Aussie anglers smash records

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THE Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) has released the results of the nation’s biggest event on the fishing calendar, Gone Fishing Day 2020 - leaving the peak body stunned by its success.

Event coordinator and ARFF’s project manager Adam Martin said the level of engagement among Aussie anglers broke all expectations from previous years and that by introducing an app for the event, it provided a platform for more recreational fishers to get involved.

“So, basically we went digital! It was simply unbelievable watching the number of anglers submitting their catch in real-time and the app’s heat map lighting up like a Christmas tree,” said Martin.

ABOVE: "Family Fishing Heroes Winner" Lyndon Jarman headed to the Georges River near Sydney, NSW with the kids to celebrate Gone Fishing Day 2020.

450,000 people were reached on social media and over 1000 locations around Australia participated on October 18, to help celebrate recreational fishing as one of the nation’s most popular pastimes.

ARFF’s spokesperson John Burgess said the organisation also created innovate ways to capture a wider audience by introducing new categories such as one for Victorians; inviting them to submit pictures of past fishing adventures prior to the state’s tight Covid-19 restrictions.

“We also shined the light on the current health of Australia’s waterways by working with one of our members OzFish Unlimited, whose core mission is to protect and restore fish habitat, so we encouraged people to send an image of their favourite fishing spot or waterway they believe needs help to remain vibrant for fish and other aquatic species,"said Burgess.

“This year we also noticed a huge spike in the number of families taking part, along with the occasional fisher - which confirms the reality that Aussies love going fishing and participating in an activity that improves a person’s overall health and wellbeing,” he said.

Burgess said more than 200 prizes were awarded to participants thanks to the support of Shimano Australia and that plans were already underway to attract more recreational fishers and partners for Gone Fishing Day 2021.

“In the meantime, ARFF and our member organisations will continue to represent the needs and aspirations of recreational fishers to build our sport and improve the fishing experience for millions of Aussies,” Burgess said.

ABOVE: "Local Waterways Happy Place Winner" was awarded to Simon Van Ginneken for this picture taken on one of the many family-friendly jetties along the Hopkins River near Warrnambool, Victoria.

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