1kg every 10 days – WA Marlin Show Extraordinary Growth Rates!!

Did you know…

Two juvenile Black Marlin were kept during Gamex 2017, as part of a study looking at Black Marlin Biology in Australia, (as a contribution to a study by Sam Williams – a PhD student at the University of Queensland).

Left: Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland with 1 of the Marlin captures. Right: Recfishwest Research team sampling Marlin number 2.

Sam aged these fish by extracting the fish’s ear bones called otoliths. Fish age is determined by counting the opaque zones, much like one would count rings on a tree to determine its age.

Left: Marlin ready for sampling – gut, gonad and ear bone samples were taken. Right: The Marlin’s otolith (ear bone) – the age is determined by counting rings, similar to the ageing of trees!

So How Old Were They?

Extraordinary Exmouth

When you think Exmouth, you think of Gamex. You may also think of it as your ultimate fishing destination; your opportunity to catch a big 1000lb Marlin or reel in big Sailfish or Dolphinfish.

Photo courtesy: Peak Sport Fishing Exmouth.

 So why and how is Exmouth such a coveted game fishing mecca?

 “Is there just more big fish in the waters off Exmouth?” In short – yes.

 “But surely with thousands of game fishers descending on Exmouth every year the fishing would decline?”

 Answer: It’s because the community value game fish so much, they’ve shown a desire to understand more about the fish they catch and preserve the iconic status of gamefish in WA for biological, social and economic reasons.

 In recent years there has been a number of ‘investments’ made to ensure the recreational fishing sector understand more about the fish we catch, and there’s no better example of this than Exmouth’s famous Gamex tournament!

 Recfishwest’s Research Team are currently up at the 2018 Gamex Tournament collecting samples of game fish that  come into the weigh station every night. It’s the 2nd consecutive year the team has headed up for the game fishing tournament to carry out this important work, with plenty of fish being submitted to allow for a solid set of fish data, potentially used for a variety of projects worldwide!

 

Tag a mate that…Tags fish?!

Fish tagging is another method used by game fishers to do their bit for ‘science.’ Tagging fish allows a percentage of the fish population to be monitored ‘in the wild’ with repeat catch records, giving insight into an individual fish’s movement and size over time.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland with a tagged Sailfish in Broome.

Do you remember the 1000 pound Marlin caught off Exmouth earlier in 2018 by local skipper Eddy Lawler? You probably didn’t know Eddy has tagged over 1000 Marlin, many are recaptures of his previously tagged fish! That’s only one boat skipper providing over 1000 points of data for Marlin, making Eddy more of an advocate for fisheries research than most others worldwide! Read more about the 1000lb Marlin here.

So Why Aren’t All Fish Tagged and Released?

To understand more about the fish we catch at Statewide fishing tournaments, there are a number of different research techniques used to sample fish species that wouldn’t normally come into weigh stations at your local fishing club.

Gamex 2018 Yellowfin Tuna ready for sampling.

Fishing tournaments provide a great social and economic activity for regional towns in WA and is the fabric of a lot of communities, especially in fair weather months. So when hundreds of fishers descend on regional fishing clubs to go tournament fishing, a whole range of species are brought in to the weigh station, iced down and ready for the table. It’s at these times where the opportunity to collect samples from these species is at its’ greatest and goes a long way to helping researchers understand more about the fish we catch.

Researchers can quite quickly collect samples from species such as trevally, mackerel and cobia to help determine length, weight, age and diet from a few simple cuts – leaving the fish in high quality ready to for the fisher to take home and cook up!

Dietary data allows us to understand a species effects on the rest of their environment. It also allows the drawing of food webs and better grasp the entirety of the relationships between species – essentially ‘what eats what.’

What’s Next?

If you’re lucky enough to be fishing at the 2018 Shark Bay Fishing Fiesta in May, the Recfishwest Research Team will again be on-hand to sample the fish the competitors bring in – to help us understand more about the fish we catch and do our bit as a sector for conservation!

The 2018 Gamex samples that will be collected will be kept on ice and made accessible to research providers, such as Universities) who run specific projects looking at topics such as fish biology, population dynamics and age and growth rates.

 

How Can You Help?

