From my experience at the kaikoura one you pay entry the morning before the event, get there quite early to get a decent spot. They do not seem to promote the events much so have to pay attention to know that they are occurring. The top three prizes are quite good, but winning one is mainly luck. Catching a fish is quite a challenge with most competitors failing to land any.
At the Kaikoura comp most people seem to use pilchard, Squid or crayfish for bait. So I try to avoid them while presenting my baits in interesting ways. First year I enter I caught two (which I foolishly released and used for bait because I thought they would be to small for prizes) while last year I lost 1 in the surf and landed one.
Piermaster always seem to catch quite a few fish so copy what he does.
Yeah, the Kai one seemed to clash with Amberly which did not make much since imo. I wonder if the organizers did not realise that people travel a fair distance to fish in the comps, or maybe communication between the groups are poor.