One in every three people in the Mackay region were classified as a recreational fisher in this year's Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' statewide recreational fishing survey.
One in every three people in the Mackay region were classified as a recreational fisher in this year's Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' statewide recreational fishing survey. Zizi Averill

The weekend adventure taking over the waterways

WATERWAYS in the Greater Mackay region are brimming with fishers and a new report reveals the region has the most anglers per population in the state.

One in every three people in the Mackay region was classified as a recreational fisher in this year's Department of Agriculture and Fisheries's statewide recreational fishing survey.

In the Mackay Hinterland, almost two in five people were classified as a recreational fisher. At 38.4 per cent of the population, the hinterland region had the highest fishing rate in the state.

The Mackay-Whitsunday region, as home to 50,300 fishers, was third in the state.

An estimated 34.4 per cent of the region was involved in recreational fishing.

Beating the Mackay-Whitsunday region for second place was the Far North Hinterland region, where 36.4 per cent of the population is a recreational fisher.

The fishing report found Queensland has fallen in love with fishing once again.

Over the past six years the fishing participation rate has risen by 3.6 per cent, as almost 943,000 Queenslanders have cast a line, trap or a net this year.

 

LUCKY CATCH: Genevieve Trenberth, Reese Trenberth and Manaia Trenberth enjoy fishing on the Pioneer River.
LUCKY CATCH: Genevieve Trenberth, Reese Trenberth and Manaia Trenberth enjoy fishing on the Pioneer River. Rainee Shepperson

For salesman Nathan Edwards the renewed love of the sport has resulted in more new faces popping through the doors of Tackle World, Mackay.

"There's a more diverse crowd coming through the store," Mr Edwards said.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries survey found that as it moved further north the more popular fishing became, and Mr Edwards said he knows exactly why.

"It's because we've got such a wonderful environment in North Queensland," he said.

Mr Edwards added that the greater Mackay region's many creeks and inlets offered people without a boat the chance to fish, saying "there's diversity and options for fishing".

 

David Caracciolo from Mackay Reef Fish Supplies.
David Caracciolo from Mackay Reef Fish Supplies. Emma Murray

He said there was a specific allure to Mackay fishing, with anglers more confident of getting a nibble. That was largely due to regional campaigns, such as the net-free zones.

The survey found the sport is getting younger. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said children under 14 made up nearly a quarter of all anglers.

Fishers older than 45 years had decreased from 32.1 per cent in 2013 to 29.9 per cent in 2019.

But Mr Edwards said older people were still enmeshed in the fishing culture.

 

Heath Smith with a nice flathead caught at Eimeo Creek with the rod and reel that were his 5th birthday present.
Heath Smith with a nice flathead caught at Eimeo Creek with the rod and reel that were his 5th birthday present. Contributed

"The younger people learn from somewhere," he said.

"It's passed down the family chains."

Compared to the older generations, who fished for their dinner, he said younger anglers were more interested in fishing as sport, with more catch-and-release fishers.


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