THE Bridgewater Anglers’ Association, first established in January 1913 at the Derwent Hotel, Bridgewater as a branch of the Southern Tasmanian Anglers has been doing its bit for its community for more than 100 years.
Referred to early on as the ‘Bridge Anglers’ the Association is still operating successfully and is an integral part of the community’s local history in the Bridgewater area.
During the 1920s and the early years of the Depression, membership decreased however the Association was re-established after a meeting at the Railway Hotel, Bridgewater. Eleven anglers attended and many became the backbone of the Association for years to come.
The Association’s aims in those early days were described as restocking rivers and streams, preserving fish, and increasing interest in angling matters.
Membership grew, and during the 1950s and 1960s, trout fishing in the Derwent improved dramatically with the club undertaking a comprehensive restocking program in the Derwent Marshes at Dromedary, among other locations.
Members would fish on the Bridgewater Bridge in the 1950s at the season’s opening and would need to get down off the bridge to try to land their fish.
In the 1970s, the restocking of the Derwent with trout was not supported by the State Government and fish caught in the Derwent declined.
During the 1970s, the Association began annual litter clean-ups right along the foreshore at Bridgewater and Masons Point, continuing each year at the beginning of the trout fishing season in August.
Brighton Council supports the clean-up with rubbish taken to the Waste Transfer Station free of charge.
Since Council developed the walking trails, the Association believes the foreshore areas are much better looked after than before, with greater pride taken in the area.
During the late 70s and early 80s, the club bought a shack in the Central Highlands for members to use. Land was made available by the State Government on a 99-year lease basis for the club to build at Dago Point, Lake Sorell. The shack’s construction, working bees and increased competitions during this time brought people together and strengthened the Association. The land was bought from the Government, and members still regularly enjoy it.
The Association boasts approximately 80 members, holds 10 general meetings and two committee meetings a year. In addition, it develops the season’s program of events, including the Derwent River Challenge (trout only) shared with the New Norfolk Licensed Anglers’ Association.
While the River Derwent doesn’t fish like it used to, members still fish from the shore or in small boats.
In addition, events such as casting competitions and introductions to trout fishing at schools are held to stimulate younger interest in the Brighton Municipality.
If you want to join up, contact: Kevin Johns, secretary, email email@example.com or phone 6263 6552. Membership fees are $50 member or $80 for a family.
Thanks to Peter Wood, a long-term member and office bearer of the Bridgewater Anglers’ Association and former resident of Bridgewater, who willingly gave his time to tell us all about the history of the Association and his family’s connection to the area and the club.