Game fishers from across the State are readying their rods, reels and lures to chase billfish and pelagics during the latest edition of WA’s premier fishing competition — GAMEX.
Exmouth’s annual game and sportfishing event, held by the Exmouth Game Fishing Club (EGFC), will again see teams of fishers descend on the Gascoyne fishing mecca to take part from 12 March to 20 March.
WATCH: Some of the amazing action from 2020 GAMEX
For Recfishwest, the 53rd GAMEX will not only showcase the world-class recreational fishing Exmouth has to offer, but will also provide a chance to collect vital data and talk serious fishing with mad-keen fishers.
Catching fish, talking science and bagging data
Recfishwest Research and Development Officer James Florisson and Operations Officer Mike Minutillo are heading north to attend this year’s GAMEX.
Alongside Recfishwest intern John Dempsey, James and Mike will be at the weigh-in each night once fishing gets underway on Sunday, 14 March, to spearhead the Fishing for Science program.
The Recfishwest research team will be collecting a range of data including length, weight, sex and condition of each fish at the filleting table next to the weigh station at the end of each day’s fishing.
Tissue samples from each fishes’ belly for future research will also be taken.
What is Fishing for Science?
Fishing for Science is a tournament monitoring and community engagement program run by Recfishwest.
The data collected through Fishing for Science at major fishing tournaments, such as GAMEX, is used to educate the fishing community about sought-after species, Mike explained.
“Fishing tournaments are an opportunity for fish data collecting and sampling,” he said.
“The data and samples collected will go towards furthering research on local prized recreational fish, as well as giving fishers even more of a sense of custodianship of the resource.
“It also encourages fishers to be even better stewards of our marine resources, while building capacity in regional communities for future citizen science programs.
“Fishing for Science, alongside communicating its research outcomes, helps promote greater stewardship of our ocean and its resources.”
Family fun fishing
While in Exmouth, the Recfishwest crew are keen to see the next generation of fishers in action at the GAMEX Family Fun Day on Sunday from 4pm to 6pm.
The kids’ fishing clinic will be held at the Exmouth Marina in front of the EGFC clubrooms, with Mike expecting hungry mangrove jack and small trevally to be among the fish caught.
“Be sure to register at the EGFC’s club rooms at 4pm – it’s going to be a great time for the youngsters who are no doubt going to be future GAMEX competitors,” Mike said.