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

AGAIN, from both Melanie and myself, a big thank you to everyone that took part in and helped make the Easter fishing competition a success. Thanks also to all the people that dropped into the shop during the week giving us some very positive feedback. We are working on next year’s event and hope to make it even bigger and better. The weather for the school holidays couldn’t have been any better if we were able to order it. There was plenty of sun and for most of it the winds were down, which meant plenty of people out fishing. The problem was a lot of people didn’t add up to a lot of fish, but it was still an improvement on the last months reports. There was a good mix of land based and boating reports with plenty of kids fishing from the jetties.
Boating, and because these school holidays are usually one for mum and the kids and with a lot of the dads back at work, most of the boating reports were from the weekend. There was the odd boat out during the week but they were mostly locals and only a few visitors. It is normally when the visitors come down to fish that we get some good reports. The reason for this is they generally have no idea where to go and will actually try spots not normally fished, most just call it luck. Unfortunately, too many get set in their way and won’t change and I am still surprised with the number of customers that come in and tell me they have fished the same spot for years and don’t try anywhere else. The same people are also complaining that they have caught very few fish over the last couple of months.
Every week we get plenty of feedback about our fishing reports, which we appreciate as it lets us know that we are writing something people are interested in. While most of the feedback is positive there is some that isn’t so positive and questions the validity of the report. Fishing reports should be used as a guide not gospel because they are just that reports, past tense and, to the surprise of some, fish do actually swim. We get our reports from a lot of people and we make no secret of the fact for every report we get we have had several who didn’t catch a fish. If you have enough people fishing over a big enough area someone will catch a few fish, those are the reports we write about. No matter whose fishing report you are reading remember it is a past report and not a look into the future, just a guide of where to start.
Offshore, as it has for most of the season, provided the best of the boating reports this week, despite there being only a couple of chances to head out there. The flathead were good. Although they seem to have spread out a bit with the rougher weather and you almost need to prospect for them, but once you do find them getting a bag full isn’t too hard. The depth hasn’t changed though, and you will need to work between 25m and 40m.
There were a few more pinkies around offshore this week, which probably explains why they have gone a bit quiet in the bay, as they must be heading out to sea again. The best of the pinkie reports came from two areas offshore, one near the Powlett River and the other off the point of Cape Woolamai. Plenty of baitfish and arrow squid with several people complaining about the Couta already. One fish that did seem a bit slower were the gummies, and they were much smaller than you expect to catch offshore as well. We had only one report of a bigger fish, with one customer hooking something reasonably big but, because they didn’t see it, it was possible a shark. It was a calculated guess though, with a good bite size piece missing out of the middle of a whole salmon bait. If you do head out for a drift have your net ready and when it feels like a second flathead has jumped on half way up its probably an arrow squid which, if you are lucky, you can net when it comes up.
Whiting, and the reports are better and at the same time no different, it just depends if you are lucky enough to drop the anchor in the right spot. The reports are just as simple as that and tides, times and everything else hasn’t made a lot of difference. When you did find them, double figures were common to the reports and the size wasn’t bad either. There are a lot of very small fish being reported regularly now, mostly from the top end around Maggi shoal and around the Bass River. The best reports came from several spots, such as Dickies Bay, Rhyll Bank and in Cleeland Bight, but as for best time, no pattern to the reports at all. Some of the reports were using pippies, others squid and pilchard, while berley was optional and probably about half and half from the reports. While some did get good bags of whiting plenty missed out, but the best from the week were the number of people that managed at least one or two, something we haven’t seen for a long time. Here’s hoping it’s a trend that continues upward.
Calamari reports continued to come in this week and there were more very small ones than we have seen over the last couple of weeks. There were plenty of bigger ones but only the odd one over the 1kg mark. Several of the reports came from our kayak customers but some good numbers from the land and boats. On the land, San Remo jetty seemed to be the best, especially as the tide change got closer to change of light. There were also few reported from the Cowes jetty, Cleeland Bight and Ventnor. Reports were very mixed this week, with baited and artificial jigs all doing the damage and nothing standing out as being better for a certain area.