Bundy Sportsfishers Look to the Future
  |  First Published: March 2010

The Bundaberg Sportsfishing Club is working hard to ensure the future of recreational angling in the Wide Bay region.

The Bundaberg Sportsfishing Club is an energetic and active branch of the Australian National Sportsfishing Association of Queensland (ANSA Queensland). Based in the Rum City of Bundaberg, the club has a long and successful history which dates back to its establishment in 1979. Since that time, the club has always strived to enhance the lot of recreational anglers, by stocking fish into local waterways and by passing on their skills to future generations.

While the club has always prided itself on it community involvement, the last 12 months or so have seen the members working extra hard to raise the club’s profile and help firm up our long term future. I guess things really started happening in July of last year when the club finally found a permanent place to call home. Thanks to the negotiation skills of the dedicated committee members, the club was able to secure long term lease to a local scout hall for use as our club house.

While this might sound like a relatively small achievement, club members have really appreciated having our own home base, rather than taking turns to host our monthly meetings. No doubt, having ‘The Den’ as it is affectionately known, has also helped us to raise our profile within the community and helped us attract new members to the club.

Barra for Bundaberg

As mentioned previously, the club has been involved with stocking several popular waterways around Bundaberg over the years. During that time, we have put considerable numbers of bass into places like the Burnett River, the Elliott River, Splitter’s Creek and the Isis Impoundment (Lake Gregory).

We have also released a small numbers of saratoga into the freshwater section of the Burnett River. While some releases have been more successful than others, no doubt a lot of the angling success achieved in local freshwaters can be traced directly back to the hard work of club members.

Thanks to the club’s latest stocking efforts, keen barra anglers have something extra to look forward to in the not too distant future. On the last day of January this year, the club released approximately 10,000 barramundi fingerlings into the freshwater reaches of the Burnett River at Cedars Crossing. Despite the wet and rainy conditions, approximately 30 club members, including a large number of juniors and sub-juniors, turned up to assist with the release and everyone was keen to load up their buckets and send the little barra on their way.

The baby barra were sourced from the Gladstone Area Water Board Fish Hatchery and were approximately 5cm long at the time of release. They were active little blighters and most fish shot off happily once they were given their freedom. While they may be only small now, the fish are expected to grow quickly in their new environment and it is quite likely that they will have reached legal length by the end of this year. No doubt there will be plenty of keen anglers out there by Christmas checking on their progress.

While we have some great barra impoundments within a few hours drive of Bundy, if good numbers of barra can be established in the Burnett, it will give anglers yet another destination to head to. It is also likely that some of the barra will head over the Ben Anderson Barrage and down into the saltwater to spawn, therefore helping to further boost barra numbers in the local area for years to come.

Teaching Tomorrow’s Anglers

Another of the club’s more notable achievements in recent times has been hosting the Lifestyle Kids Fishing Days. These days have now become an annual event for the club and are yet another example of how the club is investing in the future of fishing.

The Lifestyle Kids Fishing Days are sort of like a ‘Come And Try Fishing Day’ and they give kids from families who don’t regularly go fishing the chance to pick up some basic fishing skills. Once they have been shown the basics, the ‘students’ are then taken down to the water and given a chance to put what they have learned into practice and hopefully catch a couple of fish.

This year’s Lifestyle Kids Fishing Day was held on Sunday, 21 February at Elliott Heads. Despite all the rain leading up to the event, on the day conditions were perfect, with fine and sunny weather greeting the 25 keen young fishers who lined up to take part in the activities.

The day started by getting everyone together, so the instructors could go over the plan for the day. Then the kids had a special visit from Duey the dugong. Duey came along to help the instructors talk about the ways in which pollution and litter damage the environment and make it hard for Duey and her friends to find the sea grass she eats. Duey also wanted everyone to know the importance of slowing down in areas where dugong live, so that Duey and her friends don’t get hit by a boat.

Once Duey had finished her part of the presentation, the kids were presented with specially printed t-shirts and shady bucket hats to keep them all sun safe. Then the youngsters were organised into groups, and it was off to visit one of the five different 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, and a knot tying demonstration. With so many youngsters involved, the groups rotated around the activities every 10 minutes or so. While the aim of the exercise was to pass on a bit of knowledge, the instructors also wanted the kids to have a bit of fun while they were doing it.

By morning tea time, the educational section of the day was over and it was time to hit the sheltered waters of the Elliott River. Such was the generous support for the event that the club was able to supply each child with a brand new Surecatch rod and reel to use on the day and then take home with them. Thanks must go to Rehbein’s Guns and Fishing Gear in Bundaberg for their help in providing all the fishing gear which was given away.

Now if you know anything about fishing, you will know that even the best of us can have trouble finding fish in the middle of the day. Luckily, however, the Elliott was slightly murky after all the rain and as the tide came in, so did the fish. They weren’t huge, but several of the participants managed to catch a variety of species including dart, bream, flathead and whiting. Obviously most of the fish were on the small side, but that didn’t worry the kids, who were just happy to be catching something and there were plenty of smiles all round.

Was the day a success? Well you only have to look at the photos hereabouts to see how much the kids enjoyed themselves. They learned a little, caught some fish and most of all they had a great time. No doubt, some of the kids who came and participated in the day will go on to be keen adult anglers in years to come.

While it took a lot of hard work by the committee and club members to organize an event like this, obviously these sorts of days can’t happen without the generous support of a number of groups. With that in mind thanks again to Rehbein’s Guns and Fishing Gear. Special thanks must also go to the Burnett Mary Regional Group for providing Duey and the bags of giveaways. The club would also like to thank the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the state government who provided the funding for the Lifestyle Kid’s Fishing Day through Sunfish.

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