Exmouth’s GAMEX a big success

Alicia PereraPilbara News
In Deep won overall champion boat for GAMEX 2019.
Camera IconIn Deep won overall champion boat for GAMEX 2019. Credit: Exmouth Game Fishing Club

A team of locals with years of competitive fishing behind them have taken out WA’s premiere game fishing tournament in Exmouth.

In Deep, a team of five crew members from Exmouth and Dampier, won overall champion boat at week-long fishing competition GAMEX, which ran from March 22-30.

With ex-tropical cyclone Veronica to the north causing some concern early on, numbers were slightly down this year, but the event still drew more than 160 anglers across 43 teams from as far away as Canada and South Africa.

The fishing did not disappoint, with a total of 822 billfish raised, 559 hooked and 317 tagged by the 30 teams targeting billfish.

Teams targeting species caught 66 fish from 15 species, with seven pending national or State records among them.

In Deep skipper Matt Gates said the team had gone in with a strategy and managed to surpass their own expectations.

“We set a goal for 8000 points and 14 species, which hasn’t really been done before that we’re aware of, so to get just over 8000 points and end up with 15 species was amazing,” he said.

“For a light-line fishery you’ve got to fish as hard as you can ... you really do have to work, and that’s where the anglers on-board absolutely excelled. All of the lads caught amazing fish.”

He said overall runners-up Awesum had been strong challengers throughout the competition.

In Deep’s Jake Fitzgerald also took home the Steve Pitman Trophy for most skilled angler and teammate Mick Grasso won in the gamefish on 3kg line category.

Other top individual anglers at the tournament included Matt Arscott, Anna Passmore, juniors Jesse Sutton and Reece Clifton, and small fry Tayla Raines.

Team Azura was also a stand-out, winning champion boat tag and release sailfish, tag and release billfish 7m and under, and tag and release marlin, and with skipper Eddy Lawler claiming the George King trophy for top tagging captain.

Exmouth Game Fishing Club committee member and GAMEX co-ordinator Ben Knaggs said cyclonic conditions up north had barely put a dent in the week of fishing. “In the lead-up to GAMEX we had some really good fishing, particularly for small black marlin, and that shone through in the results,” he said.

“Of the 30 boats targeting billfish, we’ve had 317 billfish tagged, which in a tournament is massive.”

Recfishwest research officer Stephanie Watts said samples collected at GAMEX would provide valuable research data.

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