Fishing program nets city & lures ‘em in

Jackson BarrettSouth Western Times
Newton Moore Senior High School education support student Riley Bell, Year 7, wets a line with Fishability chairman Mike Donnelly.
Camera IconNewton Moore Senior High School education support student Riley Bell, Year 7, wets a line with Fishability chairman Mike Donnelly. Credit: Jackson Barrett

Students and members of the public from around the South West flocked to the new Bunbury fishing platform for the Fishability Come and Try Day Wednesday.

Participants were given a fishing rod and some bait on arrival, with instructors on hand to teach them the basics of fishing and support them through their first casts.

The program gives people who are unable to fish by themselves the opportunity to do so in a safe and supportive environment, free of charge.

Newton Moore Senior High School education support students joined the volunteers and about 20 other participants for yesterday’s event.

Fishability chairman Michael Donnelly said bringing the program to Bunbury was an exciting opportunity for the organisation.

“We are very excited about the prospect of establishing a new program in Bunbury, which to date, has not been possible due to the lack of a suitable all-access site,” he said.

“The new Bunbury Harbour Fishing platform will be ideal for our activities, with ease of access for people using wheelchairs, and has fantastic fishing potential.

“The Fishability program is provided free of charge for everyone and provides fishing gear, including specialised fishing equipment such as electric reels, bait and expertise to ensure that participants have a great experience every time.”

Fishability has been running for 20 years, with 3000 West Australians attending across the State.

It is backed by 2000 carers and 100 Fishability volunteers.

Earlier this year, the program received a new van through State Government funding derived from recreational fishing licence fees.

The van allows volunteers to store and transport the specialised motorised rods, reels and rod holders required for the program.

“This is a fantastic initiative and I commend the 100 or more WA volunteers who make this program so successful,” Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson said.

Events are run in the Perth metro areas as well as Mandurah, Busselton, Albany and Geraldton.

“Our program has nearly 20 years of success and we now operate between Albany and Geraldton — a success built on our volunteers who love helping other people go fishing and people who just love to come fishing with us time and time again,” Mr Donnelly said.

“We are now keen to establish a permanent Fishability program in Bunbury.”

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