By Nick Sinis

WONTHAGGI resident Graham Gray is encouraging locals to donate their unloved fishing rods and reels which he will restore and sell to help raise money for the Wonthaggi Angling Club.

Graham was inspired to start the project to keep busy during lockdowns.

“I know there’s lots of people, including me, that have lots of rods but only use two when they go fishing.”

Graham said he had been receiving a steady influx of rod donations, which he then cleans and puts together in his shed.

“A lot of people have got broken rods and I use parts off one to use on another,” he said.

“But if I can’t make it nice, I won’t do it.

“I put them on Facebook buy and sell, and if I get $15 for one, I’ll then donate it all to the angling club and they decide what happens with the money.

“I’ve made $80 so far.”

Graham hopes the money could be used towards prizes at future fishing competitions.

“It keeps me occupied during these lockdowns and hopefully makes a few bucks for the junior or senior competitions,” he said.

“But that’s for the committee to decide.”

Graham was also a long-time member of the club, having served in multiple roles when he moved to Wonthaggi.

“Before I moved here, I was mainly a redfin fisherman. I joined the angling club, and they just took me under their wing and taught me how to fish locally,” he said.

“That’s why I like promoting them, including to the people who are buying the rods off of me.”

Anyone wishing to donate their rod or purchase one from Graham can contact

For more information on Wonthaggi Angling Club, visit




Around the Bay

With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

THE sound of sleep ins and getting all those odd jobs around the house completed is inviting to most and, for the first few lockdowns, was a bit of a novelty.

Sadly, we are all well past that novelty now and there is plenty of uncertainty every day you turn on the news.

If you think it is difficult for you, spare a thought for all those in business, most of who have a considerable amount of time and money invested and are trying to make decisions at a minute’s notice.

Most have been closed more than open, especially over the last month, and most are trying to put plans in place for the expected busy tourism season coming up; most are trying to do as much as they can for their staff and, most importantly, just trying to pay the bills for when they are able to trade.

Add all these up and it leads to a whole heap of extra stress on top of the normal stress of running a business.

Sadly, we have lost a few businesses around the area, but on a positive, the majority are getting through and doing the best they can. I hear it all the time in the shop, “of course you should be able to get through, the government is giving business plenty of money”.

The truth is not all qualify and receive nothing and even those who to get the odd financial help would much prefer to be open and trading than being propped up by the government.

Local support has been by far the main reason that most of these businesses are surviving and getting through. The only thing we all ask is next time you are asked to sign in, wear a mask or produce ID; please just do it because it will save any more unnecessary stress. Remember, it’s not our rules but rules we must enforce.

Of our customers, very few have been allowed to venture out for a fish as most of them live just outside that 5km travel bubble, so the reports are very few and far between, but some do live close enough and have had some success.

Those lucky few that did manage to venture to the water for their two hours’ exercise spent it well, majority of those few reports we did get came from down towards the bottom of the bay – Cleeland Bight side.

The main capture being whiting with one lucky customer managing a nice bag full in his two-hour allotted window.

There were also a few small salmon caught on pilchards down off the Inverloch pier.

If you’re expecting this report or reports when you come in to be full of fishing spots, full of reports or an exuberant amount of fishing stories, then unfortunately you will be disappointed. That is the unfortunate sad reality we have faced this past year with no one getting a good run at finding the fish.

On a positive note, they say every cloud has a silver lining and the last month’s silver lining actually comes in the form of the clouds themselves. The weather has been awful the last month, with windy and rainy overcast days – which are completely fine as we haven’t been here, we haven’t been able to open or fish – so it’s not all that bad, hopefully we are getting all the bad weather out the way before the fish turn up.

Don’t be discouraged by the lack of reports. It’s not caused by a lack of fish, it’s caused by a lack of fishermen and will get better. We are on the out, winter is nearly a thing of the past, the blossom on the trees is out and turning to fruit which is a sign of a couple of things; spring is nearly here and that means the reds are too. Snapper season is definitely a time that most Westernport fisherman add to their fishing calendar each year.

Now is the time to get all your gear ready, update that rod or reel and tie all your rigs ready for the season. It’s also time for all the dads to put in the requests for Father’s Day presents; gift vouchers are just perfect.

For those who haven’t been in the shop over the last month or so, next time you come in you will notice a lot of changes as we have done a bit of a remodel and added around 50 new stock items with plenty more to come.

Keep up to date with all the changes and new stock and the many specials we have, including some of those stock items we aren’t keeping anymore, by following us on Facebook.

We are still running our weekly auctions and, of course, as soon as reports come in that’s where you will find them.

The decision has now had to be made to regretfully cancel the 2021 San Remo Fishing Festival: “COVID has thrown up many challengers over the last 18 months for businesses and events and seems a long way from any sort of normality. We have been discussing the Fishing Festival for 2021 and feel to run it this year it would be very restricted and not to a standard that we are trying to achieve but also with the very real prospect it could be cancelled at a minute’s notice. This is not the end of the festival, and all efforts will be again made to make it bigger and better in 2022.”