Our fishing community is made up of many dedicated, passionate and knowledgeable people – take tackle stores, for example. The local knowledge and expertise to be had from your local tackle store staff is often worth more than the gear you buy giving you the know-how and the best chance to land a fish or two. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been focusing on these unsung heroes and encouraging fishers to buy local. This week we spoke to Bernice Gillam, from Augusta X-treme Outdoor Sports and Camping, who spends a considerable amount of time making fishing better and safer in WA. Next time you’re in the area, be sure to pop in and say hello.
RFW: How and when did you get involved with your tackle store?
BG: Our family came to Augusta for a holiday in 2010 and had a wonderful time fishing and exploring. We thought it would be a lovely place to live but there were no jobs going here. So home we went. Then one day I was surfing the net and found the tackle shop was for sale. So off to the bank we went and five months later, in March, 2012, we owned Augusta Xtreme Outdoor Sports.
RFW: What do you enjoy about working in the business?
BG: I love it when you get a new customer who has never fished before and set them up with the fishing gear they need and off they go. Then they come back the next day full of enthusiasm and pride, having caught a fish.
RFW: What makes your customers keep coming back for more?
BG: We only sell small bags of bait! Ha ha! Hopefully it’s our good local knowledge and wonderful smiles and customer service and cheap prices. We have a great range of gear for such a little shop.
RFW: What’s a hot tackle item in your store at the moment?
BG: Fishing rods of any shape, size or colour. They are just walking out the door as everyone is wanting to learn how to fish.
RFW: If you were Fisheries Minister for a day and you could change one thing, what would it be?
BG: I would regulate to prevent commercial fishing of resources within five nautical miles of the coast. Commercial vessels are quite capable of fishing areas outside the ability of most recreational fishers, however frequently bomb cray pots and nets in the areas recreational fishers are restricted to and quite often over the top of recreational gear or in a manner that makes it difficult to fish an area.
RFW: What’s your favourite fishing destination in WA and why?
BG: Augusta, Albany and Esperance are my favourite places to fish only because I have never been anywhere else.