Apollo Bay Becomes Fishing Hotspot with New Gantry
Apollo Bay’s reputation as a destination for game fishing has received a boost with the installation of a new $24,500 gantry to weigh catches up to 500 kilograms.
The gantry is funded by the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s Better Fishing Facilities Fund, which is a part of the State Government’s record $46 million Target One Million plan to get more Victorians fishing, more often and grow participation to a million anglers by 2020.
Mayor Joe McCracken said the gantry would help Apollo Bay lure anglers looking to land large sharks and coveted ‘barrels’ – otherwise known as tuna weighing 100 kilograms or more.
“Council is really pleased to deliver this gantry, which was the missing link for Apollo Bay’s growing recreational fishing industry,” Cr McCracken said.
“Interest in Apollo Bay as a tuna fishing destination has been growing since 2011, when Apollo Bay’s Daniel Kent, along with his mates Troy Janssens and Dean Candy hauled in a 153.5 kilogram monster tuna.
“There have been several very large sharks landed off the Bay too, with the local record being a 311 kilogram mako caught by former Colac Otway Mayor Frank Buchanan, his brother Charlie, Bill Fox and Brian Neale.
“We know that the anglers targeting the big fish species want to weigh their catch.
“Given that Melbourne anglers can fish out of Apollo Bay as a day trip, we think this gantry is going to help give the Bay a competitive edge over the likes of Portland and Port Fairy.
“This will help boost tourism and support the local economy. In fact, the Victorian Fisheries Authority estimated that on the big fishing day in 2011, when up to 230 boats and trailers were lined up through town, the economic spin off from that day alone was more than $20,000.”
Cr McCracken paid tribute to Cr Chris Potter, who worked hard during his mayoral term to secure the gantry for Apollo Bay.
“Cr Potter, along with Andrew Orchard from the Apollo Bay Fishing Group and Daniel Roberts from Council’s services and operations team worked really hard to bring the gantry project to reality,” Cr McCracken said.
“We were also pleased to be able to use local contractor Vary Engineering.”
To ensure public safety, the gantry will be locked and can only be operated by trained permit holders.
Cr Joe McCracken thanked the Apollo Bay community members who volunteered to be gantry operators.
“There will be phone numbers people can ring if they want to use the gantry. It’s a marvellous reflection of our community that we had so many local people willing to be trained operators.”
Council manages the Port of Apollo Bay on behalf of the Victorian Government.