“I can’t believe that I’m a boat owner now, I really can’t – just by catching a salmon – it is great news.”
That was Beau Gee’s response after winning the 2021 Salmon Slam’s $9,000 dinghy, trailer and outboard package top-prize for simply catching a salmon and entering it into the app-based competition.
The three-month Slam came to an end at midnight on Monday, with 1,659 fishers taking part and chasing salmon along South West and south coast beaches during the autumn salmon migration.
Father-of-three Beau was the random draw-winner to scoop the 3.5m Seajay aluminium dinghy, powered by a six horse-power, four-stroke Honda outboard and trailer, supplied by Rusty’s Marine in Albany.
Beau’s boat joy
“Until now I haven’t been a boat owner, but I have always wanted a little one so this is fantastic,” the passionate Great Southern angler from Mt Barker told Recfishwest.
“I’ll definitely be heading out for King George whiting and squid inshore of Albany and in the Kalgan and Pallinup rivers for black bream.”
Beau said he always looked forward to the annual salmon run, especially because it offered a family fishing experience to wet a line with his children Hunter, Ruby and Ava.
“We fish for salmon from Denmark to Wellstead, basically wherever the fish are,” he said.
“Salmon are such a great sportfish that fight hard, put on a show when jumping out of the water and when they’re on, everyone can catch one.
“The Salmon Slam is a terrific comp and my family really enjoyed taking part in it.”
Awesome Autumn of Salmon
Held in partnership between Recfishwest and Western Angler magazine, the Salmon Slam – part of the Awesome Autumn of Salmon – celebrates salmon as a fantastic, safe and accessible sportfish.
Although the La Niña weather event has led to warmer water temperatures limiting the run of the highly popular species, there were still a few salmon caught from the Mandurah and Perth coast.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said WA was home to the biggest Australian salmon in the country and the fishing experience the species provided each autumn was worth celebrating through the Awesome Autumn of Salmon and should be protected.
“Being able to catch a hard-fighting 4kg to 5kg salmon, while keeping the sand between your toes along some of the world’s best beaches right here in our State’s south is something West Aussies must be able to experience forever,” Dr Rowland said.
“Even though it has been an average salmon run, having more than 1,600 people of all backgrounds and ages – many of them families – compete in the Salmon Slam shows just how popular and important salmon is.
“Recfishing for salmon contributes $331 million to the State’s economy each year, much of which is spent in regional towns.
“But, the salmon run is more than that – the time spent fishing with family and friends is priceless.”
READ MORE ABOUT WHAT RECFISHING FOR SALMON IS WORTH TO THE WA ECONOMY HERE
Dr Rowland congratulated all prize winners and thanked all of our fantastic sponsors for supporting this year’s Salmon Slam.
“The WA tackle and outdoors industry have really come to the party and backed this competition making it such a success, so we’d like to give a big Recfishwest shout-out to all those who donated prizes,” Dr Rowland said.
Super second and third prize goes to…
It wasn’t just the dinghy, trailer and outboard package which had Salmon Slam fishers excited for success across the three-month competition.
A Hobie Revolution Kayak, donated by Getaway Outdoors and valued at $3,150, was the comp’s second top-prize, with a random draw seeing it awarded to the aptly-named Donna Fisher.
And, Ryan Simcock will now be fishing with the best of the best after winning the randomly-drawn Shimano Stella 5000SW – donated by Compleat Angler Rockingham – for the third prize.
Salmon Slam smiles for more big prize winners
Great Southern fisher Nathan Woods and the South West’s Peter ‘Stoney’ Stonehouse have been locked in a tight battle for the Slam’s overall four longest salmon since the comp got underway.
Nathan won the competition’s opening phase and final phase, while Stoney took out the second and third phases.
Ultimately, Nathan emerged victorious to win a Shimano Stella 5000SW, donated by Compleat Angler Nedlands, and two nights’ accommodation at Fisherman’s Lodge, Maitraya Resort, Albany.
Both salmon fishers finished the comp with a combined score of 3,550mm, with their four longest salmon both respectively measuring 900mm, 890mm, 880mm and 880mm.
It took a random draw to split the duo, with Nathan claiming the overall category victory.
A random draw also gave Samuel Barnes the win for the random adult category to take out an Engel fridge.
Samuel has also snared two Penn Spinfisher SSV 5500 reels and a Smilin’ Jacks lure packs, donated by Geographe Camping and Tackle World.
Young gun Cole Cameron is now the proud owner of a Darche swag, supplied by Recfishwest, for being randomly selected as the junior category winner.
Cole will also be sent a Penn Spinfisher SSV 5500 reel and a Smilin’ Jacks lure pack, both donated by Geographe Camping and Tackle World.
Salmon snaps catch the eye and yet more prizes
There were many eye-catching photos of smiling fishers with their catch submitted into the 2021 Salmon Slam’s best photo category.
Despite the many fantastic entries, there could only be one winner – Taro Okamoto, pictured above.
For the fantastic photo, Taro has won a DJI Mavic drone in addition to a Penn Spinfisher SSV 5500 Reel, donated by Geographe Camping and Tackle World, and a Smilin’ Jacks lure pack.
A $250 tackle pack from Southern Sports and Tackle will also be sent to Taro as part of the prize.
See more awesome photos: