Summer By The Sea – Fishy Business

Now in its thirteenth year, Summer by the Sea is Coast Action/Coastcare’s annual coastal activity program. According to the Coasts and Marines website:

This year’s theme is ‘Life On The Edge’. Our coastal plants and animals are amazing survivors – life on the edge can be difficult for our precious biodiversity. Come and learn more about our coast, and the challenges we all face in keeping it beautiful.

On Monday the children and I made the trip to Newport (inner west of Melbourne) to take part in their Fishy Business activity. This makes fishing for new comers as easy as possible. The Coastal Care Volunteers were at this location from 10.00am to 1.00pm. This was a free activity and no bookings were required. All we had to do was turn up!

Fishing rods, bait and assistance are all provided. They also have an information trailer from which the children picked up free calendars and activity books. The older two children thoroughly enjoyed the experience although they did not catch any thing. Babaganouski was the only one who caught anything – a starfish tangled in seaweed!

Little Rascal in particular is a big fan of fishing (he has his own tackle box and rod) and has already asked to go fishing again. What I enjoyed about the experience was the children obtaining an understanding of their local aquatic environment. From the volunteer, this is some of the things that they learnt:

  1. The star fish we caught was actually a pest. You can tell this by the fingers of the star fish. Pointed fingers means pest, where as rounded fingers means it is the indigenous variety.
  2. Rubbish barges use this part of the river.
  3. They tag small fish caught in the area to help track their health and other information.
  4. Greenwich Bay (where we were fishing) is just west of the Yarra River mouth.

If you decide to participate in a Fishy Business activity, here are my tips to make sure you enjoy the time as much as possible:

  1. Be sun smart – hats, suncreen etc
  2. It can be chilly by the water, so if it is not a hot day, be sure to take jackets (I wished we had!)
  3. Fishing requires patience and therefore is suited more so to school aged children. If you are taking younger ones, a colouring book or like activity could be helpful.
  4. Water and fruit or snack of your choice to nibble on as you wait for the fish to nibble your bait!