Fishability is a not-for-profit association on a mission to break down the barriers between people with disabilities and recreational fishing.
Their team of volunteers run sessions at accessible locations around Perth (onboard a vessel or a jetty), where people with disabilities can learn new skills with the help of motorised equipment, create lifelong friendships, and spend some all-important time in the outdoors.
Woodman Point Regional Park is a fishing spot of choice for the team at Fishability, which just happens to be our Every Kid in a Park, Park of the Month for May 2022! As part of this project, we were lucky enough to chat to Fishability’s Executive Officer, Mike McMullan, and pick his brain about all things fishing, and fishing for all, at Woodman Point.
Hi, Mike! What makes Woodman Point a great fishing spot?
Hello! Well, when we go to Woodman Point, we go to the Ammo Jetty. It’s quite accessible and a great fishing spot. It’s a really lovely area.
We usually catch a good variety of fish. We always catch blowies, but also anything from herring, whiting, silver bream – things like that. You know, one day you might be lucky and catch a salmon at the right time of the year!
Is the Ammo Jetty a good fishing spot for beginners? Any tips for families who might be fishing for the first time?
It is a good spot for beginners. It’s safe, relatively sheltered, there’s plenty of room, and there’s all sorts of fish to catch.
Any tips… Not really, just have a go. Make sure you take the right type of gear down. So, at Woodman Point, you’d take your lighter gear – you’d get by with that. Take your bait, your rod, your chair, a nice drink and dress for the weather. Always take a hat! Enjoy the experience and don’t worry whether you catch something or not.
What services do Fishability provide for people with disabilities?
We provide a pretty complete package. Anyone who wants to come fishing with us just needs to make a booking and arrive. We’ll supply the specialised fishing gear, the bait, the chairs – pretty much everything you might need. And our sessions are totally free.
All of our locations are wheelchair accessible. We have boats at the Royal Perth Yacht club, and in Mandurah, which are also wheelchair accessible. We supply a full range of safety gear as well, whether they be floatation devices or life jackets, for people who might need them.
We just ask that family members or carers come down with the participant so that our volunteers can focus on their fishing requirements, while the family members or carers look after the rest of their requirements.
Who is Fishability for?
We cater for everyone – from school-aged kids with disabilities through to seniors who need assistance with fishing. All our volunteers have Working with Children Checks.
Do Fishability programs run throughout the entire year?
Our program for the second half of the year will be out soon. We have a little bit of a break in winter, then we’ll be starting back at the end of August. We run programs until pretty close to Christmas, then we have a break and start again.
(This link will open in a new window and allow you to discover Fishability programs in your area once you’ve select your closest location).
How long have you been with Fishability? Are there any special memories that stand out to you?
I’ve been with Fishability in various roles since about two-thousand-and… I don’t know, a long time! Thirteen years, maybe more.
The whole experience has been a good memory. You know, it’s just fantastic when people catch a fish – especially when they catch their first fish. Just the look of amazement on their faces, you know? It really makes it for our volunteers.
Nature Play WA would like to thank Executive Officer Mike McMullan and Fishability for taking the time to chat with us and share some information about their incredible services. At the time of writing, Fishability’s next Woodman Point session is on Thursday the 9th of June, 2022. This link will take you to Fishability’s website, where you can find out more about the organisation and book your spot in a program.