Recfishwest will be taking their Research Team to as many statewide fishing tournaments as possible and we’re always looking for Supporting Partners who can help us achieve this. Your brand will be directly associated with research activities as described in the article above and is great way to enhance your corporate social responsibility! This will ensure high-quality fishing experiences are maintained and enjoyed, as an integral part of the WA lifestyle. Want to know more, email tim@recfishwest.org.au or check out our Partnerships and Sponsorship page here.

Carnarvon fishers finally get their say on snapper conservation

Fast facts:

  • Carnarvon fishers have shown an overwhelming willingness to be part of the solution;
  • Recfishwest will continue to work to ensure the government clearly understand the views of Gascoyne fishers;
  • Community urged to have their say here.

Recfishwest welcomes today’s announcement from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) who are currently seeking comments on a proposal to introduce a spawning closure for pinkies in an area around the northern end of Bernier Island, offshore from Carnarvon.

A pink Snapper spawning aggregation in Cockburn Sound during their spawning closure. 

The proposed closure addresses concerns over the sustainability of the oceanic pink snapper in the Gascoyne region and the fishing community are now strongly urged to have their say!

Pink snapper are the lifeblood of recreational fishing in the Gascoyne. These highly prized fish provide fantastic opportunity for both local and visiting fishers to tussle with a hard fighting, yet accessible sportfish that is also rated highly on the plate.

A recent stock assessment completed by DPIRD indicating a risk to snapper sustainability has been met with concern by both Recfishwest and the Carnarvon fishing community.

Recfishwest believes it is important to protect this Pink Snapper breeding stock. We are pleased to see this proposal does not impact on fishing for other species, such as coral trout and red emperor.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland has indicated that closures to protect spawning pink snapper have worked well in both Cockburn Sound and the inner gulfs of Shark Bay and has commended the local Carnarvon community for their input on this issue so far.

“We’ve never understood why spawning closures haven’t been implemented for the Carnarvon fishery when they have been so effective in Cockburn Sound and Shark Bay for decades,” he said.

“The current proposal takes on board feedback provided by community members through a working group process and it’s now time for the broader community to have their say.

“The people of Carnarvon love fishing and genuinely care about healthy fisheries. Local fishers have shown an overwhelming willingness to be part of the solution for recovering the pink snapper fishery.

“Recfishwest will continue to work to ensure the government clearly understand the views of locals and visitors who enjoy fishing in the Gascoyne.”

Getaway Outdoors Teams Up with Recfishwest to Get WA Kids Into Fishing

Western Australia’s peak body for recreational fishing, Recfishwest, and community focused outdoor retailer Getaway Outdoors, have teamed up to get more kids off the couch and into fishing!

For 16 years Recfishwest have been delivering WA’s only Statewide Fishing Clinic Program, reaching over 30,000 fishing families and kids from Wyndham to Esperance.

Getaway Outdoors General Manager Matt Williams said the team at Getaway Outdoors believe more kids in WA should be out fishing and experiencing our great fishing environments.

“We believe in getting more kids off the couch and into fishing,” Mr Williams said.

Fishing has proven and well documented health and wellbeing benefits including being active and interacting with nature, reducing stress and anxiety, providing a positive state of mind and sense of happiness. Fishing also has everlasting family benefits with the activity being enjoyed from families and kids from a young age.

“Recfishwest’s Statewide Family Fishing Clinic program naturally aligns to why Getaway Outdoors exists and we believe we can help Recfishwest reach more families right around WA.”

“By supporting Recfishwest, who campaign to ensure all West Aussies have access to great fishing, it makes sense for Getaway Outdoors to partner with them and give the kids and families of WA access to better fishing.”

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said having supporting partners on board of the calibre of Getaway Outdoors was exciting.

“Getaway Outdoors have supported us at many previous community events such as Swanfish, Gone Fishing Day and Snapper Guardians and to have them on board in an official capacity is great,” Dr Rowland said.

“As a not-for-profit organisation it’s important to have partners who believe in our values and align with our vision of ensuring we have safe, sustainable, accessible and enjoyable fishing for the community forever.”

Visit Getaway Outdoors Online here.

 

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Partnering with Recfishwest allows businesses to access one of WA’s most engaged and active communities, some 750,000 fishing West Aussies. Recfishwest have a range of Partnerships that can meet your social and corporate needs from supporting kids and families, to conservation and research, to fishing safety and digital communications. Contact Tim at tim@recfishwest.org.au to find out more.

