The Forge Through Social Fishing Day has just concluded for 2023 and what an amazing day it was. Well, not weather wise but the rain did not dampen the spirits of our boaters and their veteran and first responder fishing partners.
Each year we limit the field to 25 boats and the same amount of veterans and first responders to ensure a safe comfortable and inviting event for all that attend. The anglers hit the water at 0700hrs and return to the beach at 1200hrs for a magnificent feast of woodfire pizzas, graciously cooked and donated by Wes and Mary and Brydie Murphy from the Wandering Woodfire Oven. Incredible generosity and even better food.
The weather was not very kind for the day but as we say "The fish are already wet" so its up to how much the anglers can put up with. It did not take long for some quality fish to hit the deck of the boats for a quick measure, photo and release back to the depths. Some people found it a little tough on the fishing front but other managed some huge bags of fish but that is the nature of fishing. Most species in the Basin made an appearance from Mulloway to Estuary perch.
As the photos rolled in I could not help to look past the fish to the smiles on the faces of the anglers, this is what the day is about. Building new friendships and creating positive new memories. And there were plenty of smiles and even more laughs. Despite the weather, not one boat came in early. They all stuck it out enjoying every minute they could get on the water. With the midday time creeping up and the smell of pizza wafting across the Basinthe boats started to hit the sure with catch sheets in hand and some solid grins of anticipation and the obligatory phrase "How did you guys go?" being flicked around the crowd.
With full bellies and quenched thirsts, it was time to see who had taken out the honors in various categories over the morning. Jim and Amy are instrumental each year in tallying score sheets, with their most difficult task deciphering pencil scrawls from excited anglers on soggy score sheets. They made short work of the results and the winners in each category were announced to cheers and claps and the usual sideline sledging. With the winners walking away with some very impressive prizes.
Now, we always say the day is not about the prizes, but the prizes were spectacular once again. Forge Through is very fortunate to be well supported by the fishing industry all coming together to support our veterans and first responders to enjoy a day of social interaction and friendship building. I will add a list of sponsors at the bottom of the page, our sincerest thank you goes out to each and every one of you for making the day special for a lot of people. People walked away with everything from Mako fishing sunglasses to bream lures and everything needed in between.
The winners of the coveted Forge Through Trophy with a massive flathead bag totalling over 11 metres of fish went to Jimmy H and Troy Parsons. They found some fish that were hungry to eat and sat over them until they ran out of time or the fish went off the chew. They had a magnificent session on the flathead with 23 fish boated and measured before release. Well played gentleman.
The Forge Through Fishing day is also a major fund raising event for the program via our raffle. This year the raffle table sat proud with nearly $5000 worth of prizes to be won. The crowd was generous with ticket purchases and we managed to raise $4420 to help support the program. That money may very well change to trajectory of someones life in the year to come. Thank you one and all.
As the event wrapped up and the boats left the beach to return home there was a sigh of relief that all the preperation and planning had culminated in a succesful event but there was also a feeling of sadness that it will be another 12 months before we all get to catch up and do it again. Next year I hope we all make it back to this beach, to this event, to share the laughs and fun that we have created around the pursuit of a fish and may I never have to create a memorial trophy again.
To bent rods and big smiles.... Hammo
Finally a big thankyou to our fishos who reach out to their sponsors who help us raise funds and present prizes, but the real gift is the demonstration of support to those who so often feel alone and unsupported.
In no particular order.........
Mako Eyewear Blue Collar Tackle Nomad Tackle Daiwa
NSW DPI Fisheries Cranka Lures Hurricane Lures Shimano
Outback Rods J3Seven Ale Mary Brewery PenTen
Mark Corbin Plumbing Garmin
Omni Exe Hot Tackle
Priceline Batemans Bay
Wandering Woodfire Oven
Super Cheap Batemans Bay
Barz Open Charter
Skin n Bone Knives
Reels Ruts n Nuts