SUSTAINABILITY: Fish live to swim another day after comp
THE practice of sustainable fishing at competitions around the globe has not always been a priority in years gone by, with fishermen looking more for a "dust-collecting trophy".
But that's not the case for members at the Toogoom Fishing Club who - since 2004 - have placed a strong emphasis on sustainable fishing by providing a live weigh-in tank at each one of their annual family fishing competitions.
Member Evon Binney said late president Doug Cirson wanted to encourage catch and release fishing and supplied the tanks and trailer.
Long-time members Bob Cook and Bob Graco took on the task of fitting out the trailer and tanks with a water flow-through system with aeration to keep the fish alive.
"Not so many years ago anglers regularly bagged over a hundred bream in a night's fishing," Mrs Binney said.
"Fishing competition winners were the blokes who caught the most fish with absolutely no regard for the continuation of the species.
"But people are really keen to do catch and release now with more and more people concerned about sustainable fishing.
"Live fish once weighed and measured are returned carefully to the pristine waters of Beelbi Creek."
Bob Cook said the concept had been met with an overwhelming positive response over the years.
"The reaction that first year and every year since, from people visiting the big Toogoom competition, has been that it is a great idea," Mr Cook said.
"It is especially so for the young anglers who are introduced to the concept of fish sustainability at an early age.
"They love seeing the fish in the tank happily swimming around before they are released," Mr Graco added.
"The live fish released back into Beelbi Creek survive to breed and bite another day."
The holding tank and live weigh-in station for this year's competition from September 27-29 will be at the Toogoom Boat Ramp, next to Goodys Restaurant.
As well as the majority of fish living to swim another day, Mrs Binney said the family orientated competition also had about $25,000 worth of prizes up for grabs.
On the Saturday the fun at the grounds, adjacent to the Toogoom Community Hall in Toogoom Road, starts at 4pm.
"Each day there will be food and drinks available along with raffles and random draw prizes," she said.
"The adult super draw on Sunday is a 3.5 Nomad tinnie with a 15 HP Yamaha motor, all on a registered trailer.
"What is even more exciting is that it is not even necessary to catch a fish to win the major prize - you only have to enter the competition."
The major raffle of a new registered box trailer filled with handyman and electrical goods will be drawn on Sunday afternoon.
The Junior Super Draw offers four kayaks sponsored by Toogoom and District RSL Sub-Branch.
Full details of prizes, rules, information and entry forms are available on the Toogoom Fishing Club Facebook page.
Entrants can also sign up at the Toogoom Hall from 9am. Entry is $25 for adults, and $5 for children.