Recfishwest’s top lure picks for beach fishing for salmon

Catching salmon from world class beaches is one of the most iconic WA fishing activities you and your family can have. Launching a lure into a huge school of salmon only 30 metres from the beach gives every fisher, novice or pro, a tremendous thrill and one which never seems to gets old.

A salmon spotted swimming through a wave well within casting range from the beach. (Photo courtesy of Tony Tropiano).

Check out how easy it is to catch a salmon from the beach, click here.

Lure fishing for salmon on world class West Australian beaches has many great benefits:

  • No need for stinky bait and cheaper than buying bait all the time
  • You can cast further and be amongst the action by putting your lure in the zone
  • Adds to the ‘sportfishing’ element
  • Great way to get the kids into lure fishing
  • No skill needed in regards to lure movement or techniques
  • Great method for catch and release fishing

So with that in mind, we’ve come up with the top salmon lures you and your family must have this season.

Salmon Lure Criteria:

  • Castability: (beach casting only)
  • Price: Affordable for everyone
  • Catchability: Does it actually catch fish

Halco Twisty

Photo credit: Halco Tackle

The curved ends of the famous Twisty create an enticing action like no other metal lure. From a slow wobbling retrieve to a high-speed splashing retrieve, this lure is truly versatile. The Twisty Chrome has an incredibly realistic baitfish profile that has proven itself in both salt and freshwater.

Castability: 4/5
Price: 5/5 (approx. $5 – $10)
Catchability: 5/5

Other Species: Tailor, herring, bonito, tuna, trevally, Queenfish, freshwater trout, mackerel

How to fish them: For best results, vary speed and angle of retrieve, and choose different colours to match the available baitfish in the area. The Twisty Chrome comes in a range of weights.  Constructed with a shiny chrome body, anglers have the choice of either a chrome, gold, green, or red holographic variety in a weight from 1.5g up to 70g.

Richter Plug

Photo credit: Richter Lures

The Richter Plug is a simple yet effective lure that is nearly indestructible. Favoured among anglers for its great action on the retrieve this lure is the go to in any condition. With their slim profile and weight, they make a great long-distance casting lure that can be fired out like a torpedo and this can be crucial when trying to reach distant schools of cruising salmon on southern beaches. Whether you’re casting into open clear water or around rocky reef structures, this is one lure you can’t do without this salmon season.

 

 

Castability: 5/5
Price: 5/5 (approx. $5-$10)
Catchability: 5/5

Other Species: Tailor, herring, bonito, tuna, trevally, Queenfish, Kingfish, ,ackerel

How to fish them: They can be fished as either a sinking stickbait or a surface lure or both during the same retrieve! Retrieve them fast to create a frantic baitfish surface splash action or slow the retrieve down and watch it dart around just under the surface.

Available in White, Red Head, Chartreuse, Pink and Yellow, and in five sizes from 28 grams through to 140 grams – sized from 138mm to 78mm.

Spanyid Raider

Photo credit: Spanyid

Along with the Halco Twisty, Raider metal lures are one of the most versatile fishing products ever designed and are useful for many fishing applications. Not only do these lures work in all water depths, they are effective in all aspects of lure use. The range of sizes match most baitfish profiles. Their range of weights means they have multiple fishing applications but do their best work being cast off a beach at a hungry waiting school of salmon.

Castability: 5/5
Price: 5/5 (approx. $5 – $10)
Catchability: 5/5

Other Species: Tailor, herring, bonito, tuna, trevally, Queenfish, Kingfish, mackerel

How to fish them: For best results, vary speed and angle of retrieve, and choose different colours to match the available baitfish in the area. The angled design allows for maximum casting distance, a ‘dart and weave’ motion on the retrieve at all but slow speeds for spinning.

Constructed with a shiny chrome body, anglers have the choice of nine sizes ranging from 10g upto 200g.

 

FREE SALMON HOTSPOT MAPS

Yes that’s right, we’re giving you all the tools and advice you need to catch one of these awesome sportsfish from your local beach by providing free beach fishing for salmon maps available for download here, alternatively pick one up from a local tackle store and speak to the experts on the ground.

Also why not be involved in all the excitement by checking out the Awesome Autumn of Salmon celebrations we’re having! More info here.

