Can't see the forest for the trees

ADMIRAL’S LOG

DATELINE: January 20, 2012.

To whom it may concern, I wish to know why recreational fishing was virtually excluded from this brochure distributed through the West Australian newspaper today as a valid tourism attraction?

In the first 36 pages of text, we got one pic of two people standing on a jetty with fishing rods, and a couple of cursory mentions.

This despite the fact that the social and economic value of rec fishing would absolutely eclipse that of most of the other activities put together.

Many very good people do a lot to promote our local fishing attractions, which are already a massive earner for the State and have the potential to attract serious overseas dollars, as happens in places like New Zealand and even closer to home in the Northern Territory.

Fishing’s basic

“Whenever I catch a fish, I believe that we are meant to cross paths in our lifetime.”

Those are the deeply philosophical words of Jung-Hoon Park, who uses a traditional Korean fishing pole called a gyeonji to catch freshwater fish in South Korea.

These historic poles are believed to be somewhere between 300 and 500 years old and the method is regarded as the traditional fishing method of Korea.

Essentially a gyeonji is a short stick with a wide paddle-like attachment at the end around which the line is wrapped, making it the most basic rod and reel combo you can imagine.

Media lured by fishing

Could it be that fishing is becoming cool again? Recreational fishing, angling, whatever you choose to call it, has been around for hundreds of years and is an integral part of the Australian lifestyle. It has probably never been more popular.

The latest figures suggest there are more than 750,000 anglers in WA alone and somewhere from 3-5 million across the country, which is a fair chunk of a population of around 24 million.

In WA alone there are 140,000 Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence holders and 52,000 rock lobster licence holders, the latter figure up almost 50 per cent in the last couple of years.

This makes fishing clearly one of the most popular pastimes for Australians and it is estimated as a generator of at least a billion dollars in the WA economy. In Victoria, the figure for recreational fishing was most recently estimated at around $7 billion.

Speaking to Recfishwest CEO Andrew Rowland

SC: Andrew, what do you believe are the most pressing issues for Recfishwest?

AR: The most pressing issue for Recfishwest is ensuring recreational fishers have a strong voice which is being heard by decision makers. Recfishwest as the peak body has a responsibility to listen to the fishing community and work towards making fishing better for all in the WA community. The most pressing issues all revolve around ensuring safe, accessible, enjoyable and sustainable fishing experiences for the State's recreational fishers.

We love fishing

On this page there is a picture of a bloke holding a salmon, flanked by a couple of kids.

This was from an overnight trip to Bremer Bay in January and it captures what I love about fishing.

A happy angler, a couple of excited kids and a stunning fish which was about to be released back into the ocean at the end of a magic day in the great outdoors.

All that glitters is not always goldens

As I look back on 2016 and what it offered on the fishing front, it was a year of notable firsts.

Sure, my first wahoo again eluded me, but I was pretty happy with a few new notches on what is a pretty ample piscatorial belt, both literally and figuratively.

I caught my first WA bonefish, my first south coast dhufish and my first south coast giant herring.

Captain Ahab’s hoo-doo

I was hoping, nay certain, 2016 would finally be the year of the wahoo for this little black duck.

These oceanic speedsters have been my angling nemesis and I entered the year hoping my wahoo drought would finally end.

In fact it would be wrong to call it a drought as that would suggest I once had success on wahoo, when in fact I had never caught even one heading into this year.

Many of my angling acquaintances would claim this inability to catch a wahoo is a reflection of poor angling skills, but this is sheer folly and I would refute this assertion in the strongest of terms.

Fish and survive

The year was 1992.

I was back in my old hometown of Albany for the wedding of the man I like to call “The Buffoon” – old school mate Marcus Keizer.

Even then, as a relative youngster, The Buffoon was known for his capacity to stuff up and cause disaster.

The Buffoon, Cameron Finnie and I had some time to kill before the wedding so decided to head to the Salmon Holes for a spot of fishing.

Although Cameron were both keen fishos, The Buffoon was a mere novice, having only tried his hand from the Mandurah Traffic Bridge and in a few trout streams around the South-West.

At the time, I had never fished off the rocks at the now infamous Salmon Holes, despite having been there many times beach fishing as a teenager.