The Geraldton and Districts Fishing club’s season is still running — virtually. Treasurer and 2019 fishing champion Keith Moncrieff said even with the facility the club shared with the Geraldton Yacht Club closed, members were able to weigh fish themselves using scales issued by the club, and send photos to accumulate points. While fishing is still permitted by the WA Government, the club has cancelled all meetings, along with all other sports clubs, but says members who follow social-distancing guidelines can still compete. “We’re doing everything through email and phone at the moment,” Mr Moncrieff said. “We’re just not having any weigh-ins. We’re still allowed to go fishing at this stage and we’ll continue to fish until we can’t.” He said it was important members followed all the rules. “We’re not encouraging anyone to break the law. “As long as you’re practising social distancing and you’re following the rules, if you can get out with minimal contact around anyone and still get out for a fish and come home, you record your points.” He said the club began issuing members with scales and weigh bags last year, mostly to avoid bycatch (unwanted fish). “It promotes a lot of catch and release,” he said. “You can do that (self-weigh) all year round anyway, but usually at our monthly comp meets you have to present your fish.” While some people have live tanks in their boats, many weigh the fish at sea and release them after taking a photo, he said. “They do it out in the boat and release them as quickly as possible, so they’ve got the highest chance of survival possible. “I didn’t like seeing bycatch come in to be weighed if you’re not going to use it.” He said allowing people to weigh fish at sea was helping the club attract new members. “It’s opened up a lot more people to fish,” he said. “If you go to the islands for two days or overnight, you can’t bring back two days worth of fish to weigh in the competition. You can only bring two days’ catch back as fillets, which is ineligible. “So it allows people to go over and do an overnighter, and if they get a nice fish, they can submit it.” Other members are now able to take part in the competitions with fish caught further out to sea, he said. “People with boats go over to the islands and weigh the fish. “Before, they weren’t weighing, they were just in the club.” He said allowing members to weight their own fish posed potential challenges. “It’s an honour system,” he said. “You can cheat at anything, you’ve got to trust your members.” The Premier’s Office is urging West Aussies to practise common sense, cease non-essential activity and encouraging recreational fishers to stay home for now.