Bundaberg Sportfishing Club was proudly sponsored by Queensland Government to host the Lifestyle Kid’s Fishing Day at Elliott Heads on Sunday 1 March.
The Lifestyle Kid’s Fishing Day is a bit like ‘come and try fishing day’. It gives kids from families who don’t regularly fish, the chance to learn some of the basics and put what they’ve learnt into practice down on the water.
It didn’t take much time to fill the 20 available places at the Bundaberg event and, despite it being the first official day of autumn, they were treated to absolutely glorious weather in a picture-postcard setting.
The day started by getting everyone together under the marquee, which the club members erected, so the instructors could go over the procedure for the day. Then specially printed t-shirts and shady bucket hats were handed out to all the participants to help keep everyone sun safe. Once the youngsters were organised into groups of three or four, it was then off to visit one of the six different information stations to learn a bit more about the finer details of the sport.
The stations included a casting practice session, a soft plastic rigging table, a fish identification game, a fish tagging table, a knot tying demonstration and a short session in how to look after fishing equipment. With so many youngsters involved, the groups rotated around the activities every 10 minutes or so and while the aim of the exercise was to pass on a bit of knowledge, judging by the smiles, everyone was having a bit of fun while they were doing it.
Once the more educational section of the day was over, it was time for morning tea. While the kids slurped down their drinks and snacked on healthy pieces of fresh fruit, the club members assembled and rigged 20 brand new Browning rod and reel combos in preparation for our assault on the sheltered waters of the Elliott River. Such was the generous support for the day, the club was able to supply each child with a brand new rod and reel to use.
With everything organised, rods rigged and more smiles all round, 20 proud young anglers marched down across the sand. At the water’s edge, they were each armed with a plastic bucket to carry their bait and they set off to stake their place along the river.
On days like this where you have a heap of kids fishing during the middle of a bright sunny day, in sparkling clear and shallow waters and surrounded by swimmers and personal watercraft of every persuasion, you wouldn’t expect to catch much. However, someone must have forgotten to tell the fish as they were there in droves.
The bites started straight away and the first capture went to young Amber, who pulled in a little flathead on her very first cast! After that, it seemed to become a bit of a competition between the boys and the girls over who could catch the most fish.
Overall, the boys seemed to have a bit more experience and did a lot more talking about all the fish they were going to catch. However, it was the pretty pink rods being used by the girls that seemed to do the most bending and with loud cries of ‘Girl Power’ being heard up and down the beach.
Even though it was the girls who took the honours, the boys didn’t miss out completely. Young Brock, Ryan and Matthew were doing their best to even up the score. But, as so often happens, the female gender just seemed to have that gentle touch needed to hook the rat-a-tat bites from those cheeky little whiting.
At the end of the day, it didn’t really matter whether it was the boys or the girls who caught the most. Nearly everybody caught something and that just meant even bigger smiles all round and lots of giggles and good old-fashioned fun for everyone.
Lunch time was approaching so it was time to head back up to the covered area for a feed. The sausages in bread went down a treat with the hungry youngsters (and adult helpers too) and then it was time to say goodbye. And the kids had even bigger smiles on their faces when they realised they were allowed to keep the rods and reels they had used. Additionally, each child also got a prize from the lucky dip and a bag full of fishing goodies to take home.
The day was a great success and the kids really enjoyed themselves. They learned a little, caught some fish and most of all they had a great time. And hopefully, some of the kids who came and participated in the day will go on to be keen adult anglers in later life.
It took a lot of hard work by the club and committee members to organise an event like this, but the thought of being able to assist the next generation of anglers to carry on our sport makes it all worthwhile.Reads: 1861