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

THE football is almost over and as the weather improves we will start to see people out fishing which will obviously add up to more reports coming in.
I say obviously because that’s how it happens every year, the football
finishes and the reports start like the fish
magically come into the bay.
Those who fish the winters will tell you there are fish to be caught all year round, you just need to put the time in.
This winter has been a little different in that the weather has been so bad that you haven’t been able to get out for a fish.
The calamari reports have also reflected the weather with very few people fishing for them over the winter and only now just starting to fill up their bait freezer.
One thing that did stand out this winter was the amount of offshore reports we got. This was due to a couple of things; more people fishing offshore in the winter now and with the strong consistent north winds over winter, it was about the only place you could fish.
Reports of snapper have been slow but on the increase as the days slowly get longer and the weather improves.
Several reports of fish from up the top end of the bay around spit point and the fingers but almost everyone has told us they are in deeper water than where they started getting them last year.
This has also been the case from those fishing back towards Rhyll where the reports have come from the channels or where The Corals drop off to the deep. The size has been good around 4kg to 5kg, as you would expect early season.
Baits, and not a lot changes with squid and pilchards being reported as the best so far.
All customers that have reported snapper already are telling us that they aren’t getting many and putting in long hours sometimes for only one fish.
There are plenty of cod in the bay and seven gill sharks aren’t too difficult to catch if you want one of them.
Daylight savings starts next week, and we will start to see trailers at the ramp after work mid-week. If you are heading out for a night fish, I would head towards the top end or at least from Elizabeth Island up.
Land based snapper fishermen are targeting the jetties at Cowes and Newhaven and we have only had one report from Cowes but a few more from Newhaven with all around the 3kg.
The gummy reports lately are of much smaller ones unlike the ones reported a couple of weeks ago on the moon.
Those looking for snapper are finding a lot of undersize ones in amongst the cod which seem to have arrived in plague numbers, especially anywhere near a channel.
There were a couple of bigger gummies from near Elizabeth Island and one around 8kg we were told of from Tenby Point area.
No reports from offshore this week but only because the conditions weren’t all that good with not a lot of swell but very messy sea, especially where you needed to be to catch the gummies.
Finally, some regular whiting reports, and while still low numbers the quality is very good and more promising than it has been for the past few months. The best reports have been coming from kayak customers but this week a few from boating customers also. The best of the reports were from Cleeland Bight and not just in the shallow water but in water up to 6m towards the channel.
Several reports from Dickies Bay/Bass River areas but of much smaller fish and mostly undersize. Still a good sign as they will grow very fast this time of the year and an undersized one now will be well oversize by Christmas.
As I mentioned earlier we are finding that many are only now just starting to chase calamari for their snapper baits and we are now getting regular reports. The jetty calamari fishermen have fished when they could over the winter but very limited with the weather and even their reports are improving.
The best reports are coming from the usual spots in Cleeland Bight and it is a mixture of baited and artificial jigs with some quality ones around.