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

An update on the Fishing Festival – if you aren’t lucky enough to own a boat capable of heading offshore, or just want an outing with the family, Wildlife Coast Cruises will be running a 45 minute cruise out to the cape from San Remo during the festival. This alone is worth doing, but the cost is fantastic at only $5 per head. There will only be two cruises for the day, and I expect they’ll sell out fast, so booking is essential. Head to the festival website, www.srfishfest.com.au, and scroll down to the Programme of Events section to find a link to book. There will be plenty to do at the festival for the whole family, so plan to stay the whole day and don’t forget to register your boat for the blessing ceremony.
I am looking out the window while writing this, and I can see the moored yachts off Newhaven, with the waves breaking over them with the strong winds – this is quite a contrast from yesterday, where there was barely a ripple on the water. That has been the pattern for many weeks now, and the chances of wetting a line have been slim. Saturday was the best day on a weekend for a long while, and plenty took advantage of the fine conditions. What was surprising on Saturday was the lack of people fishing on the jetties; maybe everyone was fishing on a boat with their a mate, because there were quite a few trailers in the carpark.
Perfect conditions meant that many boats were headed offshore, but some of the smaller ones got a bit of a surprise because, although there was no wind, the swell was up a little, which was uncomfortable for some. Those who stayed managed some very good catches of fish, and it was as if everyone had a whale sighting to share. The reports we received were of good numbers of flathead, nothing too big, but big enough to fillet for a feed of tails. The best of the reports came from those out looking for gummies, where several quality winter offshore ones were caught. There were the odd reports of salmon, couta and pinkies, but all were a bit harder to find.
Judging from the reports, the calamari were hiding, and most struggled to find more than a couple. Even the couta were a bit shy in the bay. This could all be due to the weather last week, and we normally find it takes a couple of days to recover. During the week, I think we saw one boat on the water, and that was only for a short time in between the wind and rain. Because we are still getting the strong north windswith a slight westerly thrown in, it opens up Cleeland Bight for a fish, if you have a kayak. Reports we got from them were of some good calamari numbers, caught across a couple of evenings. We also got a second-hand report of a quality catch, both in size and number of whiting, from near the sand hill in Cleeland Bight.