For 20 years, Recfishwest — in partnership with Healthway, promoting the SunSmart message — has delivered fishing clinics to kids and community groups across WA.
The success of our fishing clinics is due in most part to our dedicated and passionate volunteer clinic instructors, many of whom have been part of the Recfishwest team from the beginning.
They generously share their expertise, knowledge and experience with WA’s next generation of fishers.
Everyone participating in our fishing clinics and other community events is taught information on the roles and responsibilities of Recfishwest and the need to adopt more appropriate SunSmart behaviour.
The clinics address many aspects of fishing including basic fishing skills, the use of appropriate equipment, the reasons behind fishing rules, correct fish handling techniques, catch care and fishing safety.
‘Me No Fry’, ‘Addicted to Fishing’, ‘Not Drugs – Fish for the Future’ and ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide, Seek’ are just some of the core messages associated with Recfishwest fishing clinics over the years.
A partnership that is 20 years strong
We have come a long way since 1998 when we first teamed up with Healthway to introduce youth and families all over WA to recreational fishing.
With this year marking the 20th year, we are proud to say we have conducted over 1100 clinics and almost 40,000 attendees have been introduced to recreational fishing.
That’s almost five clinics a month, every month, for 20 years!
We are grateful to Healthway (SunSmart) for their ongoing support, as well to our other partners.
A stroll down memory lane
We wanted to look back at how the clinics have evolved over the years:
- Nov, 1998 Signed up for sponsorship with partner Healthway (Me No Fry, for Cancer Council). Continued every year since then and progressed to ‘SunSmart’ as main message;
- 1999: Installation of sunscreen stations at boat ramps all over WA to increase awareness of being SunSmart;
- 2004 – 2008: Additional funding from the Federal Government under the Commonwealth Community Grants Scheme for Recfishwest’s ‘Addicted to Fishing Not Drugs’ initiative enhanced the Healthway fishing clinics program;
- 2006: Having already been Healthway awards finalist twice, in 2006 Recfishwest were recognised for “Sponsorship projects showing Innovation and Community Participation” and WON the national award for “Best project encouraging fishing participation by children and women”;
- 2007: The fishing clinic program was selected as a finalist in the 2007 Community Services Industry Awards in the category 7 – Strengthening Rural and Remote Communities;
- 2008: Recfishwest was a finalist in the 2008 Recfish Australia Awards under the “Best Project Encouraging Participation of Women and Children in fishing”;
- From 2006, onwards: A significant number of advance bookings through the coming partnership period and many schools booking multiple classes and utilising the clinics each year. In addition, many teachers have reported that they have heard about how successful the clinics are from teachers at other schools, indicating a high degree of positive word of mouth within the education system towards the program;
- 2007: We held our first Pink Fly fishing Clinic in November 2007, an initiative which studies in the United States were shown to be highly beneficial for women recovering from breast cancer. This first session was a huge success and saw eleven ladies try their hand at fly fishing. Two subsequent Pink Fly fishing Clinics were held during 2008/09 and annually sine. Then in 2014 became Purple Fly Fishing, to better align with the Breast Cancer Care WA colours;
- 2010 – 2014: Recfishwest secured a partnership with Woodside Energy Ltd in early 2010 to meet the high travel costs of running clinics in WA’s North West. The Northern Community Fishing Clinics program was well received between the years 2010 to 2014. Recfishwest’s eye-catching fishing clinic trailer had a very distinguishable SunSmart theme and was exposed to thousands of people both through clinics and travelling between locations;
- 2015: New educational book developed in 2015 – ‘Become a Recfishwest Fisher Kid’ distributed to 1000 participants;
- 2017: Stretched budget to limit and had to approach new way of delivering clinics under a cost recovery scheme so as not to disappoint the increasing number of groups applying for clinic sessions;
- 2018: We welcomed Getaway Outdoors as a program sponsor;
- 2019: We welcomed Hooked Gear as a program partner in April, 2019.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said the not-for-profit was looking forward to another successful partnership year with Healthway from July 2019 to June 2020.
“Fishing is the lifeblood of our culture and giving kids and families access to fishing experiences is something we really value at Recfishwest,” he said.
“There would have been kids who we taught early in the fishing clinics program who are now having their own kids; and that’s where the legacy and knowledge is passed on.”
Dr Rowland also acknowledged the efforts of Kim Burton, Craig Bibra, Ian Sewell, Alan Guthrie, Adam Vegvary, Paul Willis, Kevin Murphy, Bec Griffiths and Greg Harrison.
“They are passionate volunteer instructors who have dedicated their time to help grow the program and get families out fishing,” Dr Rowland said.