All abilities hooked on Mates Day By Cameron Howe

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The love affair with snapper fishing is accessible to everyone thanks to the annual Mates Day on the Bay, which gives people with restrictions or disabilities the opportunity to enjoy Port Philip Bay.

More than 200 guests and carers were expected to take part in this year’s Mates Day on Sunday, October 15, boarding about 75 boats provided by volunteers who also donated equipment and their time on the day to trawl hotspots for snapper, flathead and salmon before wrapping up the event with a barbecue lunch. 

Patterson River is a mecca for snapper fishing. Each spring keen recreational fishermen joined by charter boats queue up in the early hours of the morning to launch at Carrum’s boat ramps. Large schools of snapper in search of food flood the bay to spawn with the rise in the water’s temperature, with some reaching up to 10kg.

Futurefish director David Kramer described the event as the “chance of a lifetime for people with disabilities to go out fishing for Melbourne’s iconic snapper”, and said volunteers were equally thrilled about the experience. “They feel like they are giving back to society to fish such a beautiful, pristine bay,” Mr Kramer said.

The Mates Day on the Bay was hosted by Futurefish Foundation, which was founded by radio and TV presenter Rex Hunt.