Winner Jason Sheehan, left, with sponsor Stephen Behn, fishing columnist Dick Richards and Examiner editor Peter Ellem.
Winner Jason Sheehan, left, with sponsor Stephen Behn, fishing columnist Dick Richards and Examiner editor Peter Ellem.

Brooms pensioner?s modest bream hooks $4000 boat prize

By PETER ELLEM

BROOMS Head recreational angler Jason Sheehan is giving away his Daily Examiner Fish of the Year major prize of a $4000 boat and trailer to his brother Deryk, a Grafton house painter.

"Well, he (Deryk) might have to give me a kidney one day," the 34-year-old disability pensioner mused with classic understatement at the Iluka Boatshed and Marina on Tuesday.

Mr Sheehan was born with a mild form of spina bifida, a condition which has gradually worsened since leaving school and which brought on a stroke two years ago.

He lost the sight of his left eye and feeling in his left arm for a week, but specialists also found that his kidneys had dropped from 60 per cent to 25 per cent in functionality.

Mr Sheehan accepts their advice that within the next decade he will have to go on home dialysis or undergo a kidney transplant.

Until then, he watches his diet, is a teetotaller and enjoys regular fishing outings with his father Norm, chasing jewfish, bream and flathead in the Sandon River. But it was a modest 842gm bream, caught on a plastic lure in Brooms Head Lagoon and weighed in at Richard Parker's Brooms Head General Store in late November, that put him in the draw for a shiny new boat package.

Now, courtesy of Stephen and Malcolm Behn, of Iluka Boatshed & Marina, Mr Sheehan has taken delivery of a 3.15-metre Stacer 315 ProLine punt with Yamaha 5 engine and Redco trailer.

The Behns, who in June celebrate 20 years in business ? the past two in purpose-built riverfront premises ? last year gave the popular competition its biggest boost in over a decade through their generosity.

Mr Sheehan said he wanted his brother and his family to enjoy the new boat because he already has a 4.1-metre boat, to which he is quite sentimentally attached.

"I nearly lost her (the boat) about six months ago coming out of the Clarence (River) near the Maclean Police Station boat ramp," he said.

"I was working the winch when the handbrake of my old car let go, and the lot ended up in the drink. The car was a write-off, but I managed to retrieve the boat and trailer."



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