American fishing sensation Darcie Arahill helped promote conservation values at a major Queensland fishing event.
American fishing sensation Darcie Arahill helped promote conservation values at a major Queensland fishing event.

Darcie shares 'cool' fishing message

GLOBAL fishing personality Darcizzle "Darcie'' Arahill is doing excellent work promoting conservation in the United States.

However, she enjoyed a first-time role spreading the word about innovative practices being adopted in Queensland through the annual Rocky Barra Bounty.

During a live link to her in Florida, Darcie shared why she was happy to be an honorary competitor in the Fitzroy River competition while fishing at the same time in another event in the US.

"It's definitely something new for me. I think it's super cool,'' she said.

"I think it's something that we should actually do here in the United States.

"Conservation is a really cool benefit of the tournament. It's really cool that you don't have to kill any fish.''

While she fished for species like snook in the US, she was promoting the Rockhampton-based event through her extensive network of more than two million regular followers.

"I just think that if we were to do the same procedures in the tournament here (US), that would benefit us greatly,'' she said.

The Rocky Barra Bounty is an event where competitors photograph, tag and release their catches.

Knowing that barramundi were a major target in the Queensland competition excited her. She hopes to fish next year's Rocky Barra Bounty competition when she comes to Australia for the first time.

"I've heard that they (barra) are like another fish called snook, which is our species over here,'' Darcie said.

"They fight really hard I've heard, and they are such a gorgeous fish and they are really really prevalent over there. They are there in large numbers.''

Although in the US, Darcie won a section of this year's Rocky Barra Bounty - as leading competitor for "most metres of other species".

She totalled 4620 from her nine fish caught in Florida waters.

The full-time angler has more than 80,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, along with a massive social media presence. She regularly fishes in major tournaments, along with providing videos.

Having such a high-profile female angler involved with the competition was a coup for event organisers.

She focuses on looking after fish, something she promotes heavily.

"I'd say about 90 per cent of the fish we catch, we release back,'' she said.

"We are really big on that. We like to hold the fish the proper way.

"We like to make sure that they are healthy. Make sure we revive them properly. Send them back into the water and it's just a great thing because you want future generations to enjoy the fishery too.''

Rocky Barra Bounty official Stefan Sawynok was delighted with the message Darcie promoted through her vast international digital network.

"The thing that surprised me actually about involving Darcie in this has been that she has got that part absolutely right,'' Sawynok said.

He said although US catch and release practices in the saltwater is getting bigger "it's nowhere near as big as it is in Australia''.

"So to find somebody who was really behind it, who has a big profile and was really keen to work with us, has been absolutely amazing,'' Sawynok said.

Sawynok said barramundi in Queensland waters would offer a new challenge for overseas anglers prepared to target them.

"Barra are quite a bit different in terms of the technique side of things for them (Americans),'' he said.

"Even though they catch snook - which are very very similar in their biology and very similar size in growth rates - when it comes to barra, the tactics are quite different.''

Meanwhile Florida-based Darcie is eager to fish Rockhampton's barra bounty in October next year.

"One of my fishing bucket lists is Australia so I'd love to go there,'' she said, encouraging women and children to enjoy the great outdoors lifestyle fishing offers.

"I just like to show women and just people of all ages it's okay to fish and it's okay to get your hands dirty. And get outside and don't be in front of the TV and in front of your computer all day long.

"Enjoy your life.''

David Lems was a guest of Tourism and Events Queensland at the annual Rocky Barra Bounty.

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