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

The weather was a bit disappointing for all those who took a 4-day weekend with the wind, rain spoiling a lot of people plans to get plenty of fishing done.
The other problem also was the forecast and the actual didn’t line up at all and unless you were down here it was a bit of a risk to travel down from Melbourne to go fishing. For those already down here it meant a bit of moving around as the fronts came through, but you could at least get a fish in and those who did found some quality fish and good numbers.
Reports were also good from the land-based customers who braved it in between the wind and the rain and we got several quality reports of take-home fish.
Snapper are still the major target of most boating fishermen and from the reports we are starting to see them spread out around the bay. We are also starting to get reports from customers of them bagging out with a mixture of sizes. We are getting reports from most times of the day but the early morning and the evening into the night is still the best time.
From the reports we have received over the last week or so one pattern that has stood out with many of them is that the snapper seem to start off in the west, Rhyll area in the morning and as the day goes on, they head east ending up on the mud around coronet bay in the evening.
We are not seeing as many reports from spit point area now as the water warms up and the snapper spread out to start their spawning. We have seen a lot of pinkies already and unlike the big schools that contain plenty of undersized ones that we see in late December the pinkies at the moment are around the 40cm mark.
We have seen several bigger snapper over the weekend, 5kg to 8kg and during the week before the weekend and they don’t seem to be slowing down yet and should continue for a few more weeks.
The reports from the land haven’t been as good this season and although we have seen a couple of quality catches and some good numbers we haven’t seen much in the way of consistency. The best of the land reports have come from the jetties at Newhaven and Cowes. Baits have been very mixed with squid and pilchards still the best and when the snapper are on plenty of other baits also working.
Calamari have been good both from the land and from the boats with reports from both good numbers and good sizes. While those chasing snapper are also trying to get a couple of calamari for baits there are plenty now, especially over the weekend chasing calamari for a feed.
The jetty at San Remo has been busy at each end of the day and some good catches are being reported. During the day we have seen several caught on the changes of tide both high and low and the beach over in cleeland bight was been better in the afternoon/evening with the change of the high tide. We have had a few reports from other jetties at Corinella, Cowes, Rhyll and Newhaven jetties also.
The best in the boats has been cleeland bight but the reports have spread out all over the bay in both the normal calamari spots and spots like the middle of the corals. Some of those catching calamari in the not so usual spots are actually seeing them chase up other fish they have caught so thrown in a jig or two with success.
Whiting have been difficult, but more to do with the weather or should I say the wind which has been a bit more side on to the tides, which makes it difficult to get the boat to sit right.
When you do get good conditions, once you get through the leatherjackets and the toadies you can find a good feed. The numbers still aren’t great overall but respectable size whiting makes 6 to 10 not a bad day out.
We did get the odd report from those who had bagged out but there was a few small fish in the bag. The small ones are still in big numbers and if you start catching them, we are being told the bigger ones just seem to disappear or aren’t fast enough to get to the bait and all you will catch from then on in that spot is small ones.
The best thing you can do is move around and look for a school of bigger fish. There hasn’t been any spot standing out and the reports have come from all over the bay even the corals and the channel along the island near Elizabeth island. I have had a couple of reports from after dark of whiting, so it might be worth a look if you are struggling during the day.
Other reports from the weekend was of trevally from both the jetty at Newhaven and the boats around the bay. Plenty of salmon around the bay in the boats and not the normal small ones but some respectable salmon around the 1kg plus. Gummies are being reported but with no consistency, unless you count the undersized ones.
There has been several flathead from in the bay but while they are size that’s about all and for everyone that is size you would have already thrown back 10 undersized ones. Offshore was out for most of the weekend but reports from when the conditions were favourable were very good for flathead and snapper/pinkies, there was also a couple of reports during the week of arrow squid as well the usual couta and gurnard by the dozen.