Surf casting club hopes to catch some company

By Barbara Gillham

The Wairarapa Surfcasting Club was formed in 2004 by local fishermen keen to go out with others and with the added

advantage belonging to a club brings, being able to enter fishing competitions and casting events.

Since its formation it has gained popularity. Although its membership isn't large loyal members include several who have been with the club since its formation.

Two of these are Malcolm and Beverley Mattsson who joined not long after the club began and play a large part in its activities and success.

Malcolm says the club began after people who loved fishing said there was not a lot happening and the idea of forming a club was suggested.

''There were a lot of old fellows to start with, they just wanted to go down to the beach and catch a few fish and  socialise. But those sort of things changed and younger people came in and said: 'We want to catch fish, we don't want to sit around here laughing and joking. It was a healthy thing to compete one against another because we were going for points because fish have all got so many points so that is how it is at the moment.

''It's competitive, it's fun and we've kept it so when the designated fishing weekend is announced the entire club goes to the beach and we're all together. We start at two on Saturday and finish two on Sunday. We have a barbecue dinner about four before it gets dark and then we fish all night.''

Malcolm says that while some of the younger ones fish right through until about 9am older guys like himself ''go like stink'' until about midnight when they slowly fade.

The Wairarapa coast is made up of many beaches and rocky areas and can be dangerous especially when people are fishing at night, so safety is taken very seriously and no alcohol is allowed at the monthly weekend events.

''We enjoy each other's company and have a lot of fun and at the Saturday night barbecue it's a great social event.

''We also teach people to respect the fish so the club has a catch and release policy where we limit our fish total to five of each species, which are weighed for points and then released.''

The club is a member of the Angling and Casting Association, which means there are many opportunities for club members to compete for trophies and prizes.

One popular event is the annual casting day which is held at the Red Star Rugby Field in Masterton. There are also friendly competitions against other clubs.

Each month there is a club meeting when members discuss anything and everything to do with fishing. For new  members it is a great opportunity to learn more about the sport from people who have been surfcasting for many

years. Malcolm says this is a great time for members to catch up and socialise.

''We talk about fishing techniques, show new members how to make up rigs or show people how to make flasher rigs. The club has an experienced casting instructor who will cover everything from surfcasting to trout casting.

''It's a great chance to learn new things. We even talk about bait and what to use to catch certain fish. People think you can use any old bait and that will do but each fish has its own preferences and what works for one will not work for another, so there is a lot to learn.

''Then there is the best time of day to fish. It's nice to fish during the day but our club records show that our experienced members who fish from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning catch the most fish. If you want to catch fish do it at night and use the right bait.''

Malcolm is happy to help anyone who would like to give it a try but don't have transport.

''If someone is a bit lonely or is interested in coming along but has'nt got any way of getting out I'm happy to pick them up and take them out for the day at no charge so they can see if they like it and want to join up.

'' It's a warm friendly club with some great members.''

For further information contact club captain Johann Fourie on 06 377 7351

- Hamilton News

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