By Craig Edmonds, of Jim’s Bait and Tackle, San Remo
It’s that time of the year again when many boats have the covers taken off or dragged out of the shed getting ready for the season to come. It’s also the time of the year you should spend an hour or so checking over your boat to make sure you won’t have any problems.
There is very little effort needed to check all your safety gear, especially that your flares are in date and your torch still works. If you are unsure what you are supposed to have it can be found easily on the internet or simply drop into local tackle store as most will have a book to tell you.
Despite many thinking the excuse “I didn’t realise my flares were out of date” or “everything was here yesterday” will get you off a fine – It won’t and it’s pointless complaining after you receive your $500 fine for something that is so simple to check.
Don’t forget that you cannot have your old out of date flares on the boat either as any flares on the boat must be in date. Ten minutes also needs to be spent on the trailer as well checking tyre pressures, grease bearings and that all the lights still work after sitting around all winter. A good investment is to purchase a set of bearing buddies which makes greasing the bearing very easy, just be sure you fit them correctly. If your fuel has been sitting in the tank all winter, especially 2-stroke empty it out and keep it for the mower and if it is straight fuel a bottle of fuel additive will help. If you run inline fuel filters now is the time to check or replace them after they have been sitting before you take it for a run. I prefer to replace the filter before the first trip then again after a couple of trips I find for the sake of $30 odd dollars it saves any problems of water getting into your engine. We will also put a cup full of so of Metho in the tank if the boat has sat for a long time. You might have the best sealed tank and filler with a good vent but you will still get a certain amount of condensation on the inside of the tank, especially metal or underfloor tanks.
It would appear that the run of tuna we were having has had the brakes put on it with a week of reasonable swell and winds from the wrong direction pushing the bait out wide and the water turning over in close. I am being told the bait has moved out wide over the 70m line and gone deeper than it was. That is of course this week and there is nothing to say that with a weather change it won’t bring the bait back in close, just need to hope the tuna are still with it. If you are going to be heading out over the next few weeks I would suggest you be prepared to do a few miles on the water and take some deeper running lures with you. I have had several people coming in that would normally chase their tuna at Portland or further north in NSW turning up on days that the commercial boats are all in port because of the conditions. If you haven’t been to this area before and want to come down to look for a tuna or two I would suggest you have a talk to someone that knows the area. Conditions here with the swell and how the wind will affect it are very different than those of the east coast or even Portland and it’s not difficult to get caught no matter what size boat you have.
Those who have been trawling outside have also spent some time during the day to get a feed of fish and have stopped for a bit of bottom bashing for flathead. While most have managed a feed that’s about all they managed and there weren’t huge numbers, but it is still a bit early. Most of the reports I was getting of the flathead were west of Woolamai in around 40m of water.
Cleeland bight has been very busy with plenty of boats during the week collecting bait for their upcoming snapper trips. The calamari were mixed in size and still only a handful of the bigger models turned up. One customer told me he didn’t mind not getting any big ones as the 10 that he caught were perfect size for using as a whole bait for the bigger snapper or gummies. If you are heading down to that area looking for some calamari drop a couple of lures in the water as you go under the bridge as there have been some good numbers of couta in the channel and these will also make good baits for you snapper and gummy fishing.
There has been to odd report of whiting in the bight as well but nothing to get too excited about despite the quality being excellent the numbers are down which always seems to be the case when the couta is around. If you wanted to chase some whiting I would head towards reef island or over to tortoise head where the reports have been better for quantity.
A few more snapper reported this week both from the land but mostly from the boats as you would expect. There weren’t that many boats out this week and it’s still a bit cold in the bay with the temp not much better than 13 degrees. Several more days of sunshine on the low tide to warm up the mud will help however looking at the forecast it isn’t going to happen this week.
Licence-free fishing day
A RECREATIONAL fishing licence will not be required by anyone in Victoria on Sunday, October 16, which is Gone Fishing Day across the country.
Executive director of Fisheries Victoria, Travis Dowling, said the licence exemption would contribute to the State Government’s Target One Million plan for recreational fishing, which aims to increase participation to one million anglers by 2020.
“The licence-free day will help newcomers try fishing for the first time and encourage those people who’ve not wet a line for years to revisit the pastime,” Mr Dowling said.
“We are asking existing fishers to take a friend, family member or neighbour fishing, whether that be from a boat, a pier or along a riverbank.
“Escaping day to day tasks, getting in touch with nature and spending time with the people that matter are all reasons to get outdoors and enjoy a day on the water.
“We know that time spent fishing often strengthens relationships and provides an opportunity to have important conservations in a relaxed and quiet environment, away from modern distractions.
“That’s good for mental health, good for friendships and good for our regional communities that depend on tourism.”
Mr Dowling said Fisheries Victoria and several angling organisations would host events on Gone Fishing Day, including free ‘come and try’ fishing activities at popular spots.
Victorian events are listed online at www.vic.gov.au/gonefishingday
To help angling clubs and community groups get involved in Gone Fishing Day, funding support is available from the Recreational Fishing Small Grants Program or the Stronger Angling Clubs Grants Program.
Applications can be made online at www.vic.gov.au/fisheries