Fishing for Science and hard-fighting pelagics at the 2023 Dampier Classic!

With scores of spectacular catches rolling through at the recent Dampier Classic last weekend, the weigh-in scales and our Fishing for Science team at the filleting table were certainly kept busy!  

And with our latest SunSmart Fishing Clinic allowing kids to learn how to catch, handle and release a range of great species in the pristine Pilbara waters – our Dampier fishing clinic was booked out in a matter of days.  

With a fantastic community response to our Fishing for Science fish program, supported by Woodside North West at King Bay Game Fishing Club’s (KBGFC) 47th annual Dampier Classic, scores of comp entrants provided the Recfishwest team with plenty of samples of commonly captured Pilbara species such as wahoo, mackerel and tuna. 

Fishing for Science is a community engagement program that enables local communities to better understand scientifically the fish species that underpin prized fishing experiences. With each day’s weigh-in showcasing many impressive captures, competitors were happy to assist Recfishwest in taking 63 belly samples from a range of fish species.  

Other data gathered for our Fishing for Science program across the competition included the weight, condition, sex, parasites and maturity stage of each fish, providing some interesting insights for locals while allowing them to give something back to fishing.  

The kids in Dampier absolutely loved learning about the gender and biology of many different species on our Fishing for Science filleting table from Recfishwest’s Levi De Boni, with a strong flow of captures keeping the next generation of fishers entertained for days.

READ MORE ABOUT OUR FISHING FOR SCIENCE PROGRAM HERE 

It wasn’t just 70-plus Dampier Classic competitors aboard 19 boats who enjoyed some great fishing action. Our SunSmart Fishing Clinic in Dampier drew in 50 local kids eager to wet a line off the shore, with plenty of great catches ranging from 10cm Moses perch to 30cm tuskfish.  

This fishing clinic introduced future fishing generations to the great species on offer in the pristine Pilbara waters and also provided Sam Russell and Levi De Boni from Recfishwest the opportunity to educate kids on how to be SunSmart under the new KBGFC gazebo – funded through a Recfishwest Community Grant – while also teaching them how to catch, handle and release fish correctly.  

“This was Recfishwest’s biggest attended SunSmart Fishing Clinic to date with plenty of fish caught throughout the whole three-hour clinic. It clearly outlines how important fishing is to the Pilbara community when our clinics rapidly book out with dozens of kids all buzzing to wet a line,” said Recfishwest Senior Operations Officer Sam Russell.  

“A big thanks to the Dampier fishing communities, King Bay Game Fishing Club and SunSmart for allowing us to run these clinics and actively engage with hundreds of Dampier and Karratha locals again for 2023 – and a big kudos to our Fishing for Science partners Woodside Energy for supporting this great community program that continues to expand across northern WA.”  

The smiles tell the story! Here is some of many great catches from our packed-to-the-rafters SunSmart Fishing Clinic in Dampier, with more than 50 kids learning how to catch, handle and release fish.

President of KBGFC Leon Brislane has helped coordinate the Dampier Classic for the last three years and has seen first-hand the importance and growth of this renowned fishing competition and Recfishwest’s Fishing for Science program throughout our northern communities. 

“This annual competition always brings loads of families and friends together to share a beer, have a laugh and catch some top-quality fish in one of the best fishing locations in WA,” said Leon. 

“The kids can’t get enough of the Fishing for Science program and they are always super-excited to become engaged with the Recfishwest crew taking fish samples. It always leads to fun ‘guess the fish gender’ games and they also receive an invaluable biology lesson to better understand these great species of fish. 

“A big thanks to all of our sponsors for their generosity in helping support the King Bay Game Fishing Club and this great annual event.”

A big Recfishwest thanks to the Dampier community and the King Bay Game Fishing Club for their warm hospitality during the 2023 Dampier Classic.

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