By Craig Edmonds, Jim’s Bait & Tackle, San Remo

JUST another reminder to those who fish around Inverloch or down to Welshpool, if you send through your fishing reports, I can include them into my weekly report.
The grand final weekend started off OK on Friday then in typical spring fashion it got windy and at times cold but there were plenty of short breaks to get out to have a fish.
The snapper reports continued to come in and while they haven’t really fired up yet there seems to be ever increasing numbers being found.
The boating opportunities over the weekend were limited but plenty took advantage of the conditions in the lead up to the weekend and we saw some quality fish. With so many land based fishing at the moment we have also had some quality reports from them.
I have had several people in lately that have purchased a fishing licence and have asked how long it takes for the hard plastic one to be sent out.
Obviously they have seen or read about the hard plastic licence. The problem is they didn’t read far enough down the page because these are only available on-line.
If you go onto the fisheries website, you can follow the links to the licence section and purchase one on line.
The one and three-year licence will be sent out as a hard plastic similar to a driver’s licence and the 28 day and three days will simply be a receipt.
The other problem is there seems to be some confusion about undersize fish or over bag limit. If you come in to report undersize fish or report someone that has gone over their bag limit, about all I will do is hand you a fisheries book with the reporting number on it.
Despite what a visiting gentleman, and I use that term loosely from Melbourne told me during the week it is not my duty to follow it through because I have no more authority than you do and anybody can report illegal fishing.
Fisheries suggest that you don’t confront the angler involved and that you just phone the number provided (133 474) getting as much detail as possible.
The majority of the snapper being caught at the moment are typical of those normally caught now with the 5kg mark the average.
The snapper caught land-based are generally slightly smaller but this week they were as good as those reported from the boats.
There were a few reports land based with Cowes and Newhaven jetties the best and with both it was those who fished during the night doing the best.
We have seen one or two from during the day but night time is the best by far at the moment and where the biggest land based catches are coming from.
Just a bit of advice though the customers that are getting the snapper, land based are using up most of the night time to get their fish so be prepared to be very patient, and rug up.
Boating snapper reports are very similar as far as putting in plenty of time to catch one but the bite was very different with the land based reports telling us it was a hit and run bite while the boating customers told me the bit was very light.
Many described it to us as a bite like a cod or a flathead with some saying they actually hooked the fish on a very light bit and got the fish almost halfway back to the boat when it woke up and started heading the other way.
Like every year, several people have lost snapper over the last few weeks by being fooled into thinking it is a big cod or draughtboard by striking at a bite then feeling weight without a run or head shake and giving the drag several turns only to have a snapper on the end of the line wake up and before you can release the drag again it’s all over.
The reports I am getting are mostly of snapper 5kg and better with the best we saw last week 7.35kg.
It’s been a variety of baits and no real difference between frozen and fresh caught baits this week with the only thing in common bigger baits, large strip baits, whole heads on snelled 7/0 or 8/0 running sinker rigs. Although most of the snapper fishing has been as it normally is for this time of the year we did get three separate reports this week from customers that got annoyed by small, some even undersize pinkies and not just one or two but enough to make you want to move.
They were all fishing in a similar area in the middle of the Corals on two separate days.
No one spot is standing out as the best still while the snapper arrive and acclimatise and that is why we are getting reports from all over the place – Corals, along the channel near French Island, Spit Point, Corinella and the Western Channel and everywhere in between.
If you are heading out do a bit of sounding around because it would appear that some areas have changed a bit during the winter.
I have had a couple of customers tell me the same thing and we found out a few weeks back when we fished an area we fish often and noticed what seemed to be a bit more structure on the bottom.
After losing a few rigs being clean cut off we hooked a lump of what turned out to be old dead but very sharp oyster shells, something we have never found in this spot.
While the dead shells weren’t much to get too excited about the 20 or so baby oysters growing on the clump will be something worth a look later on in the season.
Calamari reports have increased 10 fold over the last week or so but I think it has little to do with the amount of squid around because the numbers are here all the time.
What made the difference to the reports was the number of people fishing for them.
It seems this holidays everyone wants to have a go at fishing for calamari and when you can set yourself up with a combo and a few jigs for around $100, don’t need a lot of experience and it’s a relatively clean type of fishing, if you can avoid the ink, no wonder plenty are getting into it.
Calamari are one of those seafoods that you love or hate and most that hate have only tasted it once saying it was like eating rubber.
Rubbery squid has very little to do with the squid its self and a whole lot more to do with the way it is cooked.
It will take some practice because the temptation is to leave it in for too long but it only needs a very short time in the fryer or on the barbecue and its only seconds between good and bad squid.
Most of the reports have come either from a boat or the San Remo jetty but they are the two easiest places to target them for visitors.
A few reports have come from Ventnor beach and the beach in Cleeland Bight as well as the odd one from the other jetties.
With both land and boat the best time has been very early morning especially before the traffic of the boats.
Although it sounds like there are millions around, plenty of people still missed out and that piece of fishing tackle you can’t buy, luck, was the most important thing to have.
The majority came back on artificial jigs with dark red/black jigs or the total opposite white and bright orange.
Whiting have been well worth putting in some time this week and for the first time in a long time I have had reports of people bagging out on them.
The quality is still excellent and when you see an Esky with 20, 36cm whiting in it you could be forgiven for thinking there are plenty more than the bag limit as well as being plenty for the freezer.
If you are going to freeze them, vac sealed bags are the best which will keep it fresh for weeks or even months in the freezer and not waste a good catch.
Like the calamari not everyone was able to find them and there were far more zeros than bag limit catches.
The successful customers were those who picked an area and stayed which is the total opposite of what normally happens where you would move after a short time of nothing.
Common to almost every successful catch was cocktail baits, squid or pilchard and pippi, the last couple of hours of the run out and first couple of hours of the run in.
Almost everyone said they caught them in waves, six then wait awhile then maybe four and wait and so on.
Everyone was using a small amount of pellet berley which they would throw into the water after getting the first few fish.
All put up with leatherjackets and toadies and it was when they would disappear the whiting came back.
The only thing not common were the rigs with long shank and circle hooks of various sizes on either running sinker and paternoster rigs all working.