Upcoming & Past Weekends

Churchie Year 3 & 4 Father & Son Fishing Weekends Feb 2010

The conditions were near perfect at Hinze Dam for a couple of father & son fishing weekends last month. The school involved on this occasion was Churchie, and all the boys were in Grade 3 & 4. Churchie have been involved in several programs now for quite a few years, and the fishing weekends again proved to be very popular, with all the places filling very quickly. Because of the amount of interest, the group had to be hosted over two weekends. The hot and humid conditions, and not to mention a little bit of rain, meant the barometer was up which is always a good indicator that the bass would be firing. The rain we've had has just been unbelievable and it's meant the dams have filled to a record high in Queensland. It was just a top up for Hinze though as it has been pretty full for a while now. However, with plenty of water flowing into the dam, it provided a crucial element to the success of the fishing weekends.

Launching the boats from the campsite at Numinbah was far from ideal, it was a little cramped with plenty of rocks just below the surface, but we had no choice as the Numinbah boat ramp was closed to the public because heavy machinery was clearing trees in the surrounding area. The noise of the giant mulcher may have been pushing the bass up into the far upper reaches, and the water rushing into the dam would have been bringing a new food source into the dam as well. The high catch rates could have been a combination of both of these factors. The group found large schools of bass near the rocky areas of the launching site. The groups didn't travel more than 100m from the launching site and over two weekends there were approximately 1000 bass, 20 yellowbelly, 4 silver perch, 5 eel tailed catch fish and plenty of banded grunter caught. The fish were all caught using live shrimp. 3600 shrimp were used over the course of the two weekends.

The fishing is certainly not always that easy at Hinze. During most fishing sessions we have to travel well into the dam in search of schools of bass, but last month, the conditions made life just that much easier. The great thing was the fact the boys in the group were all 8 or 9 years old and catching so many fish was just fantastic. The group kept a few fish for dinner on the Saturday night, but employed catch and release tactics on the Sunday. The boys were responsible for the potato peeling and breadcrumbing of the fillets. The rain even stayed away until the boys had toasted their marshmallows by the fires.

It is quite special to be a part of these weekends. A vast majority of participant on these two weekends caught their very first fish. Hinze Dam is a great location to introduce kids to fishing. The far upper reaches provide plenty of sheltered areas, so it doesn't matter what the conditions are like, you're pretty much guaranteed to catch a few fish. And kids need to catch fish to maintain their interest. The other factor the young kids really enjoy is driving the boats and canoes that are powered by Minn Kota electric motors. I think they actually like this part just as much as the fishing. Hinze Dam is an electric motor only fishery. Outboards cannot even be attached to a boat.

There is no doubt that freshwater fishing is an ideal introduction to fishing, however, this year Sports Tuition is coordinating events to extend the fishing experiences to target a range of species in different environments. For families interested, Sports Tuition is conducting a 5 day live a board trip to Yellowpatch, which is just off Gladstone. The dates are 20-24 January, just before school goes back. It's open to the whole family or it might suit a father & son or daughter combination. We have leased a 25m luxury vessel which has air conditioned bedrooms, so you won't be roughing it too much. The waters are protected by the huge sand dunes, which the kids will enjoy tobogganing down the sand dunes. And throw in a couple of jet skis for a bit more fun! The mother ship also carries six dories with 30hp outboards, so there will be the opportunity to set mud crab pots and fish the estuaries. The kids can also pump yabbies and fish for whiting off the sand banks. After a few days at Yellowpatch, and as long as the wind is < 15 knots, the mother ship will head to the close reefs of the Capricorn/Bunker Group where the target species will be Red Emporer, Coral Trout and Sweet lip. The minimum age for kids on this trip is 10.

If the sound of the reef fishing has whet your appetite, Sports Tuition is also conducting a 7 day trip to Swains Reef. This trip is not suitable for children. The Swains is amazing fishing country. You can fish in a metre of water and throw an unweighted pilchard to entice coral trout out from a ledge of coral or you can use a bit of weight and fish along the shelves in 30-40m of water. The fishing methods employed relate to the conditions of the day, but regardless of what conditions are presented, there are always plenty of top quality fish on offer. The catches at Swains are diverse, but the target species are Red Emperor and Coral trout.

As with all Sports Tuition programs, plenty of guidance is provided for the trips. You don't have to be an experienced fisho to get involved. If you've never experienced reef fishing and you want to have a fishing adventure of a lifetime, log onto www.sportstuition.com.au and click on fishing / fishing adventure for further details.

The father & son weekend saw plenty of bass caught. Matthew & David caught this great bass.

Eli looks pretty proud of his dad, Grant, with this nice yellow.

Nicholas enjoyed catching Australian bass on the father & son weekend. The larger bass really do put up a great fight.

Warren, fishing with his son, Tom, caught a nice yellow which would later become dinner.

The author with a coral trout caught in shallow water at Swains.