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

THE year is flying past and before you now it the talk will be about getting the boat ready and the snapper that are coming into the bay.
Before that we will no doubt have a few weeks of some very ordinary winter weather, not that you would think so at the moment.
This time of the year also sees more people fishing on the land, well rugged up but still out fishing.
Those who do take advantage of the winter fishery here know how good it can be and while the numbers are always down slightly with some species the quality is always better and the fish itself has a much better flavour to it than the summer fish.
The problem with winter is the cold water species that no-one wants and are not eatable, but that’s just something you work through.
This time of the year is also the best time to go through the tackle box and catch up on all those maintenance jobs that need doing.
While you are watching football, tie up your rigs for the season and check the rest of the tackle box for the gear you used during the season and needs replacing.
Buy yourself one of those tackle wallets with plastic pockets and some small zip lock bags and make a variety of different rigs.
I am still amazed at the amount of people, some that have fished for many years that try to make up rigs in the boat or lose them and will generally miss fish, because you never lose a rig when nothing is happening – it’s always in the middle of a good bite.
By being prepared you will also find you need to take less with you in the boat and are not tripping over a big tackle box that is taking up floor space.
Something else that can help you at the start of the season is to do have a look at your gear, work out what needs replacing and what needs repair. Rods and reels that need can be dropped into the tackle shop now which will give plenty of time to get them fixed and do your shopping now.
If you aren’t someone into having the newest of rods and reels, which accounts for most of us, then this time of the year you can take advantage of clearance items or stock reduction sales.
Unless someone has invented something no one has ever seen before, the biggest difference with the new models out for the upcoming season will be the colour and price.
If you are someone that wants to get a head start, we offer a layby over winter that you can add to at any time but best of all you can layby anything from sinkers to reels and everything in between.
This way you can spread out the cost of the gear and take advantage of specials we have. The only condition is the initial order must be over $100 in total and paid in full by the end of August.
Over winter we also do rod repairs reel servicing and re-spooling. We also offer a rig making service for all your fishing needs.
We make up rigs to order from whiting to shark rigs using quality leader and hooks, all to your specifications, re-rig lures with new hooks and all of this can be added to your layby. For bulk orders of rigs, 30 or more we throw in a free tackle wallet so all your gear is sorted and ready to go.
For bulk orders we ask that they be in by mid-August to be assured they will be ready at the start of the season.
Several people are still taking advantage of the fine weather we are having and it’s good to see reward for effort.
Some good reports this week of whiting and calamari, plenty of very small gummies, elephant fish like they used to be and even a couple of snapper.
Salmon off the beaches are plentiful when they come through but are small and couta, the tackle shop’s best friend, are in the entrance by the dozens.
As you would expect there are several draught board sharks around now with stingrays and seven gills also being reported. But before you get too excited there are plenty of customers missing out and it is a bit of luck that you stop on the right spot.
Calamari reports have come from both land and boat with some good reports amongst them this week. Those reporting a bag full were telling us that the sizes were mixed and if they managed 10 everyone was a different size. One customer, who managed a bag of 10, said he caught them on four different jigs. He would catch a couple then they would stop taking that colour, only swimming up to it then turning away before taking a different one when he tried that.
Mixed reports with baited and artificial jigs but with the fine weather the artificial was the better.
The reports this week came from every jetty, with some good catches from Rhyll and Newhaven also.
The beaches were the slowest but still a few caught and the boats were the best.
Cleeland Bight was difficult with the couta especially in the mornings so afternoon was better. There were a handful of reports from Dickies Bay and Reef Island.
With the whiting frustrating to find customers are looking in places they normally don’t fish and results have been mixed, but it has been more frustrating when you get back to the ramp and someone fishing where you normally would has a bag of good fish.
What it has done is produce some quality fish and this week those fishing between Reef Island and Coronet Bay and around Leolia Shoal have found plenty of elephant fish, quality flathead a handful of whiting and to the surprise of some, snapper up to 5kg.
Most of the gummies in the bay are very small and not too many size unless you want to travel down to the western entrance.
Offshore this week they were better than the bay but a bit smaller than normal and the best just made 8kg, the rest around 5kg.
From the reports when you find the flathead offshore you will either find lots of small ones or a handful of bigger ones.
One day there was plenty just in the entrance out to about 30m then the next they didn’t show up until 30m fishing well out to 45m. There are a lot of silver whiting in about 30m of water and you find schools of couta in all sizes.
This week is the start of our reduced hours for the winter and we will be opening a bit later on weekends and weekdays.
As we have for the last few years we will also be closed on Wednesdays, the difference this year is due to circumstances we will also be closed on Tuesdays through May.