Fishing Club prepares to drop a line 

The West Darling Fishing Club will next week be hosting its first monthly fishing trip for 2024, from Wednesday February 21 to Monday February 26 on the Darling River at Menindee.

The club enjoys a rich history in Broken Hill, being the latest iteration of an established local fishing club.

While fishing clubs have formed and dissolved in Broken Hill for decades, this particular club has enjoyed long-term success since it began casting its line in 2004.

Long-term President, Robert Bosch, told the Truth a group of blokes got together in 2004 to establish a new fishing club, and with local business support the first meeting of the new club attracted over 120 locals, including Mr Bosch.

While the number of active members now sits at around 50 to 60, about 20 of whom religiously attend the monthly fishing trips, the club has continued to keep themselves and their members busy over the years.

Mr Bosch, a keen fisherman since he was nine years old, involved the club in water politics when he was disheartened with the state of the Darling River during and after the 2019 mass fish kill.

“With the first fish kill, I stood at the top of the riverbank and I just cried when I saw the amount of Murray Cod laying in that river dead,” Mr Bosch, who is now 76, told us.

Labelling the management of the river system “environmental sabotage,” he recently met with Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek at Maidens Motel in Menindee.

“We had a long conversation, because what’s happening to the river is catastrophic,” Mr Bosch said.

His advocacy with water politics has been heard around the region – he regularly features on ABC radio to discuss the health of the fish population and to provide insight about what’s happening to the river system.

Involvement in larger river health events, such as a two-day ‘Codference’ in Shepperton, Victoria, provided him with a platform to talk with like-minded people about what was occurring in the Menindee Lakes system.

“When I finished my speeches, I couldn’t believe the people who came up to me and spoke to me about what I said.”

Aside from water politics, the club has been successful over the years in establishing a permanent home base on the riverbank between Menindee and Wilcannia.

In 2014, a meeting between Mr Bosch and the board and property owner Greg Martin over a Saturday night roast, led to the creation of the club’s dream home base, complete with toilets and shower blocks.

The campsite, built by club members, “now has a reputation right around the country,” says Mr Bosch and because of Mr Martin’s promotion, it is now open to the public for camping too.

The club also boasts a second camping base closer to Menindee, and enjoys good relationships with a property owner on the back of Lake Weatherall.

With permanent campsites, direct involvement in water politics, and regular camping trips, social events, and club meetings, the fishing club is keen to welcome new members.

Club memberships are $50 for a single person, $70 for a single person with a partner as a social member, which allows them to turn up to social functions, and $75 for family membership, which includes a couple, and an additional $5 per child.

“This includes insurance coverage through NSW Fishing Club Association, we are affiliated with them,” Mr Bosch confirmed.

He added the club has a Code of Conduct, and the club’s rules are the same rules as NSW Fisheries.

“If the rules are broken, they are answerable to the Committee.”

Club membership forms can be collected at Westside Camping and Outdoors, and those interested in attending next week’s camp can contact trip coordinator David O’Neill on 0419 600 439, or via Facebook at West Darling Fishing Club.

PICTURE: The West Darling Fishing Club’s long-term President, Robert Bosch. BARRIER TRUTH ARCHIVES.

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