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

EVERY week, as I get information, I will mention some of the things that will be on at the Fishing Festival in September. One of the latest stalls to join the lineup is the local CFA. You will be able to bring your fire extinguisher along and have it checked, as well as get other safety information.
The spots for the Blessing of the Fleet are filling up quickly. There will be restricted numbers able to take part, so don’t forget to register: simply text your name, boat size and email address to 0409 018 980. Many other stalls are now being registered, and the theme is fresh and local produce. Information will be available soon for you to book your $5 seat on the Briana Lee for the Cape Cruise, to take place at the festival. There are many more things to look forward to. To keep up to date and get the latest information, ‘like’ the Fishing Festival Facebook page, www.facebook.com/srfishfest, where information will be posted regularly.
The winds were strong last week, and trying to hold bottom or even cast out was the least of your problems, just standing up was more difficult. The winds, rain and cold weather during the week have been reflected in the reports, of which we have had very few. There were a few more reports from the weekend, and, despite the weather, the odd report we did get during the week was of some quality fish. Most of those out fishing at the moment are testing new boats and gear, or are starting to collect their bait for the start of the season, which is only just around the corner. In this type of business, at this time of the year, we are just sitting and watching the calendar until the Grand Final is over, and then the season really starts. Despite the late retail start, the fishing side of things starts much earlier, and often some of the better fish, especially snapper, are caught well before the Grand Final. If you live locally and chase the bigger snappers, I won’t be telling you anything new, but some of our best reports start coming in from late August. There might not be the numbers of fish there usually are, but they are certainly much bigger.
At the moment, when the weather allows, the reports we receive are primarily made up of calamari and salmon, and with the strong winds it has been more salmon than calamari. Trying to cast a squid jig into such strong wind has been a waste of time, as it would just go sailing back over your head. Salmon fishing has been a little easier, with the strong north winds actually helping to cast on the beach. Kilcunda has been, again, the best of the beaches to catch bigger fish, but the very big swell has made it challenging, and I would probably recommend only those with the gear or the experience to fish on these big swell days, as it can be dangerous and very easy to get into trouble. If you haven’t done all that much beach fishing, I would recommend some of the quieter surf beaches, not only because it is a bit safer, but it is easier to fish. Big swell brings long waves running up onto the beach, and generally lots of seaweed and side current, all of which make it difficult. It is not impossible, but some tricks you only learn with experience.
The reports from Kilcunda produced several 2kg plus models again, and some good schools of smaller fish. Reports came from beaches all over Kilcunda last week, and I wouldn’t say any one beach was better than the other, only that the tide changes fished the best. Woolamai beaches fished alright, and smaller fish typically came through in schools, so if you were there at the right time you could catch plenty.
Calamari reports were mixed and nothing to get too excited about, but once again it had more to do with the weather making it impossible to fish. The other problem that affects squid fishing this time of the year is that the rough weather stirs up the seaweed, which is the enemy of the squid fisherman. I received many comments that the water was much too dirty, and not worth fishing for calamari in, but often the ‘dirty water’ is actually muddy fresh water, which generally sits on the top, and below is usually clear. It can take a few different methods of fishing, and weighting your jig slightly will help get it under the surface a bit more. When it comes to weighting the jig, I have seen many different ways, with some even trying to tie a sinker onto the body of the jig, which, to no surprise, doesn’t work. The most successful way we have found, from the reports, is to run a short leader before the jig, with a couple of either split shot or small barrel sinkers. Doing it that way, we are told, rather than the small sinker hanging from the loop on the front of the jig, has less of an effect on the action of the jig.