Tackle Shop Talk – Jeni Gates, Exmouth Tackle World

Restrictions are easing, winter is settling in and our tackle stores are open and waiting for you to pay them a visit. Tackle stores play an essential role in our fishing community and the knowledge of the owner and local staff is invaluable.

Recently we’ve been chatting with various tackle store owners across the State to get to know them better on a personal level and help promote their business in order to reboot the recfishing industry post-COVID-19. This week we spoke to Jeni Gates from Tackle World in Exmouth.

RFW: How and when did you get involved with your tackle store? 

I have had a passion for fishing since I was three years old. I had worked in a wide range of jobs. I moved to Exmouth and began working for Tackle World Exmouth in 2003 with my partner Matthew, who was also employed there. We purchased the store together from Hal and Liza Harvey in 2006.

Jeni, centre, flanked by Kalvin and Dean, with a beaut golden trevally caught in Exmouth.

RFW: What do you enjoy about working in the business? 

You are almost always dealing with people who are on holidays or going to do something fun and exciting, so the vibe is positive. 

RFW: What makes your customers keep coming back for more? 

We receive many reports from customers about our passionate staff and their great local advice. Plus, we have a great selection of gear that is suitable, tested and works well.  

RFW: What’s a hot tackle item in your store at the moment? 

Stickbaits that match hardyheads, the local bait here. 

RFW: What must every good fisher’s tackle box include and why? 

A few squid jigs. Squid can pop up anywhere and it’s hard to catch them on anything else! They are super tasty and the heads make good bait. 

RFW: What was the fish or fishing experience that got you hooked on fishing? 

It started by fishing with my grandmother from the age of three and then rock fishing in NSW in my early 20s. But the real clincher was my first day game fishing in Broome, with skipper Ross Newton, in 1997. 

RFW: If you were Fisheries Minister for a day and you could change one thing, what would it be?

Jeni has a passion for gamefishing and billfish!!

If I could do anything? Wow, give me top authority to do more than just one thing? I’d start with rotating sanctuary zones, and implementing wilderness zones for the future. I’d also encourage and spend more on education regarding using the whole fish and not wasting good food in fish bins. This could include measures to ensure that all edible parts of the fish/seafood caught are to be kept. 

RFW: What’s your favourite fishing destination in WA and why? 

Without being too biased, I would have to say Exmouth because I love the fact you have so many options from bread-and-butter fish from the shore, to bonefish on the flats and billfish in waters close to shore. There are even barra up the creeks, but shhhh, don’t write that! Not to mention clear waters to free-dive and target five species of rock lobster, red emperor and so much more. There’s not much you can’t do here.