Roebuck Bay threadfin comp to put Broome fishers to the test

Many Broome fishers are hoping to land a record-breaking threadfin salmon from Roebuck Bay during an annual tournament held at the world-class fishery on the Kimberley town’s doorstep.

Roebuck Bay boasts tremendous threadfin salmon stocks! Credit: Makaira Sportfishing Charters

Broome North Fishing Club’s threadfin salmon fishing competition – dubbed the Recfishwest Thready Kick-off Comp – starts on August 2 and is set to run until November 27.

The free Thready Kick-off Comp is backed by a $2,200 grant from Round 9 of Recfishwest’s Community Grant Scheme Funding program and is a great example of how local fishing tournaments like this play an important role in the social fabric of a regional coastal community.

The tournament’s extended format allows members to get out on the water whenever suits them best.

Its launch comes as Recfishwest Chief Executive Officer Dr Andrew Rowland and Operations Officer Aaron Moses arrive in Broome as part of our State-wide community consultation.

BNFC president Jono Coventry said Roebuck Bay was home to superb threadfin salmon action and the comp was a great draw particularly for fishing families.

“Fishers have a few months to get out there to catch threadfin salmon,” he said.

“We are a family-orientated club and this is one of those comps where you can find a spot, throw the pick out, put a shade up and sit there enjoying the social side of things while catching fish.

“Given Broome’s thready stocks are top-tier, catching these fish is something a family can do together quite easily – it really is a lot of fun.”

Threadfin salmon is the focus of not one but two hotly anticipated Broome fishing tournaments, with the other being the annual ‘Thready Shootout’ run by the  Broome Fishing Club.

This speaks volumes about the abundance of  threadfin salmon in this amazing fishery, which attracts fishers from across the globe to the Kimberley coastal town to get among the quality sportfishing.

Roebuck reborn

Threadies are hard-fighting fish, especially on light gear! Credit: Makaira Sportfishing Charters

With barramundi and northern mulloway among the high-profile species in the mix in the fishery as well – it’s easy to see why the local community prizes this northern jewel so highly. But it hasn’t always been this good – in fact just a few years ago, many local fishers despaired at how hard it was to catch ‘threadies’ in the bay.

In 2013, fishery management changes were introduced in Roebuck Bay that proved to be a gamechanger.

The area’s two commercial fishing licences, covering about 100km of coastline from Roebuck Bay south to Eighty Mile Beach, were purchased through the Kimberly Science and Development Strategy.

The previous fishery management regime did not allow stocks to grow to a size that underpins today’s exceptional fishing experience for the community. Broome’s recfishers and Recfishwest were confident the licence buy-back would revitalise Roebuck’s threadfin stocks, while also boosting recfishing opportunity for locals and tourists.

And we have been delighted to have been proven right!

Don’t take our word for it though, watch this video!

Without a commercial operator targeting Roebuck’s threadfin salmon, the thready population has been able to rebuild and the fish grow to trophy size with recfishers now making the most of the quality fishing.

So-much-so, it is producing record-breaking fish with Recfishwest member Ben Little landing a record 3.45kg threadfin salmon on fly on 3kg tippet in Roebuck Bay in 2018.

Recfishwest member Ben Little with his 3.45kg record-breaking thready caught on fly!

Great fishing experiences like this underpin memorable fishing trips which is why recfishers spend $1.8 billion every year on fishing trips helping to sustain local businesses.

Operating out of Broome, Makaira Sportfishing Charters owner Jourdain “Jeda” Ellens said Roebuck Bay’s threadfin salmon fishery was “simply world-class”, with many of his clients buzzing about the quality fishing.

“Most of the threadies we’ve caught lately have consistently been big, measuring 90cm to 1m, which is amazing,” he said.

“The threadies provide an opportunity for all fishers, even young kids, to catch big fish that’ll pull really hard on the light gear.

“Over the past few years, Roebuck Bay has absolutely become a terrific thready fishery – it truly is special.”

Threading the recfishing community closer together

Read more about Recfishwest’s RFIF-backed thready tagging project at Roebuck Bay with the Yawuru traditional owners here.

Makaira Sportfishing Charters owner Jourdain “Jeda” Ellens loves chasing threadies in Roebuck Bay.

Read more about the changes which revitalised Roebuck Bay’s threadfin salmon stocks here.

The Roebuck Bay example illustrates how positive fishing management decisions can lead to great outcomes.

Small boats are now regularly getting among the quality sportfish, which are also an excellent table fish, within the bay.

Recfishwest is committed to creating and promoting wonderful fishing experiences across WA, just like what is on offer at Roebuck Bay.

Abundant fish stocks are more likely to underpin better fishing experiences, because as we all know fishing is better when the fish are biting and the Roebuck story is a great example of the value that can bring to a local community.

We hope fishers get stuck into plenty of fish during BFC’s next Thready Shootout and the BNFC’s upcoming thready competition – who knows, maybe that thready world-record will get knocked over again!

Recfishwest Chief Executive Dr Andrew Rowland with a nice Roebuck Bay thready! Credit: WellStrategic