Families flock to Denham to celebrate fishing in the Gascoyne at Shark Bay Fiesta

The hundreds of visitors from across WA and Australia, who ventured to Denham for the week-long Shark Bay Fiesta to celebrate all things fishing swelled the population of the coastal town by half!  

For around 850 people who call Denham home, the annual Shark Bay Fiesta community event plays a big part in the community’s cultural life and social calendar, as well as bringing a welcome annual boost to local businesses.  

Since it started as a weekend fishing competition in 1996, the event has now blossomed into a week-long, program-packed community event with an array of social activities organised by local fundraising community groups.  

With impressive prizes up for grabs for the best catches, more than 119 competitors on 42 boats ventured into Shark Bay to experience the safe, sustainable, enjoyable and accessible fishing on offer, with many punching out wide to renowned fishing spots such as Dirk Hartog Island and Steep Point to chase Spanish mackerel, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, red emperor, goldband snapper, pearl perch and many others.  

Notable eyebrow-raising catches from the Fiesta, held between 19-26 May, included a 23.3kg Spanish mackerel, 7.54kg coral trout, 10.33kg red emperor and 92cm tailor.  

For a full summary of the 2023 Shark Bay Fiesta results, click here.  

This wahoo weighing over 20kg caught by Daryl Anesbury was just one of the spectacular fish landed during the week-long Shark Bay Fiesta competition, with 119 competitors on 42 boats bringing in great catches to the weigh-in each afternoon.

While the fishing action was non-stop, so was the Fiesta entertainment in Denham, with a huge range of family-friendly activities including live music, local business stalls, daily catch weigh-ins, quiz and bingo nights, workshops, auctions, fireworks and much more. 

Shark Bay Community Resource Centre Executive Officer Jamie Burton, who has helped coordinate the event for years, said the annual festivities never fail to create a great buzz around the town.  

“The Shark Bay Fiesta is easily the biggest community tourism boost each year in the region celebrating the importance of fishing in Shark Bay to the community while showcasing local businesses and the pristine waters of the area,” she said.  

“It’s high-class fishing to bingo, high teas, live music and fun competitions like a blindfolded pancake eating competition – there’s something for everyone of all ages.”  

Another welcome addition to this year’s Fiesta was the introduction of the ‘catch and return’ category in the fishing competition – where demersal species are caught and weighed in catch bags to reduce direct handling and potential damage to the fish, before they are safely released. Being able to safely catch and release these demersal species while still having the chance to take out impressive prizes prompted a lot of positive feedback,” added Jamie.

A lively awards ceremony reflected another successful year for the Fiesta.

A fun-packed Fiesta fishing clinic!

Recfishwest was also there to help teach the next generation of fishers how to catch, handle and release great species of fish in our SunSmart fishing clinic, with 38 kids from all around WA wetting a line for three hours and catching and releasing more than 100 fish including bluebone, black snapper, tarwhine and many other species.  

“This was one of the most productive and energetic fishing clinics that Recfishwest has coordinated as all 38 kids and their parents were kept busy catching a wide variety of impressive species off the local Denham jetties. One kid even managed to pull in a 1.8kg bluebone,” said Recfishwest Senior Operations Officer Sam Russell.  

“It was great to see visitors from inland regions experience the great coastal fishing on offer. We had several clinic attendees that had travelled from Alice Springs and they were blown away by the accessible and rewarding fishing on offer in Shark Bay. We’re sure they can’t wait to get back there and wet a line again. 

“A big thanks to Jamie Burton and the Denham community for having us and hosting another awesome Shark Bay Fiesta, we’re looking forward to coming back between 17-24 May in 2024.”  

Want to know more about the 2023 Shark Bay Fishing Fiesta? Check out their website here 

A big thanks to all 38 kids and their families who enjoyed wetting a line with Recfishwest during our three-hour long SunSmart fishing clinic off the jetties in Denham!

Continue Reading

June 18, 2024

Senior Police Sergeant says fishing safety angel ring saved man’s life at Quobba

A Carnarvon senior police officer at the centre of a risky rescue of a fisher washed off the rocks on our Mid-West coastline said the man would not be alive had he not been kept afloat by an angel ring –…

Read More

June 07, 2024

Gascoyne’s spectacular fishing on full display at Carnar-Fin Fishing Competition!

Hundreds of local community members and more than 250 fishers flocked to Carnarvon to experience the highly anticipated Carnar-Fin Fishing Competition.  Since its inception in 1992, Carnar-Fin has become an annual…

Read More

May 31, 2024

Get your marine park submissions in by June 16 to defend access to our cherished fishing spots

Recfishwest is urging ALL FISHERS who care about protecting access to cherished fishing spots to make a South Coast Marine Parks submission before the June 16 deadline. Whether you live and fish on the South Coast…

Read More

May 30, 2024

Fishing families flock to Denham for 2024 Shark Bay Fiesta!

For the 29th year running, the coastal town of Denham swelled in size for the hugely popular Shark Bay Fiesta that celebrates the fantastic fishing on offer in the Gascoyne region.   Recfishwest joined the Denham…

Read More

May 29, 2024

Popular fishing jetties around WA set to benefit from the budget

Jetties are the heart of local coastal communities, providing accessible fishing for everyone and essential nearshore habitat for a range of important fish species.   In good news for fishers, numerous jetties…

Read More

May 22, 2024

The past, present and future of WA’s artificial reefs and Recfishwest’s role!

Ever wanted to know the history of how artificial reefs became so successful around the world and the future reefs set to make a splash off our coastline?   Recfishwest’s Programs Manager James Florisson also…

Read More