When I got the call several months earlier from Leisa the events coordinator from Eurobodalla Shire Council about a family fishing clinic for 2017 my immediate reaction was “OK but I’m still recovering from the South Coast Bonanza.” But when Leisa told me that Rob Paxevanos and family were keen to conduct a family fishing clinic and they needed some support, I was hooked.
Little did I know that this was the first event of its kind that Rob wanted to explore and getting newcomers into recreational fishing is a life-long project I personally hold dear.
The family fishing clinic was held in Batemans Bay on a Sunday overcast morning at Corrigans Beach. The perfect location to practice their new-found casting skills on the grass and, once the clinic was concluded, everyone having the opportunity to walk over to the beach and get stuck into the flathead and bream on offer.
The clinics educational information was taken from the book ‘Kids Fishing – a guide for kids by kids’. The book was authored by daughter Hailey Paxevanos (with a little help from dad) who had been begging her parents for a couple of years to write a book and get it out to all the kids of Australia.
The book is the perfect entry level educational tool for the budding young rec fisher from a wee nipper to early teens. Just like the clinic, the book covers all the essential topics to get kids onto fish utilizing many pictures. Topics covered, to name a few, were knot tying, bait collecting, casting games, packing gear and knowing the fisheries rules.
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Several head counts were taken, tallying around 140 attendees in total with about half being children. The overcast cool conditions made it delightful to wet a line at the beach in pursuit of some tasty fish and fish they caught! Many Flathead, Bream, Trevally and Whiting were captured for the table. Notably one young man got spooled by a Mulloway while fishing for Bream and another young man caught a potential national record breaking King George Whiting on that morning.
I took the opportunity to speak to several parents who were enjoying the program with a common theme developing from conversations, “we would like to see more of these clinics”. It didn’t matter who I spoke to the same message was clear, parents of young children want to see more tackle boxes and less Xboxes for their young ones.
Fishing clinics are one terrific way to introduce fishing to our kids but one thing is for sure there is just not enough of them. Department of Primary Industries conducts kid’s clinics and workshops with schools but I personally have had comments from kids and parents alike stating they are a bit dry and not engaging (sorry Dee). Then we have fishing clubs and NGOs who volunteer their time to deliver excellent programs for kids. A great example of this in the Eurobodalla is the Narooma Sports and Game Fishing Club who deliver several engaging workshops for the young ones every year.
But we still don’t see enough of these programs in our communities. We are a time poor society and we have very few dedicated people who truly want to get off their backsides to ensure the next generation can put their outdoor skills to good use and pass this knowledge on to future generations. If you are a member of a fishing club and you see a need then please put your hand up and take the lead. Remember it is better to try and fail than fail to try.
The Euro Fishing Association has a special plan in the pipeline where it makes it much easier to encourage parents with their young ones at workshops like these as well as modern mobile technology giving kids greater incentive to get outside and go fishing rather than sitting in front of a screen all day. Stay tuned for that exciting development.
Lastly, I would like to thank the Paxevanos family for taking the time to deliver an excellent workshop for the young and old. Also, many thanks must be given to the other volunteers and sponsors who helped make this day a successful one. The Euro Fishing Association looks forward to working with the Paxevanos family and other fishing celebrities delivering much needed recreational fishing education for the community.
Adam Martin, President Euro Fishing Association.