So what salmon lure is the best? What do you buy?

The answer is obvious,  you can never have enough lures for all forms of fishing.  Recfishwest’s suggestion is to buy one of each and try for yourself. Different lures will work best with different rod and reel setups. With the lures we’ve reviewed being so affordable and proven to catch salmon, it won’t break the bank if you buy one of each and make up your own mind!

Have you caught a salmon on one of the lures above? Send us your pics! Email them to info@recfishwest.org.au

The Great Southern Salmon Campout

THIS EVENT IS NOW CLOSED FOR 2018. PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR THE 2019 SALMON CAMPOUT.

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Recfishwest has teamed up with WA’s iconic fishing magazine Western Angler and Cheynes Beach Caravan Park to celebrate all things Salmon at the 1st ever Great Southern Salmon Campout! The weekend will take place on the Friday afternoon of the 23rd March through to lunchtime on Sunday the 25th March.

Image: The Tropiano family on their annual Salmon fishing trip. Photo courtesy of Tony Tropiano.

The Great Southern Salmon Campout is designed for education, appreciation and loads of fun with your friends and family!

The entire weekend only costs $116pp, including accommodation and has plenty of activities to keep you busy and your mind on fishing the whole weekend.

 The weekend will include the following:

  • Complimentary BBQ Dinner on the Friday Night – meet and greet
  • Accommodation fees included in package price
  • Demo and ‘How To’ workshops
  • Beach casting competitions
  • Fish filleting demos
  • Fishing Q&A night with Recfishwest CEO, Western Angler’s Scott Coghlan and other fishing experts
  • Fishing competitions – let’s catch some salmon!
  • Making new friends (who love fishing)
  • All packaged together with accommodation at Cheynes Beach Caravan Park
  • Plus much more!

You will have the opportunity to learn new skills, fish from world class beaches and make memories that will last forever.

If this sounds like your kind of adventure make sure you get in quick and register as places are limited!

Click HERE to Register for The Great Southern Salmon Campout

Please note: When you register your total cost will include your accommodation and event fee in one transaction. Please disregard the shipping cost message on the PayPal page, as it only applies to payments for a Recfishwest membership.

New Tech to Ensure Future of Premier Fishing Event

Perth’s premier family fishing event, Swanfish, is on again this weekend, with a new direction aimed at better engaging fishers throughout the event. With a focus on catch and release fishing and for the first time ever, the use of a purpose-built smartphone app, Swanfish will provide participants with a live scoreboard and an instant method of logging their catches.

This year Swanfish will focus on catch & release fishing.

The Swanfish App, built by the team at TrackMyFish, will allow fishers to take a photo of their catch and enter it into the competition with only a few simple clicks. The app includes a live feed with photos so fishers can see in real time what’s being caught elsewhere on the river. This style of app has been utilised in other fishing events throughout Australia and has proven to be extremely useful for competitors.

The app is simple to use and free to download, simply search for ‘Swanfish’ in the App Store or Google Play.

The app will also turn all competitors into citizen scientists for the weekend, as each logged catch goes into a database which will be built on over future events. Long term data such as this is vital in providing insight into decision making around river management going forward.

The use of the app has also allowed Swanfish to change its format to a catch and release event. Whilst Swanfish has included a catch and release section for years, this new technology has allowed the event to go almost fully catch and release, with only large Mulloway able to be captured and brought to the award ceremony on the Sunday.

See what Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly had to say about the exciting new direction Swanfish is taking, read his statement here.

There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs including this Hobie Revolution 13 Kayak.

Thanks to our Swanfish sponsors, there are 20 categories and over $9000 worth in prizes. Please note you must be in attendance on Sunday at Garvey Park to win.

These changes will ensure that Swanfish continues to provide Perth families with the opportunity to connect with the river and enjoy the health and wellbeing aspects of fishing for many years to come.

To learn more about Swanfish, please visit www.swanfish.com.au

Our Valued 2018 Swanfish Sponsors

Another Year, Another Successful Snapper Guardians

Hundreds of families turned out to release thousands of juvenile Pink Snapper on the 10th of February at Snapper Guardians 2018.  The perfect weather conditions allowed kids and parents to get right in the water and watch their fish swim off into the wild.

So far over 100,000 Pink Snapper have been grown out and released through the Snapper Guardians program.

