By Craig Edmonds, Jim’s Bait & Tackle, San Remo
TYPICAL spring weather this week with a taste of everything and being the start of school holidays, I guess we couldn’t have expected anything else.
It’s often forgotten that early spring is often our windiest and wettest time of the year and especially for inconsistent conditions but once through this period it’s into the warm weather and fishing season.
Everything we have had reported this week is promising for the season to come and again looks like being an early one that hopefully will extend a bit longer than last year.
The school holidays always see a lot more land-based reports with plenty of kids down fishing often out-fishing the adults that are on the jetty with them.
Looking after your catch: We hear so much discussed all the time about putting back undersize fish, but very rarely hear anything about caring for your catch.
I would argue that keeping and caring for a fish and eating all of a fish that is borderline in size is no different than someone that catches a bigger fish that isn’t cared for and often thrown out or badly filleted with most of the flesh left on the carcase for the birds to eat, yet the person with the borderline fish would be charged.
Caring for your catch can be as simple as a fish bin or Esky and a $4 bag of ice. It can be as simple as bleeding and or cleaning as soon as possible or even just an old towel that is kept wet over your catch.
All of the above will help preserve your catch and it’s reasonably simple to do.
Filleting is another way plenty of fish is wasted and thrown away.
If you are going to keep it, you may as well get as much off it as possible.
While everyone is not expected to fillet like a fish monger, some of the filleting efforts you see at the ramp are very ordinary.
There are plenty of videos on the internet to show you how to fillet fish and generally they are step by step and easy to follow. Sharp knives also help.
Something you might like to try with your snapper this season is after you have cleaned and filleted it, wrap the head and skeleton in foil adding some herbs lemon and butter then drop it on the barbecue for around 10 or 15 minutes and you will be surprised how much meat is left along the skeleton and of course those who have done this will grab strait for the cheeks.
A 5kg snapper even filleted properly will have plenty of meat left for a meal and once you master the cooking time you will find it much sweeter than the fillet itself.
Fishing this week has been very much like the weather.
Some good, some bad, but all with a promise of things to come.
Many are still out collecting bait with calamari the main target which can be a bonus as the hoods make a good meal and the heads a great bait.
There is plenty of ink on the jetty at San Remo where we are getting reasonably consistent reports of ones and twos but not a lot of bags of 10.
There is an assortment of sizes as well with one we saw at almost 60cm in the hood and others difficult to work out if the jig or squid is bigger.
Just remember if you do hook a big one, walk it to the beach. Don’t try to lift it up because the jig will just pull out.
Surprisingly with the ordinary conditions the artificial jigs’ cast and retrieve are outdoing the baited ones under a float off the jetty with colour anybody’s guess.
The calamari reported off the beach at Ventnor or in Cleeland Bight were much the same with the only difference the baited jigs under a float were slightly better than the artificial ones under a float and nothing was reported from those casting and retrieving off the beach.
Boating was by far the best way to chase the calamari this week and several customers reported getting not only good size but good numbers as well.
The odd one was reported on baited jigs with most reported on artificial. Over the last week boating reports of calamari came from several spots and mostly depended on the conditions.
Not much between Cleeland Bight and Tortoise Head for the best spot with reports also from Reef Island, Ventnor/Cowes and Dickies Bay; a couple also from Cowes jetty and one from Newhaven jetty.
Snapper are quickly becoming the main target now especially with several starting to show up both on the land and the boats and there is the odd set of lights to be seen on the bay at night.
More reports this week from Newhaven jetty of snapper and quality fish of 3 to 5kg all taken on the change of the low tide and all on squid.
In the boats, same as calamari, you didn’t always get a chance to fish where you wanted and customers said they were just fishing in spots to get a bit of protection out of the wind.
The snapper reports came from all over the place and not just from the top end like they normally do at this time of the year.
Reports came from Rhyll, The Corals, Cowes, Corinella and up to the Fingers and Spit Point.
While there were reports from all over the place, there were still only reports of one or maybe two fish from plenty of time on the water.
The water is still reasonably cold and despite good soundings the fish are still moving around.
A few good whiting reports from Dickies Bay and Reef Island areas this week with better numbers than the snapper but still not huge bags.
Most of the whiting were of good size and mid-30cm to low 40cm was common and when the fish are in as good a condition as they are, you only need a couple for a good feed.
The odd report came from in Cleeland Bight but again this week if you were catching couta you weren’t catching whiting.
Below the bridge or up in Dickies Bay the last of the run out tide was the best.
I also had a couple of reports of land based whiting, one from Newhaven jetty and two from Cowes jetty both caught in the evening just before dark.
If you want a report from the surf beaches just look at any of my reports over the past few months because nothing has changed.
Lots of weed at times, too calm, too rough and for those who persevered, small salmon with only the very odd one even close to 1kg.
Having said that though there have been some good numbers of the smaller salmon and if you are someone that eats them, those smaller ones are the best to take home anyway.
Woolamai beaches stood out slightly only because it had the best conditions I think and more people were fishing there. Lures and baits were both successful.
Christmas is just around the corner and things will start to get busy so don’t forget to take advantage of our layby and do your shopping now while things are still a bit quieter and we are fully stocked for the season.