Tell us about Bundaberg Sportfishing Club?
We are a social club with a passion for fishing, but not just catching fish, we are also big on preservation and conservation of the fish in our waterways, whether it be fresh, estuary or reef.
As a club we are also affiliated with the Queensland branch of the Australian National Sportfishing Association, which is a group of club members and anglers who organise and promote fishing with a motto of sport, conservation, and integrity.
What’s the history of the club?
The Bundaberg Sportfishing Club was founded in 1978 by Doc Murdoch, Darryl Griffith, Bill Anderson and Kev Logan.
Doc had a tackle shop in town and had heard Peter Mulhaul and John Dickfos were trying to start a fishing club, run out of the Bluewater Club, Burnett Heads.
All the men got together, and in Peter’s words, had a “pow wow”, it was this get together when the beginnings of the Bundaberg Sportfishing Club was formed.
Once the club was formally up and running, Doc utilised his tackle shop and everyone who came through the doors signed up to be members.
It was at this time that two well-known local fishers, Len Wiltshire and Bill Sawynok, joined the club.
They became a part of 80-plus memberships.
The four blokes stayed with the club for many years and because of this were made life members, they are Bill Anderson, Bill Sawynok, Len Wiltshire and Peter Mulhaul.
Peter still comes to meetings and outings and tells stories about the sportfishing boats back in the day and how you could tell they were sportfishers, because they were the only boats that had rods, as everyone else, back in the day, fished with the old wooden hand lines.
It is certainly different now as everyone has rods of all shapes and sizes and for every type of fishing imaginable. Very few people use handlines anymore.
On the 15 July there is a reunion for past older members, being held at Burnett Heads, for those who were in the club at the beginning.
For more info on that call Peter Mulhaul on 4159 4935.
How does the fishing competition work?
My husband Don and I joined the fishing club, back in 2008, the aim was to fish for a day, the captured fish were brought to the club’s meeting place to be officially weighed and measured.
The club's point system was worked out depending on the “line class” (weight of the line i.e., 4lb) you used and the points your fish, once weighed and measured, would give you.
Each month there would be a winner and at presentation night the person with the most points would be awarded a perpetual trophy.
There were other trophies given out on the night.
We currently have 68 members, made up with adults, juniors and sub juniors.
These days we have changed the way we fish, to help accommodate everyone’s busy lifestyle and better fish preservation methods.
So, the competition is run over a month, it is at the next meeting we find out who won the previous month.
This gives everyone a chance to compete, whether they are here for the meeting or not.
We have a senior division as well as a junior and sub junior division, which are all hotly contested each month, for the yearly trophy.
We still have a presentation night, where we all get together for a day in July, enjoy a lunch, receive some trophies and certificates, have some raffles and fun.
We have also gone away from line class, although it can still be used within ANSA, we also no longer have to bring the fish in to weigh, a photo on a mat will suffice and a witnessed capture if possible.
What significant events does Bundaberg Sportfishing Club hold each year?
Every year we have a couple of fundraising events, our biggest for the club is our three-day food stall at VMR or the community will also see us at Bunnings from time to time.
The money we raise goes towards fish stocking, our monthly catered meetings and to subsidise the cost of presentation.
At any event come and see us, as you will always find someone up for a fishy chat.
We are involved as a club in stocking our local waterways with fingerlings, previously we have purchased the fingerlings from a local fish farm near Childers.
The areas in the Bundaberg Region we stock include Lake Gregory with bass and saratoga and Sandy Hook with barramundi.
These areas are funded by fisheries and with our own funds we have permits to stock the freshwater sections of the Elliott and Splitters.
We have just competed in the May Species Challenge against eight other Qld ANSA Clubs and came first in overall club captures, with members catching a combined 60 species, runners up were Cairns with 48 and Kingaroy with 42 species.
We came third in senior individual male, with Nelson Phillips, also getting on the score board for our club was Don Patterson, Ashley Schiffke, Will McUtchen, Bob Avery and Ken Johnson.
We came first in senior individual female with Helen Johnson and also getting on the board for our club was Krystie Maddern, Terri Hanson and Linda McUtchen.
In the junior division we came second, with Michaela's capture and the sub junior section we very proudly came first by Hudson Schiffke, second by Isaac McUtchen and third by Hugh McUtchen.
The weekend event brings out our club spirit and also the competitive side in us all.
When you are fishing, you may catch a fish that has a pink tag in it.
As part of our conservation efforts, we have a list of certain fish when we capture, we can record where we caught them and how long the fish was, then release it back into the water with a tag in the top of the fish near its dorsal fin.
On this tag is a tag number and if you were to capture one of these fish and it is a legal length, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep the fish, just before you put it in your esky, we would love if you could record the fish’s length and where you caught it and the number on the tag, then when you get home log it on the ANSA QLD website, there you will be able to submit yours and the fish's details.
In doing this for us you will get sent a certificate with where the fish was tagged, how much it has grown and where it travelled. The person who actually tagged the fish will also get the same info.
Within our club we cover a wide diversity of fishing styles and techniques, some of us go out and primarily chase ocean/reef fish, while others target fish in the estuaries.
How can the community become involved?
The club meets once a month, generally the second Sunday of the month at a different fishing location.
Throughout the year we hold tag-a-longs to favourite destinations around the region, spending a night or the weekend fishing, camping and catching up.
A club calendar is formulated each year and put out at the beginning of the financial year.
Some of our members have the expertise in fishing fresh water, it isn’t as easy as you think.
Some of us only bait fish, some mix it up with baits and lures, some only lure fish, we have some members that fly fish.
So, it doesn’t matter what type or style you use, you’ll fit in well with us.
We’d love for anyone to come to one of our meetings, have a fish with us, see what we are about, stay for a delectable lunch and hopefully enjoy yourselves enough to come back and join the club.
In July we have our bream shoot out, it’s 8 and 9 July, the competition is a club member only event, but anyone wishing to come meet us and see what we’re about is more than welcome to come down to Burnett Heads boat ramp area on midday Sunday.
Have a chat and some lunch with us and meet the group, if you are thinking about joining, it’s a great way to size up the competition for the following year.
July is the start of our new fishing season, so if you join then you’ll be in with a good chance for an end of year trophy.
For anyone that wishes for more information on the club, they can contact our secretary at: firstname.lastname@example.org, pop down to one of our meetings, or follow us on our official Facebook page. We’d love to see you.