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.

Inquiry jumps the shark

When Nick Schoevaart caught a massive 4.5m tiger shark one cold evening near Albany earlier this year, he was initially elated.

Nick and a couple of mates were specifically fishing for sharks, as they and many other gun young south coast land-based anglers have done many times, when the big tiger took their bait.

It truly was the fish of a lifetime, yes I said fish, and Nick fought the shark for around 90 minutes.

Trap plan highlights shark issue

If you need any evidence of the community value and significance of recreational fishing, then you only needed to be at the Woolshed in Carnarvon on the evening of March 3 this year.

Nearly 400 locals, a very big turnout for a relatively small town, turned up in their own time to express their concerns over a plan to reintroduce trap fishing into Gascoyne waters.

The plan was to ‘trial’ commercial fish taps until August 2018, and it was not going down well with locals.