FISHING: City is game for a new club

fishing@theherald.com.au

EXCITING plans are afoot to launch a game fishing club out of Newcastle in a move that further confirms Newcastle Harbour’s maturation as a deep-water port.

A meeting will be held at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, Hannell Street, Wickham, on Tuesday, July 3, at 7pm, to discuss an idea that has been brewing for some time among boat owners berthed at Newcastle.

A vote will be put to form a club and, if positive, a select committee will be elected and charged with the job of seeking affiliation with the NSW Game Fishing Association.

Conceivably, a Newcastle game fishing club could be up and competing before next year’s tournament season.

Larry Curtis, owner of Ningaloo and one of the driving forces behind the idea, believes the time is right for Newcastle.

‘‘Things have changed in Newcastle quite significantly over the last 10 years,’’ he said.

‘‘Newcastle has gone from a port with no facilities for small boats – no fuel, no berthing – to one of the safest ports in NSW with fuel and berthing facilities.’’

The establishment of the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club had been fundamental in that regard.

‘‘With those changes, a number of boats from the game fishing fraternity have moved in and been fishing and operating.

‘‘We’ve got a deep-water port, no sandbars, no bridges, a great marina and a ready-made club.

‘‘Our access to game fishing grounds is excellent. ‘‘We’ve got the Newcastle canyons to the east, the southern canyons to the south-east and Port Stephens to the north-east. We’re in the middle.

‘‘It got to the point where we decided now is the time.’’

A month or so ago a word-of-mouth request for expression of interest went out around the marina and yacht club.

‘‘From there we got written commitment from approximately 10 boats.

‘‘Probably five boats actively fishing in tag and release out of Newcastle and a couple from Sydney and a couple of boats that wanted to get into game fishing. All up a committment from 50-odd interested people.

‘‘The meeting on July 3 will vote on whether to form a club. If successful, a steering committee will be elected and will seek affiliation with NSW Game Fishing Association.

‘‘We’ll be a fishing club, but until we get that affiliation we won’t be able to compete in tournaments.

‘‘If all goes well, we could be up and running for tournament season next year [February 2013].’’

Click on the image below to see some of the past Fish Of The Week winners.

One of the big advantages, he said, was that the cruising yacht club board was very supportive of the idea.

‘‘They’re backing us to the hilt with assistance.

‘‘Approximately 50per cent of the boats at the club are power boats and the club acknowledges they want to do more for the power guys.

‘‘If the idea gets up we will be a stand-alone club operating out of the cruising yacht club.’’

A number of tournament-hardened game fishing vessels are already berthed at Newcastle including Ningaloo, Rocket, Gametime, Weapon, Iona and Sydney boat Ocean Hunter.’’

NSWGFA president David Litchfield was open to the idea.

‘‘The state association is always very pleased to be involved in setting up a new club,’’ he said yesterday.

‘‘That club will of coure have to work in with the two adjoining clubs [Lake Macquarie and Newcastle-Port Stephens] who would have to be in agreement.’’

All interested people, experienced blue-water anglers or newcomers who would like to try their hand at the sport, and boat owners or those interested in joining a crew, are invited to attend the meeting on Tuesday.

For further information, send an email to curtisandco@hunterlink.net.au or contact the club on 0249408188.

Salmon still jumping

‘‘JUMPIN’’ Johnny Frith, from Fishermans Warehouse, reports there’s still salmon ‘‘all over the joint’’ in Lake Macquarie.

‘‘Guys are getting tailor in the lake too, but you might be unlucky and cop a salmon or seven,’’ Johnny said yesterday. ‘‘There’s still flathead in the deeper water and a few jew being caught on plastics. Outside guys have been jigging kingies at ‘Texas’ – fish up to 7kg.

‘‘The weather’s looking pretty good for Saturday so it might be worth a shot.

‘‘You’re half a chance of getting a squid – there’s a few green eyes around the islands. But the thing is all this rain lately, squid and rain just don’t go together. They don’t like the fresh.’’

Tailor-made conditions

TREVOR Notley, from Sandy Bottom boat charters, reports heaps of tailor off Dudley around the outfall and further north on the gravel patch.

‘‘The tailor are easy to catch and there are loads of them,’’ Trevor said yesterday.

‘‘There were a couple of professional boats down off Dudley and they were catching hundreds.

But water temperature has dropped down to about 16.8.

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