WA’s premier fishing competition is over, with three pending State and Australian records on the cards. 12-year-old Callum Horlock, pictured with iFish presenter Paul Worsteling and Exmouth Game Fishing Club president Jeni Gates, won best junior angler.
Several pending State and Australian records have seen junior anglers mix it with older crew members among the awards at GAMEX 2016.
Twelve-year-old Callum Horlock’s 18.9kg narrow-barred mackerel on 3kg line and 6.2kg mahi mahi on 1kg line were enough for him to win champion junior angler and two category placings.
Another 12-year-old, Will Roach, took out a category win with his pending record 16.3kg narrow-barred mackerel on 8kg line.
“It was a pretty quick capture; only took about 2.5 minutes,” he said.
“This is my first pending record — I have released a few world records, but didn’t make the mistake this time.”
While the young fishers got among the awards, the most poignant moment came at the end of the presentations with the unveiling of the Phil Tickle Memorial Trophy.
The trophy, whose namesake died last year, was presented by Shelley O’Brien and left barely a dry eye in the room.
Among the teams, Eddie Lawlers’ Pelagic Hooker almost swept the team categories with three wins, and Lawler himself won the George King Memorial Trophy.
Lawler said it was “awesome” to see younger fishers among the award winners.
“They’re the guys who are going to be the future of the club and GAMEX so if we can get them keen, get them out fishing,” he said.
“The first five days were tough for sure in the smaller boats, so take your hats off to them.
“They did bloody good to put up with the weather.”
The overall champion team, however, went to the Horlock family crew on board Mystic Knot.
Skipper Richard Horlock said Callum’s pending Australian records were the highlight of the week on the water.
“We have won it before a few times, but new boat, new name and it was great — we enjoyed it immensely and just love Exmouth,” he said.
“The weather was a bit tough this week, but it was good having a great boat and being able to find the fish.”
Horlock said it was fantastic to be able to fish with the family.
JJ Stephens, one of many to make the trip up from Perth, said he would definitely be returning next year.
“This is the first time ever we’ve tried for and caught marlin so it’s something different,” he said.
Stephens was one of several anglers who joined swimmer and celebrity chef Eamon Sullivan in hooking their first billfish at GAMEX this year.
Will Roach, 12, with his pending record mackerel.
Team Mystic Knot who won champion boat overall.
JJ Stephens with his first black marlin. Picture: JJ Stephens