Excellent fishing is the order of the day in the local bays, rivers and off the local jetties.

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

THE year is flying past, and the first long weekend of the season is just around the corner with cup day not far away. The Moto GP is also just around the corner and this Saturday in San Remo as a lead up to the GP, when there is again the Blessing of the Bikes. This event was held in San Remo last year for the first time and for those who weren’t here it was quite a sight, with the town full of motor bikes. For those who don’t know it is an event where riders come together at the start of the riding season for the blessing and as a day to remember and pay respect to those bike riders who lost their lives on the roads over the last 12 months. The day starts early with the bikes riding into town from all over Australia. There will be a band playing throughout the day and plenty of motor bike related stalls, and some of the local traders, Kilcunda bass football club and the San Remo primary will have food stalls to keep you fed. This year will also see a couple of shows during the day from Lukey Luke the stunt rider. So, even if you’re not a bike rider, the 5,000 or so motor bikes all lined up in town is quite a sight to see and worth the effort of wandering into town.
Because of the event Marine Pde will be closed to all traffic other than motorbikes during the event, from very early morning until later in the afternoon so the only access you will have to our shop will be by foot or by entering the car park behind the bottle shop from the rear entrance. The other choice is, of course, to launch your boat at Newhaven, tie up at San Remo and walk up to the shop. If the weather looks good for fishing we will be open later on Friday night, so keep an eye of our Facebook page for more information.
If you are after a quality pair of sunglasses it will be worth the effort of coming into see us, because we will have some very good specials on Uglyfish sunglasses on the day. We will be posting information on Facebook during the week regarding our hours and the specials we will have on the day.
The snapper reports increased tenfold this week, with conditions just right and plenty of people out there chasing them. There were some better times, and areas that stood out, but the best session for reports over a wide area was Saturday evening/night where they seemed to be in every corner of the bay. Apart from Saturday night the reports were very consistent, with Rhyll deeper water in the early morning, and Elizabeth island, and back towards Corinella in the evenings. There were a couple across the corals during the week, but only a couple in the shallows. The majority of the snapper so far have been larger fish, but we have had several pinkies reported already. Offshore has produced a mixed bag of sizes with the snapper so far, with fish undersize to 5kg being caught. The offshore snapper have come from just off the tip of the cape and from near the Powlett river. The jetties have also produced a few this week, with fish around 2kg to 4kg, mostly caught at night. Newhaven and Cowes jetties are the best, but we have been told of several snapper lost by people trying to lift them up. Customers are telling us the snapper bait of choice this year has been the pilchard, with several customers even telling us that, as a bait, pilchards are even out-fishing fresh caught calamari. We have still had reports of people catching them on squid, but baits like pilchards, saurys and garfish have accounted for the majority reported.
With more people out fishing, whiting reports are also on the improve and the numbers so far this season look good. However, while the numbers look good the size is far from what we have seen over the last few years. There are dozens of very small whiting, many of them undersize, and while this can be a nuisance at times it all goes well for the future, because given the right conditions whiting grow very quickly from the mid 20’s to the mid 30’s, and these undersized fish will be more than adequately sized around Christmas. This, of course, will depend on a few things. Firstly the undersized ones need to be put back into the water, and, secondly, they must be released carefully so that they will survive. There were some good reports from Cleeland Bight of whiting during the week, where they seem to be much bigger in size. There don’t seem to be as many down there, but the better size makes it the place to head at the moment. The reports this week have been a little different, with the traditional early and late, producing whiting, but the best reports came from the tide changes regardless of the time of day, which doesn’t make a lot of sense with the water very clear and a bit of heat in the day. But then maybe fishing in general doesn’t make sense most of the time.
As far as calamari and whiting are concerned, I get lots of customers that fish the weed beds in Dickies Bay, Reef Island, the Bass River, Coronet Bay and many other places in the bay for whiting. Then the same people will then drive all the way down to the weed beds in Cleeland Bight to fish for calamari. While that all sounds right the only real difference between the areas is a bit of geography, and it still surprises me when I ask those same people if they throw a squid jig out whenever they are fishing for their whiting and the answer is no. The smart ones will drop a jig over the side or the back and while they don’t always catch one more often than not they will manage a couple. The simplest way to do it is to use a broken rod and an old reel, make up or buy a paternoster rig, we use the wire ones, clip on a couple of squid jigs, add a heavy sinker and drop it under the boat. Send it to the bottom and give it a wind or two during the day to try different depths. Do this everywhere you fish in the bay, shallow or deep, and you might be surprised at what is under your boat.
The other thing that amuses me is the number of people that tell me that putting a big rod/bait out while you are fishing for whiting is a waste of time, I will remember to tell that to all of my customers that have caught quality gummies and snapper in 1.5m of water in Dickies Bay.