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

400 more hooked on fishing

Family Fishing Fundays…

Kim Burton and Alan Guthrie, two of our dedicated volunteer fishing clinic instructors, spent the April school holidays delivering free fishing clinics to Midwest coastal communities. They visited Kalbarri, Geraldton, Port Denison, Leeman and Jurien Bay in the kindly donated Toyota Hilux from Rockingham Toyotaways, with the Recfishwest trailer full of fishing gear in tow.

The tour kicked off in Kalbarri at the estuary jetty near the Memorial St Boat ramp. Kim and Alan had their work cut out for them as over 40 participants registered to fish and the trailer only holds 34 rods!! Luckily there were no unhappy fishers as many of the kids had bought their own rigs along.

With hats and sunscreen on, everyone couldn’t wait to get started. Locals and visitors alike, everyone with a line in the water caught a fish. Representatives from almost every corner of WA were in Kalbarri; local Kalbarri residents represented about a quarter of attendees so were well outnumbered by holiday maker families from Perth suburbs such as Ellenbrook, Fremantle, Chidlow, Kalamunda, Thornlie and Willetton, to other regional areas of Australind, Broome, Geraldton, Moora and Narajin.

As with many of our clinics which aim to introduce children and families to the best practice recreational fishing in WA, many of the young participants during the tour caught their first fish. Murchison River mouth had more than enough hungry fish on the bite. Species caught ranged from tailor and whiting to black and silver bream, moses perch, estuary cod and painted sweetlip.

Visitor Centres in Kalbarri, Geraldton, Dongara and Turquoise Coast at Jurien Bay had all the information about the ‘Who? When? and Where?’ of Midwest fishing clinic sessions and Leeman Community Resource Centre (CRC) was our fabulous partner and registration contact for the Leeman and Greenhead area.

So many species of fish were caught (and released) across the eight clinics. There was of course a few blowies in every group, but there were also whiting, flounder, flathead, skippy , king wrasse, butterfish, herring, squid, white spot rabbitfish and even a suckerfish that left it’s big black ray to take one very happy fisher kid’s line in Leeman.

Over 400 people attended these eight clinics, made up of families from every Midwest town we visited and school holiday-makers from across the state and country. Almost all our fishing clinic sessions were fully booked days ahead of our arrival. The many generous local business owners, local community groups and district shires all helped this tour become a success and have done so every year we run it.

Overall this Recfishwest SunSmart Midwest tour was a fabulous success and everyone who attended or helped thoroughly enjoyed their experience. Thank you to all the families and participants as well as our supporters in every location. A huge THANK YOU to Healthway our main sponsor, Getaway Outdoors and a massive THANK YOU to Rockingham Toyotaways for the loan of the car for the entire trip.

Recfishwest are planning another Fishing Clinic Midwest tour in April 2020. If you would like to support us to help make these a continued success and deliver the message of sustainable and accessible fishing, contact us today!

 

Click here for more information about SunSmart.

For more information about Healthway, please click here.