The Accenture Mackerel 5000 held in Dampier by the Nickol Bay Sportsfishing Club in mid-October needs to take a bow, it just produced some of the most jaw-droppingly big Spanish mackerel ever seen in a West Aussie fishing comp!
Recfishwest’s Fishing for Science team ventured up to the sun-kissed Pilbara town for the competition on October 15, backed with the support of Woodside North West to collect more Spanish mackerel samples to be used by DPIRD to inform the future Pilbara’s Spanish mackerel stock assessment.
It resulted in a mighty 65 narrow-barred Spanish mackerel heads being kindly donated by many of the 153 competitors in what was one of the most red-hot mackie sessions witnessed in WA, which ultimately set a new Fishing for Science PB for the most mackerel samples collected in one day.
In a great show of support from the Dampier community, more than 80 per cent of Spanish mackerel brought to the competition’s weigh-in were happily handed over for sampling.
The samples collected included the gonads and ovaries for a sexual maturity analysis and the removal of the fish’s heads to collect otoliths for aging purposes back in Perth. In addition to this, our Fishing for Science team recorded the length and weight of each fish.
The data collected during this competition will be vital to inform the current Pilbara mackerel stock assessment being put together by DPIRD.
While the biggest Spanish mackerel donated topped out at just over the impressive 30-kilogram mark, it was another gargantuan monster of a Spanish mackerel that nearly joined the audience’s jaws on the floor from the scales.
The 34.4kg beast landed by Casey Roskell scored him a big cheer from the crowd and $5,000 as the biggest specimen landed during the one-day-long competition, which maxed out the first scale brought out by the King Bay Game Fishing Club before a heavier scale was required!
“We were quite stunned at not only the sheer number of Spanish mackerel being caught and kindly donated to our team, but also some of the sizes of the fish as well. They were easily some of the biggest Spanish mackerel we’ve seen in recent memory,” said Recfishwest’s Senior Operations Officer Sam Russell.
“It just highlights how productive the pristine Pilbara waters are along with the importance of fishing competitions to regional communities like Dampier. We had a great yarn with all attendees and the competitors made a great contribution to our Fishing for Science program, 65 mackies in one day is now the number to beat! I’d also like to give a massive shout out to the Nickol Bay Sportsfishing for running an amazing comp and being so accommodating for our Fishing for Science program.”
In a partnership between Recfishwest and Woodside North West, this new event on the Pilbara fishing calendar is expected to grow over the next three years, based on the enthusiastic response to the Accenture Mackerel 5000 competition with the 50-boat capacity rapidly filling up.
Recfishwest also had the pleasure to have a friendly yarn with key stakeholders in the Pilbara region, including the Nickol Bay Sportfishing Club, King Bay Game Fishing Club and Karratha Adventure Sports, with valuable insights on addressing issues such as shark bite-off and how recreational fishing can be improved in the area.