This program is continuing to build community stewardship for one of WA’s iconic species.

Cockburn Sound’s Pink Snapper stocks are one of the most important fisheries in WA as these waters are home to the largest spawning aggregations of snapper on the West Coast.

 “Fishing for Pink Snapper off the Perth coast is continually improving and there’s no reason why this fishery couldn’t be the best Pink Snapper fishery in Australia.” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland.

Photo courtesy of Julie Van Oosten Photography.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly was once again on the beach seeing first-hand how important this event is to the community, especially the children, many of whom got the chance to release their very first fish providing a positive experience that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Minster Kelly with Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland releasing some juvenile Pink Snapper.

“It was fantastic to join the hundreds of mums, dads, kids and avid fishers down at the beach for such a fun and important recreational fishing initiative.

Recreational fishing is an important part of WA’s way of life and an important economic driver. Which is why the McGowan Government supports recreational fishing projects through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.

Each and every licence holder contributes to this fund with 25 percent of recreational licence fees placed into this fund.

I congratulate Recfishwest and Fisheries staff at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development for their hard work on this project.”

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland expressed what his team are working so hard to protect.

“As your peak body organisation representing you, it’s our role to stand up and protect important waterways around WA such as Cockburn Sound’s Pink Snapper spawning grounds.” Dr Rowland said.

Photo courtesy of Julie Van Oosten Photography.

“We know there’s been a long running history of competing uses in the sound and getting the balance right will always be a challenge. Programs like Snapper Guardians play an important role in highlighting the importance of Cockburn Sound to our sector.”

“The team at Recfishwest would like to thank the hundreds of families that came down and did their bit for Pink Snapper in Cockburn Sound. We’re always thrilled to see the community rolling up their sleeves and making a difference!”

Photo courtesy of Julie Van Oosten Photography.

Snapper Guardians 2018 was made possible through funding from the State Government and the ongoing support of the WA community.

 

Record Marlin Lands Exmouth International Fame

Western Australia is blessed with many wonderful fishing opportunities. Our 12,000km long coastline provides access to many and varied species and experiences from Bream, Flathead and Salmon in the south, to Billfish and Barramundi in the north. Every now and then, we witness a spectacular capture of a trophy fish, the type that most of us dream about and the type that thrusts WA into the global fishing spotlight.

The 494kg Marlin that has gained international fame. Photo credit: Wes Jones.

Such a capture took place on New Year’s day this year in Exmouth when Captain Eddy Lawler of Peak Sportfishing Charters captured an Australian Record Blue Marlin. Eddy is a well-known Marlin champion. He has over 1000 marlin releases to his name, including some recaptures of his own fish. Recently Eddy and others in the Exmouth community have been contributing to Marlin research by releasing fish with satellite tags which will track their movement over a number of months, so when Eddy and his team hooked up on the big Blue, they knew they were onto a good fish.

It’s not just the Marlin that have people flocking to Exmouth, with great fishing opportunities to catch prized gamefish like this huge Yellowfin Tuna. Photo credit Peak Sportfishing Adventures

At 494kg, it was the biggest Blue Marlin ever officially weighed in Australia to GFAA rules and the first Marlin of any species over the old 1000lb mark captured in WA. This is a fish that will cement Exmouth’s reputation as a world-class Marlin fishery.

Many coastal communities in WA thrive from fishing-related tourism, and Exmouth is no different. Many fishers throughout Australia travel to Exmouth each year to sample the world-class fishing it offers. Recently, an increasing number of international fishers have been making the journey too.

Local tackle store owner Jeni Gates reports that the number of visiting fishers from Asian countries is on the rise.

“It’s fantastic to see these fishing experiences being recognised globally as some of the best in the world.”

“We are talking to more and more international visitors, particularly from the Asian region, who are visiting specifically to go fishing.”

“Our small town needs this fishing tourism, and the recent capture of the ‘grander’ Blue Marlin will go a long way towards promoting this region as a world-class Marlin fishing destination like Hawaii or Cabo.” Jeni said.

Captures such as this can not be underestimated when it comes to promoting our fantastic state and the opportunities it offers to visitors. Recfishwest congratulates Eddy and his team and looks forward to seeing the Exmouth Marlin fishery shine in the international spotlight for years to come.