By Craig Edmonds of Jim’s Bait and Tackle, San Remo
THE weather on the weekend couldn’t have been any better, and if you have been lucky enough to have time off during the school holidays, you couldn’t really complain too much as there were some perfect days for fishing. There are more and more people getting out for a fish now, and naturally the reports have improved. Snapper is the most targeted species at the moment, followed closely by calamari and whiting. Pleasingly, they are all improving in numbers, and equally as pleasing, the reports of draughtboard sharks are becoming less and less.
The San Remo jetty has been busy both first thing in the morning and last thing at night, with people chasing calamari over the last week, and many of them have been rewarded with some good catches. The numbers have been good, the size above average, and reasonably aggressive, with some customers saying at times they had a couple of calamari chasing their jigs. Both artificial and baited jigs were working, and the colour of the artificial hasn’t changed. At any given time, it’s anyone’s guess which colour will work. The best advice to get the colour right is just to build yourself up a collection of colours, and keep trying different ones until you find the one that works on the session you are fishing. Don’t assume it will be the right one the next time you go fishing. The beach in Cleeland Bight has been good, too, but evening is the best time to be fishing there, and a baited jig under a float is the best way. Cowes Jetty has been very patchy, with not a lot of reports, and there have been even less from the beach at Ventnor. In boating, there haven’t been too many places that we didn’t get a calamari report from. Most people, though, are just chasing enough for bait for the day, and not putting in a whole session just for calamari. Those putting in longer sessions are finding plenty, especially in Cleeland Bight and up in Dickies Bay towards Reef Island; many of those are in kayaks. The size in the boats seems to be more consistent and not as mixed in size, as the land-based reports are telling us.
Snapper are, as always, the target species at this time of the year, and the reports are getting better every day.
The better weather and the water warming up is also helping to greatly improve the number of people out fishing, which will naturally improve the quantity of reports. Most of the snapper being reported are the typical bigger, early-season fish, but we have seen a few of the smaller ones, around 1kg to 3kg. Most of the snapper reports we have been getting were coming from water deeper than 10m, and it only been the last couple of days that reports have come from some of the shallower areas, but still around 8m. Those reporting snapper are also telling me that the numbers aren’t great yet, with most reporting only one or two fish.
I would expect, because of the winter we have had and the way the season has started, that it might be back to a cup weekend start of the season. As I mentioned before, most of the snapper are big, and the biggest for the week was a fish of a lifetime. The biggest we have seen for a few years, it weighed in at 11kg.
The bigger fish we are seeing from early morning and into the evening, with reports from during the day much smaller. We had reports from as far up as Lang Lang and as far down as the Western Entrance, with everywhere in between. There still isn’t an area that stands out as being much better than others, with the deeper water off Rhyll marginally in front for reports. Bait have also been all over the place this week, with pilchards, squid, saury, couta, mackerel fillet and garfish.
It’s worth the effort to put in a session on the whiting, going by the reports coming in. Having said that, don’t expect to bag out, but getting into double figures is possible. Most are chasing the snapper, but there are a few looking for whiting, what they are coming back with is promising. No one is bagging out with keepers, but are catching more than their bag with plenty of throwbacks being too small. The average whiting being caught aren’t as big as we have been used to over the last few years, but in between the small ones there is a feed to be had. The bigger fish are coming from in Cleeland Bight, in the typical shallower areas, with a few reports from out towards the channel as well. The smaller whiting are coming from the top end towards the Bass River and Reef Island.