20 Years of Getting Kids Hooked!

For 20 years now, Recfishwest in partnership with Healthway, promoting the SunSmart message, has delivered fishing clinics to kids and community groups across WA.

2019 Exmouth GAMEX fishing clinic

The success of our fishing clinics is due in most part to our dedicated and passionate volunteer clinic instructors, many of whom have been part of the Recfishwest team from the beginning. They generously share their expertise, knowledge and experience with WA’s next generation of fishers.

Everyone participating in our fishing clinics and other community events is taught information on the roles and responsibilities of Recfishwest and the need to adopt more appropriate SunSmart behaviour.  The clinics address many aspects of fishing including basic fishing skills, the use of appropriate equipment, the reasons behind fishing rules, correct fish handling techniques, catch care and fishing safety.

‘Me No Fry’ – ‘Addicted to Fishing’, ‘Not Drugs – Fish for the Future’ – ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide, Seek’; are just some of the core messages associated with Recfishwest fishing clinics over the years and we have come a long way since 1998 when we first teamed up with Healthway to introduce youth and families all over WA to recreational fishing.

Brianne James from Healthway, Hon Dave Kelly BA MLA, Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland and Jeremy Maher from City of Bayswater

With this year marking the 20th year, we are proud to say we have conducted over 1100 clinics and almost 40,000 attendees have been introduced to recreational fishing.

That’s almost 5 clinics a month, every month for 20 years!!!

We are grateful to Healthway (SunSmart) for their ongoing support, as well to our other partners.

A quick look back at how the clinics have evolved over the years;

2001 Karratha fishing clinic
  • Nov 1998 Signed up for sponsorship with partner Healthway (Me-no-fry, for Cancer Council). Continued every year since then and progressed to ‘SunSmart’ as main message.
  • 1999: Installation of sunscreen stations at boat ramps all over WA to increase awareness of being SunSmart.
  • 2004 – 2008: Additional funding from the Federal Government under the Commonwealth Community Grants Scheme for Recfishwest’s ‘Addicted to Fishing Not Drugs’ initiative enhanced the Healthway fishing clinics program
  • 2006 Having already been Healthway awards finalist twice; in 2006 Recfishwest were recognised for “Sponsorship projects showing Innovation and Community Participation” and WON the national award for “Best project encouraging fishing participation by children and women”
  • 2007 The fishing clinic program was selected as a finalist in the 2007 Community Services Industry Awards in the category 7 – Strengthening Rural and Remote Communities.
  • 2008 Recfishwest was a finalist in the 2008 Recfish Australia Awards under the “Best Project Encouraging Participation of Women and Children in fishing”.
  • From 2006 onwards – a significant number of advance bookings through the coming partnership period and many schools booking multiple classes and utilising the clinics each year. In addition, many teachers have reported that they have heard about how successful the clinics are from teachers at other schools, indicating a high degree of positive word of mouth within the education system towards the program.

    Casey McLaren at the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre fishing clinic on 16 February 2019
  • 2007 – We held our first “Pink” Fly fishing Clinic in November 2007, an initiative which studies in the United States were shown to be highly beneficial for women recovering from breast cancer. This first session was a huge success and saw eleven ladies try their hand at fly fishing. Two subsequent “Pink” Fly fishing Clinics were held during 2008/2009 and annually sine. Then in 2014 became “Purple” Fly Fishing, to better align with the Breast Cancer Care WA colours.
  • 2010 – 2014 – Recfishwest secured a partnership with Woodside Energy Ltd in early 2010 to meet the high travel costs of running clinics in the north-west. The Northern Community Fishing Clinics program was well received between the years 2010 to 2014.  Recfishwest’s eye-catching fishing clinic trailer had a very distinguishable SunSmart theme and was exposed to thousands of people both through clinics and travelling between locations
  • 2015 – New educational book developed in 2015 – ‘Become a Recfishwest Fisher Kid’ distributed to 1000 participants
  • 2017 – Stretched budget to limit and had to approach new way of delivering clinics under a cost recovery scheme so as not to disappoint the increasing number of groups applying for clinic sessions
  • 2018Welcomed Getaway Outdoors as a program sponsor. Less than two months into our 2018/2019 partnership period and the program is already fully allocated to clinic bookings until July 2019!!!
  • 2019 – Welcomed Hooked Gear as a program partner in April.

