Blue Rock bass stocking to add Victoria to the ABT BASS tournament trail

By Tom Slater, Australian Bass Tournaments

Australian bass are one of our most iconic species. For the many Australians living inland from our amazing coastline, they provide an opportunity to lure an exciting and rewarding freshwater sportfish.

ABT (Australian Bass Tournaments) is an organization providing anglers with catch and release fishing tournaments revolving around Australia’s three main sportfish species, bream, bass and barramundi. The ABT BASS Pro series has been running since 1999, giving keen anglers a chance to test themselves not only against the fish, but against other anglers as well. Our bass tournament series thus far has been limited to the states of NSW and QLD, where bass are stocked heavily into a number of fantastic lakes and rivers. Now, in part due to the advocacy of VRFish we have a new fishery taking off in Victoria, opening up opportunities for both anglers and local communities to benefit.

Blue Rock Dam, located approximately 30km north of Moe in the Central Gippsland region, is smack bang in what is arguably the most pristine fishing environment on mainland Australia. Its deep, clear water is the product of damming the Tanjil River, and over the past few years it has been stocked with Australian bass fingerlings. Now local anglers and the community are starting to experience the fruits of this labour, and we have an exciting new prospect for another tournament venue.

As a catch and release tournament organisation, we’re always on the hunt for interesting and new venues for our BASS Pro tournament series. The stocking of Blue Rock Dam means we can introduce a whole new state to the sport of tournament bass fishing. Victoria has a massive population of keen tournament anglers, and they’re fortunate enough to have some of the best bream fishing in the country. Every year we travel to the East Gippsland region to run two ABT BREAM events at Mallacoota and Metung, and they’re traditionally some of our best attended tournaments for the whole year.

The problem for the Victorian guys is that after those two tournaments they’re forced to travel a long way north, often as far as the mid-north coast of NSW, to fish more ABT events. If we could now add a Victorian BASS Pro event to our bulging calendar, they’d have a new outlet – and we’d expect a great deal of support from those anglers transitioning into a new species.

When our ABT trailer rolls into town, it brings with it so many positives for local communities. Over our 16-year history, we have given back over $100,000 into stocking programs, ensuring the fisheries we visit continue to have fantastic fishing for the public to enjoy over the years to come. And the benefits don’t stop there – on average, attending anglers spend $1000 in the local economy. Hotels, restaurants, camp grounds and service stations all receive a boost when ABT comes to town, and that’s how we like it. We promote sustainable, catch and release angling and highlight our anglers’ success through magazines like Victorian Fishing Monthly, so more local anglers can learn how to catch more fish at these locations.

Blue Rock Dam represents a fantastic achievement for the Victorian fishing community. A burgeoning southern bass fishery offers anglers of all shapes and sizes an opportunity to wrangle with an Australian bass that they might never have had the chance to capture before now. With continued support, the bass living in Blue Rock will grow to sizes that rival the best NSW and Qld impoundments. There is already a good stocking portion of Blue Rock bass over the 27cm legal size, these fish weighing between 300-500g are already big enough for ABT to consider a Victorian round of the ABT BASS Pro Series. With the abundant food stocks available in Blue Rock, these bass will continue to grow quickly and we can’t wait to take advantage of this fishery in future ABT BASS Pro seasons.

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