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

Just when we thought the cold weather had disappeared Sunday showed that we might still have a bit of unsettled weather to come, with the coldest September day for 20 odd years. And Saturday wasn’t much better, with plenty of rain and wind which made fishing on the weekend difficult and only for the very keen. Those who did fish on the weekend targeted calamari and salmon and the reports weren’t all that great for numbers, although we did see a couple of quality calamari.
For most, the very ordinary winter weather has meant a longer boat lay off than normal, and launching the boat for the first trip of the season is not the time to find out that the battery is flat or that the rats have been having a chew on the wiring. You might laugh and think no one would possibly turn up at the boat ramp for the first trip of the season without checking that everything is in working order, but we sell plenty of batteries early in the morning at this time of the year, and it doesn’t surprise me now when we get the comment that, “the battery was fine when I put it away after last season.”
Every year around now, I advise people in this report to spend an hour or so going over their boat before deciding to go fishing: check all your safety gear; charge up your battery; give the engine a run; check that all your electrics work; put a bit of grease in the bearings; and better still jack up each wheel and check that the bearings are ok and not noisy.
One thing that is often overlooked is the condition of the rubber seal/ O-ring on your bung plugs. They are one of the cheapest things to fix on your boat but can give you the most grief if they are leaking. And if your fuel has been sitting around for months, it might pay to purchase a bottle of fuel additive before you go out. All of this makes not only your day better but makes the day better for others, too, because they don’t have to wait at the ramp for you to jumpstart your boat or worse still interrupt their fishing day and to tow you back to the ramp because of something that a quick check would have found.
During the week we are starting to see more people head out after work when the wind drops, and slowly but surely reports of snapper are coming in. The reports at the moment are mostly in the deeper water of the channels, and only the odd one from shallower water. The reports from during the past week came from the channel around Tortoise Head, plus a couple from Spit Point, but deeper than normal, as one customer told me. We have seen a couple from the jetties at Cowes and Newhaven, smaller fish but about what you expect to catch this time of the year.
Calamari reports continue to come in and many have only just started collecting their bait for the snapper season. So far the numbers seem to be a bit better than last year, but still not as good as a couple of years ago. We are seeing a lot of bigger calamari in the reports, which is normal for this early in the season, but that will change soon, and there will be a lot of mixed bags showing up. Those fishing off the beach, at Cleeland Bight or Ventnor, are using baited jigs and having more success than those with artificial jigs, while at the jetties the artificial ones are better. In the boats the reports are mixed with most throwing a couple of baited ones out the back while casting artificial jigs around.