More than 450 fishermen descended on the South Coast this weekend, as the Tomakin Fishing Club hosted its annual Mighty Fish Bonanza.
The event, held in the rivers, creeks and ocean near Tomakin, included over 200 juniors, the biggest number in the competition’s history.
President of the Australian National Sport Fishing Association NSW, Stan Konstantaras, was thrilled with the outcome.
“We’ve got 465 registered competitors and 200 juniors, which is mindblowing,” he said.
“There are young kids everywhere you look, which is really good to see.”
The competition, organised by club president Adam Martin, ran for three days over the long weekend, and included several different types of fishing.
“We’re trying to unite all the fishing groups,” Mr Konstantaras said. “We’re primarily a sport fishing group, so Adam has invited us to hold our weigh ins here as well.”
“He’s essentially got three competitions running at the same time.
“We had competitions in the estuaries, rivers and beaches. The spearfishers were limited to the rocks, and the sport fishers had a number of catch-and-release events.”
Al McGlashan, the host of ‘Fish’n with Mates’, said the competition was a fantastic result for the region.
“Competitions are generally dropping in numbers in recent times, so to see this competition get record numbers is great for the community,” he said.
And Mr McGlashan believes the community are doing all the right things to promote fishing in the area.
“We’re seeing an increase in catch-and-release sites, so the locals are really pushing a sustainable fishing environment,” he said.
“It’s awesome to see 200 kids here, but they still need more support from the council and government to get them off screens and get them out fishing.”
Mr Konstantaras believes the council has an opportunity to continue the momentum built from this event.
“The Eurobodalla is a good fishing hub; people from Canberra come out here,” he said.
The Eurobodalla is a good fishing hub; people from Canberra come out here.Stan Konstantaras
“We need adequate boatramps, a couple of artificial reefs off here would be great.
“We’ll just keep pushing that message: more habitat equals more fish, equals more people, equals more tourism dollars.”
Mr McGlashan echoed these sentiments.
“An event like this shows how big fishing is in the area,” he said. “With regional tourism, fishing is massive, but they’ve got to catch fish.
“If they don’t catch fish, they stop coming.”