School Holiday Success – Come Try Fishing Program
School holiday periods are normally a time for families to get out and about and share new experiences. One experience that we would hope to see all kids involved in once, is the opportunity to pick up a rod and learn how to relax and hopefully catch a fish. Our ‘Come & Try Fishing’ school holiday programs aims to achieve that.
The Geelong and Bellarine group had the perfect Autumn/Easter School Holiday program with great weather and great fishing. The first event was held at Portarlington Pier where everyone was greeted immaculate fishing weather with light winds and patchy clouds. As a result, they managed to land a good number of juvenile Australian Salmon and two Banjo Sharks. The fishing was not red hot, however, persistence and patients paid off. The clear water and being able to see the fish swimming around added to the determination of the participants.
The following day marked the day we dreamed of. We ventured down to St Helens Jetty and very simply put; we had great fishing. It was the participants lucky day with all kids catching fish and some even having some to take home for a feed. The kids caught good numbers of Pinky Snapper to 40cm on a variety of baits including Squid Strips, Pilchards, and Pipis. They were also stoked to see a very healthy and fat 37cm Flathead. The best part was everyone around the group was also catching fish. It was smiles ear to ear.
We like to add diversity to our program where possible, so we changed from the saltwater to some of our local freshwater locations. Our next stop was the underrated St Leonards Reserve, it’s a little storm water drainage pond, but its filled with Carp. Although its not the most desirable fish and they cant be returned to the water, it often provides amazing fishing and this workshop was no different. We caught 11 carp and 1 eel on a mixture of worms and corn kernels.
The last event for the Geelong and Bellarine group was held at their ever reliable spot at the Barwon Valley Fun Park on the Barwon River, less than a 10 minute drive from the heart of Geelong. These last workshops were no different with good numbers of fish caught and the largest fish the group has landed since they re-established themselves back in 2018. Estimated at over 6kg, the participant learnt how to fight a fish properly, and had tired arms to match.
For the Melbourne, Port Phillip & Westernport group, the April school holidays started with an unfortunate cancellation due to bad weather, but ended well with two fabulous days at Mornington with Parks Victoria’s excellent Junior Rangers program, and then a brilliant day at Corinella to finish on Sunday, 23 April.
The Mornington Pier clinics consisted of 3 sessions each day, with lots of pinky Snapper caught, and a few around 35cm taken home for dinner!
There were lots of educational opportunities, with children able to see & touch an indigenous 11-arm Seastar, and a beautiful Fiddler Ray (Banjo Shark), plus the colourful Snapper and a stunning striped Moonlighter!!
Ian was ably assisted by Parks Victoria Ranger Harry, plus volunteers Alan & David – Alan’s local knowledge has really helped our recent Fishcare sessions at Mornington, along with a very liberal application of burley pellets!!
The Corinella Come & Try day was a busy event at Corinella Jetty, with 2 sessions of 15 participants each plus parents & visitors, and was booked out well in advance.
The Corinella Boating & Angling Club (CBAC) were again just an absolute pleasure to work with, providing brilliant assistance plus burley pots & extra fresh bait, and the local CFA did a roaring trade with their sausage sizzle (& kept Ian fed!!).
We caught plenty of feisty Yellowtail Scad (Yakkas) plus a 6-Spined Leatherjacket, and lots of Toadies, and there were smiles all around.
Fishcare will definitely be back to Corinella in the coming months!