Fishing for Bream and Bass in the beautiful waterways of the Mid North Coast, enjoying social fun, some healthy competition and releasing your catch to live and fight another day is what it’s all about at the Hastings Bream and Bass Club. President Dave Harrington fills us in on this family-friendly club …
What’s your association with the Hastings Bream and Bass Club Inc?
Currently I’m President. I joined the club about 3 years ago. I’d heard about the club through a business contact, who had been with the club since its inception by Michael Styles in 2004.
When, where and how often does the club meet?
Our club outings range from 1 to 2 per month on average. We hold Bream outings at the Hastings River, Laurieton, South West Rocks and Forster.
In addition, we hold our Bass events on the Macleay River at Kempsey. After the club outings we have a BBQ with drinks supplied for only $5. The club also meets on the first Thursday of every month at the Port City Bowling Club.
How many members does the club currently have?
We have around 25 active members, with a mix of male and female of varying ages. Our junior members are aged from 5 years and up; all our junior members to 16 years get free membership.
We would like to get more children involved, as they are the future of our sport. We are currently trying to boost our club membership and encourage anyone with an interest in catching Bream and Bass with lures to come and give it a try.
Describe the fishing technique used to catch a good Bream or Bass?
Firstly, we only use lures to catch our Bream and Bass. This ensures no fish are gut hooked, meaning we can release the fish to swim away and fight another day. Our club members fish out of boats ranging from small aluminium boats to larger fibreglass boats.
The fish are placed in a live well in the boat and released alive after the weigh in at the end of the outing. We fish for a bag limit of 3 Bream, with a minimum of 25 cm to the fork of the tail, or 2 Bass, with the smallest bass to be weighed in no larger than 35 cm to the tip of the tail.
The tackle we use are mainly light spin rods, more commonly known as ‘eggbeaters’ or ‘bait cast’ reels and rods. The line used consists of either braided line with a leader or trace made from fluorocarbon or mono line attached. We also use fluorocarbon or mono line straight through to the lure.
For Bream we use lures ranging from soft plastic to a hard body style. For Bass, hard body lures work well, along with some others such as spinner baits, bettle spins and soft plastic lures.
What’s the best ‘big one that got away’ story you can tell?
Crikey, I could fill the whole magazine on that topic! Seriously though, one time that stands out was when I was fishing the Dennis Bridge on the Hastings River for Mulloway. I felt a small tap on the line when I was retrieving my lure and lifted the rod to feel a lot of weight on the end of it. And then line started peeling off like I had hooked a train! This fish just took off towards Wauchope and didn’t want to come back.
I fought it for about 5 minutes and finally managed to get him up to the boat. The tide had moved me back to the bridge by then, and I saw what looked like a 30 plus kilo Mulloway about 10 feet from the boat.
The fish saw the boat and made a run nearly as big as its first, straight for a pylon. I had the electric on full speed but could not get the angle on the fish, and he busted me clean off around the bridge pylon in a matter of seconds.
I was left with that cold and silent feeling you get after losing a big fish that you had a look at. Although it’s disappointing, in some strange way it’s what makes fishing great … the ‘what if’ when you go fishing.
What equipment do people need if they want to join the club, and are there any costs involved?
To start all you need is a basic spin rod and a spin reel, a couple of packets of soft plastic lures, some jig heads of different weights to hold your soft plastics, a couple of hard body lures and maybe a spinner bait lure. A basic set up of these items will cost around $200. If you already have a rod and reel, then $50 will cover some lures to get you started.
A boat is not necessary, as many club members have a place on their boat to accommodate someone who wants to fish in our club outings.
If you do already have a boat, then all you need is a live well that will recirculate the water; this will need to hold 65 litres of water. An electric motor on the boat is also very useful, as you can move the boat around when drifting without having to start the main motor and possibly scare off any fish you may be chasing. We currently have a club member who has a kayak with a live well, and he fishes at some of the outings as well.
Club Membership fees are $25 per year and for 2011 we have a $10 one day outing fee for new members, which can be deducted from the full membership fee if anyone wants to join the club after their first outing.
How can interested people join the club?
They can come along to one of our meetings on the first Thursday of every month at the Port City Bowling Club or to one of our club outings. The outings are listed on our website:
They can also come to one of our weigh-ins at the end of an outing, or they can contact me, Dave Harrington, on 0409 750 385.
Interview by Jo Atkins.