumn conditions drew even greater numbers than usual.
Located near d’albora Marina, the charity auction gave visitors to Nelson Bay a prime opportunity to bid for fish fresh from the ocean.
Competitors weighed in their species and then loaded them straight onto an iced-down display table ready for auction.
The bidding amounts rose rapidly in $10 increments, with auctioneers Joe and Patrick joking with the enthusiastic crowd and egging on rival bidders.
“Are you scratching your ear or is that another $10?” Joe quipped to the audience, inciting laughter.
Some of the amounts pledged were astonishing, with one man paying $80 for four bream.
With the funds raised to support the Westpac Helicopter Service, all offers were on the table and the money was gratefully received.
Families left with bags full of fish, and the smorgasbord of species was impressive.
Luderick, bream, flathead, trevally, bonito and kingfish were popular choices and a firm indication that fish species are abundant at this time of year.
By Jo FINN