The best word to describe this year’s South Coast Mighty Bonanza Fishing Competition is SUPPORT.
The support the Euro Fishing Association (EFA) received leading up to, during and after the SCMB was astounding. The support came from the local businesses sponsoring the event, other businesses that jumped in at short notice and worked their magic, the volunteers that have supported recreational fishing events for decades, people that we had only met a few days prior and the very helpful staff within the Eurobodalla Shire Council.
The Euro Fishing Association was dealt a serious blow several weeks before the SCMB was held. A disgruntled grocery store owner decided that community events hosted by not for profit organisations were counterproductive to their profits.
Luckily word got around very quickly that the SCMB had to change venue and many people, businesses and the local council came to the rescue. The support displayed was nothing short of amazing.
The change of venue cost the EFA dearly loosing much in-kind sponsorship that came with the original venue. But the show had to go on.
The Events Coordinator Leisa Tague of the Eurobodalla Shire Council was the knight in shining armour and saved the EFA’s bacon. Leisa took care of businesses and made sure we had an appropriate venue at such short notice.
Another special person that the town of Moruya can be very proud to have was Mark Etheel of the Moruya Waterfront Hotel Motel. Mark no doubt took a hit for the EFA and the recreational fishing community of the south coast getting the legal side of things in place for liquor and providing beverages on the Saturday. If you ever need a place to stay in Moruya or need and event venue the Moruya Waterfront Hotel is the place to be.
The staff from Moruya Garden and Hire also came on board at late notice and provided the temporary fencing and portable toilets at a great sponsored rate.
The competition was back on track and the early bird registrations looked very good. Then the wind came….. No doubt the weather was the culprit for poor entries during the competition. But this didn’t stop those participating having a great time.
The fishing was nothing short of sensational. Both Friday and Saturday saw great numbers of captures. Hundreds of photos were sent to the computer system, many practicing catch and release while others that rarely get out made good use of their time to put fresh seafood on the table for the family.
Several families came from Sydney to compete and found an abundance of Kingfish. At one point their boat was surrounded by a hungry school of Kingfish so thick that they could have stepped off the boat and walked on top of the water.
There were many fishing highlights. Two that come to mind is Adrian Hueso that caught a 75cm Snapper from the beach and Jake Mikolic with a pending new NSW state junior record for the longest Australian Salmon of 71.9cm.
The spearfishing side of the event directed by Euro Fishing Association (EFA) executive Joe Harper had a great time. The spearos showed that spearfishing is the most selective and sustainable method of recreational fishing there is especially using the rules and methods for the pairs competition.
There was entertainment on the Saturday afternoon with several music bands playing throughout the afternoon and a boat raffle draw.
The Sunday saw everyone come back to the venue to enjoy the festivities and the presentation.
Rob Paxevanos from Fishing Australia and Dave Moss from the Shimano Reef Science Show put on great entertainment for the kids while the last of the details were being organised for the presentation.
The presentation event saw a huge array of prizes going out. Cash, rods and reels, tackle, Mako sunglasses & products, cameras, shirts, hats, books, Hydro Kaddys and fishing sounders.
Stan Konstantaras from the NSW branch of the Australian National Sportsfishing Association announced during the presentation that many of the entries would become members of ANSA through their entry fees to the competition. Stan also stated that there was a great need to support recreational fishing events/clubs and the need to strengthen the network of advocates of the fishing community on the South Coast. This region is about to see many recreational fishing issues pop up that will affect all our coastal communities.
The amount of positive feedback that came from those attending was astonishing. A resounding theme started to trend, 99% of the attendees said it was the best and well-run competition they had ever been to and look forward to next year.
Next year the Euro Fishing Association (EFA) plans to hold the South Coast Mighty Bonanza Fishing Competition during the April school holidays again. However, this time with numerous improvements. We will continue to improve and refine this fishing competition bringing it forward into the 21st Century. We have many ground-breaking elements to include into next year’s SCMB and look forward to leaking little bits of information throughout the months.
Unfortunately, the SCMB will more than likely run at a loss this year due to the external problems we had mentioned earlier. It was hoped that the 2018 SCMB would of payed for by the club’s new website. This website would host the EFA’s social club side of things, with a live interactive score board coupled with a smart phone app. The website would also be a huge resource for the community, consolidating all the current recreational fishing issues on the south coast and club exclusive deals to its members.
The website and smart phone app is also designed to engage school aged children to participate in fishing and use smart technology that surrounds our daily lives. We will be working with the Eurobodalla schools to encourage school kids and their family members to get outdoors and enjoy fishing.
The Euro Fishing Association (EFA) will now look at other ways to raise funds for the website. Grants, donations, sponsorships and fundraisers are our starting point. In any case the EFA will continue to stay on track with its schedule and start its club competitions and social outings/get-togethers starting in July 2018.
Keep an eye on the media in the following 6 to 9 months as the EFA and its associates lead the way, advocating on issues that affect recreational fishing on the south coast. There will be some hard-hitting issues affecting recreational fishing, tourism and local businesses that the EFA will get involved in shortly. The South-East Trawl, Rockfishing lifejackets and the Angel Rings, recreational fishing infrastructure, access issues and the Batemans Bay Marine Park Review to name a few.
The EFA will be engaging the Eurobodalla and Bega shires along with MP Andrew Constance’s office to ensure the south coast’s recreational fishing sector is protected.
In conclusion the EFA would like to again recognize those who sponsored and helped with this year’s SCMB: Camerons H Hardware Batemans Bay and Moruya, Trussworxs Moruya, Red Door Real Estate, Batemans Bay Auto Detailing, Smart Window Solutions, South Coast Superior Decks, Compleat Angler Batemans Bay, Moruya Waterfront Hotel Motel, Sulluccinos, Two Sisters on Wheels, Simply Delish-US, JJ’s at the Moorings, Moruya Garden and Hire, Eurobodalla Shire Council, ANSA NSW, the Spindrift Saga, Dog Eat Dog, Shimano, Garmin, Mako Sunglasses, Daiwa, Samaki, Hydro Kaddy, AUP, Leisa Tague, Dave Moss, Rob Paxevanos, Corey Legge, Julie Coy, Joe Johnson, Joe Harper, Ben Gordon, Oliver Wady, James Richards, Kate May, the Peard family, the Frawley family and all the other volunteers.
Looking forward to next year