We’re looking forward to another successful partnership year with Healthway from July 2019 to June 2020.

 

“Fishing is the lifeblood of our culture and giving kids and families access to fishing experiences is something we really value at Recfishwest. There would have been kids who we taught early in the fishing clinics program who are now having their own kids; and that’s where the legacy and knowledge is passed on.’’ Recfishwest CEO – Andrew Rowland.

 

‘’I would particularly like to acknowledge the efforts of Kim Burton, Craig Bibra, Ian Sewell, Alan Guthrie, Adam Vegvary, Paul Willis, Kevin Murphy, Bec Griffiths and Greg Harrison our passionate volunteer instructors who have dedicated their time to help grow the program and get families out fishing.’’ Recfishwest CEO – Andrew Rowland.

 

If you are interested in finding out more about the Recfishwest fishing clinics explore our website to find the dates of upcoming events.

Ocean Reef senior highschool at a Rottnest 2019 fishing clinic

Recfishwest Celebrate Gone Fishing Day

November 2016

The first National Gone Fishing Day was held on October 16 across Australia. Fishers united to wet a line on the day that was all for celebrating fishing in our community and teaching the next generation of fisher-kids.

Recfishwest participated in Gone Fishing Day by running a free family event on the South Perth foreshore. Hundreds of people attended the day and left feeling more confident in their fishing ability. Recfishwest aimed to encourage parents to get involved in their child’s fishing and together practice some of the vital basic fishing skills needed to wet a line over the summer months, and hopefully forever.

SunSmart fishing clinics were run all day for the kids to learn casting, fish handling skills and catch care.
It was a fantastic sight to see the banks of the river filled with energetic kids keen to learn the basics with mum and dad on hand, all with the Perth skyline just a stone’s throw away.

Other highlights of the day included:
The Crab Run: Kids and parents had the opportunity to learn a bit about fishing for blue swimmer crabs, the most popular recreational species caught every year in WA. Equipped with a crab scoop and a crab gauge, families quickly set out on the crab run to scoop up their bag limit of size crab cut outs as fast as they could, ensuring they stayed within the rules they had just learnt. Kids had a great time using crab scoops and learning some fun facts about such an iconic WA species.

The Dry Casting: This was a massive hit with the kids, mastering perfect casting techniques. Once they had mastered their casting techniques they were given the chance to use these skills to try and hit casting targets for prizes. Longtime Recfishwest supporter John Curtis and the guys from the Fremantle Fishing Club were on hand as casting experts, to teach the kids all they needed to know to master the art of casting.

The Mystery Ice Slurry: This activity was the show stopper of the day. Many of the kids at the event had never handled a real fish before and their reactions were priceless as they reached into the mystery ice slurry and pulled out a range of fish species. With the assistance of Recfishwest staff and the Recfishwest Smartphone App, kids identified and measured species, such as Black Bream, Herring, Tailor, Prawns, Blue-lined Emperor and even Mussels.

Recfishwest would like to thank all the volunteers that gave up their Sunday to help. Thank you to our community sponsors, Getaway Outdoors who helped on the day, provided the kids with plenty of prizes and giveaways. A big thank you also to Bluewater Tackle for their support for the event with kids prizes.

Our partners at Healthway threw their support behind the event providing sunscreen stations, hats and water bottles for the kids as prizes and giveaways and we were thrilled by the number of SunSmart fishers participating on the day.

The guys and girls from ‘Outdoors October’ also came down to show their support with plenty of happy snaps being taken for their annual October campaign – which highlights and promotes the West Australian community getting out and about in the great outdoors.

A shout out to Fishability team who also came down to help out, accompanied by their custom built Fishing Clinic trailer, on display for all of South Perth to see.
And thanks to all the volunteers who came out on their Sunday morning to lend a hand to help the families of Perth enjoy what could become their new favourite family activity.
Gone Fishing Day is set to become an annual event and Recfishwest is looking forward to expanding its profile across WA with more regional events.