By Craig Edmonds of Jim’s Bait and Tackle, San Remo

WE had a bit of a blast of winter this week with some very cool mornings, but we also had some of those cold but perfect conditions for fishing days as well.
It can be a great tie of the year for fishing and yes, it is cold and yes, we do get some very ordinary weather, but we also get those days that start off cool, the wind drops, the sun comes out and it turns into a perfect afternoon for sitting on the jetty and beach or taking the boat for a run.
If you are fishing this time of the year, have a plan and don’t try to do too much.
Your window of opportunity is generally between 10am and 3pm and either side of this can be quite cold.
Check the tides and target a species, it’s difficult for those on the land, but for those in the boats it’s the best way to maximize your chances.
On the land, especially the jetties and beaches this time of the year you will see schools of salmon swimming past and the best way to improve your chances of catching multiple fish is have a rod set up with a lure ready to go.
It’s also a good way to keep warm while you are sitting there waiting for a bite on your baited rods or squid jigs.
Something I hear of often which is easily forgotten, is if you are going to cast a lure around to keep moving and don’t forget the rod you have in the water, loosen the drag on your reel as this will save you watching it disappeared into the water courtesy of a big ray.
It has been a bit quiet over the last couple of months for the squid, but it turned around a little bit this week and we had more reports than we have had for a while.
The reports came both from land and boating customers, with some of them the quality you would expect for this time of the year.
The early mornings were the best on the San Remo jetty with a bit of a mixed bag during the week, but when regular squid fishermen tell you they had to walk it to the beach it generally tells you it is a quality size one.
It was a mixture of baited and artificial jigs and nothing changes with picking the right colour, it’s only a guess.
We have been getting more and more reports of calamari being caught from the jetty at Corinella, not the big ones we get from San Remo but quality baits or a meal size.
Reports have also come from that area, especially from kayak customers and the odd report from the boats.
Most fishing in Cleeland Bight this week were chasing whiting, but the smart ones had a jig hanging over the side and managed to bring a few calamari home.
Those who went to target calamari came back with mixed reports, with those fishing closer to the entrance much more successful, even on the San Remo side.
Tortoise Head, Reef Island and Cowes jetty were the other places that we had reports from.
Salmon reports have been steady and not a lot changes, Woolamai generally have the cleaner beaches and more numbers but smaller fish, while Kilcunda can have a lot of weed but perseverance can pay off with bigger fish.
This of course isn’t the case all the time and we do see some very good size salmon come from Woolamai between the smaller ones.
That was the case this week with the best coming from Woolamai and weighing just under 1.8kg caught on a silver and blue lure.
We had several reports from the other island beaches around Smiths Beach of salmon around 600g.
San Remo, Cowes and Newhaven jetties also produced salmon but with no real pattern to tides or time of the day which can be typical of salmon, you just need to be there when they are going past.
Whiting were ok this week but plenty of time and effort was needed, with most reporting only catching one or two for each time they stopped.
One customer said he fished in three or four different spots around Reef Island one afternoon for his whiting and only managed five, but with each one over 40cm and extremely healthy he was very happy with his afternoon’s catch.
The couta have thinned out a bit more and most of the small ones have gone with the ones reported this week a decent size, but not that many of them.
There are plenty of customers very happy with the couta thinning out, as they can now get back to their favourite whiting spots in Cleeland Bight.
The whiting caught in Cleeland Bight this week were a bit smaller than those caught in the top end of the bay with numbers much the same.