By Craig Edmonds of Jim’s Bait and Tackle, San Remo
With the first two good days in a row for the season so far, there were plenty that took a sickie on Friday judging by the amount of boats that were on the water when we go to work.
The cup weekend also saw plenty of visitors to the area and there wasn’t much room on any of the land-based fishing spots.
The cup weekend also saw the start of our Facebook guess the weight competitions and there was no shortage of guesses coming in.
It is also the start of our full summer hours with late closing on Friday nights and 6am opening on weekends.
Unfortunately there was a bit of a hiccup on Sunday with the weather that kept the boats on the trailers for most of the day, but it didn’t stop the land-based anglers getting out and trying their luck.
The best thing about the weekend was that although very few people bagged out, plenty of people got fish.
There was plenty of quality amongst them with a 57cm perch, the best snapper weighing in at 9.25kg, a 49.5cm whiting that was almost round, calamari to 2.4kg and a couple of the biggest rock flathead I have seen since being in the shop.
We also had plenty of firsts as well with people starting out fishing and managing to catch their first fish, many of these were kids of course of both the big and little variety.
They say that kids get excited when they catch their first fish and see it as a sense of achievement, but I have seen plenty of adults that have decided to take up fishing recently who were just as excited with their first catch.
Christmas is only just around the corner and plenty of people have taken advantage of our layby, buying presents early to be sure they are getting what they want.
This year we are also doing a starter pack for those who want to get into fishing and they will make very good present ideas.
The San Remo traders has again produced a Christmas calendar full of specials this year and will be available over the next few weeks, so look for the poster on the window of participating stores.
If you do take advantage of one of the specials on the calendar you will go into the draw for your chance to win $500 worth of vouchers.
The snapper reports were very good as you would expect with so many boats on the water, the number of fish caught had to increase.
The average of fish per boat still hasn’t really improved and the stories haven’t changed with plenty of sounders showing quality groups of arches, but the fish are not that interested in feeding.
The boating reports came from all over the place and there wasn’t a real concentration of fish in the one area.
The best of the fish we had reported came from those who were fishing away from everyone else.
Although many of the snapper reported were around the 5kg mark, there was some very good reports of the best eating size snapper or pinkies from many areas of the bay, which were often caught just after a big one.
The area around Corinella is always consistent this time of the year, but the only problem is that it gets very busy and finding a spot to fish can get difficult.
That’s after you manage to sit at the ramp for an hour to get the boat off the trailer.
As always, the snapper caught from Corinella area seem to be consistently bigger and this year is no different, except that the numbers per boat are down and not a lot of people are bagging out.
Reports over the last week came from Mosquito Channel to Lang Lang and everywhere in between, and almost every spot you would expect to catch them producing something.
The times they were caught had not much in the way of a pattern at all with high tide, low tide and day and night.
The area around Rhyll was slightly different with the early morning Thursday and Friday the time to be there, especially in the deeper water channels.
As the day went on, the reports came from all over the corals and it was those who found a quieter area that were doing the best.
The smaller pinkies were there at any time and mixed up with the bigger fish.
Land based snapper reports have been the best this year for probably five or six years and the reports are almost as regular as the boats.
Over the last week we have seen a couple of dozen fish with 7.2kg the biggest, but plenty around the 2kg mark.
Cowes jetty, Newhaven jetty and even San Remo jetty were producing snapper.
From the reports, Cowes was better on the change of the high tide with the Newhaven side best on the change of the low.
We had a few reported from Punch Bowl and several from the beach in Cleeland Bight, with outside the caravan park and in front of the sand hill proving to be the better spots.
I even had a report of a small pinkie caught off the surf beach at Woolamai.
Let’s hope the fish continue for the land-based fishermen, but remember when it is busy on the jetty a bit of courtesy goes a long way.
Ensure the sinkers you are using are big enough and if someone hooks a big fish do what you can to assist them, it might be you next time that needs a net to land a fish.
Calamari were probably the most inconsistent of the reports this week.
With so much weed in the water, at times it was like your jig was a magnet attracting the grass as soon as it touched the water.
Plenty of reports came in but I would have expected a few more than what we got and the reports really only came from those who had fished a lot for calamari and understood that weed on the jig decreased your chances considerably.
There were plenty of newcomers to the calamari fishery but it was a very difficult for them, especially if others didn’t explain the advantage of keeping the weed off the jig.
The best of the reports came from the boats who were able to find a small patch of clean water.
The thing that didn’t alter for both land and boat was the quality of the calamari, which was excellent this week.
The normal spots all worked at some stage and a mixture of baited and artificial.
The colour of the artificial as usual varied but the stable colours of White, Red and Orange accounted for most.
Whiting reports have continued to steadily increase and we have seen some quality that is as good as we have seen in our time in the shop.
We have always seen a box of fish that contains a quality one in length or weight, but not like it is at the moment where the one that stands out in a box of whiting is a normal size one.
It has taken the best part of 10 years to convince customers to use pilchard for whiting, but it is finally starting to pay off.
For those who are trying the pilchard fillet they are finding bigger fish, less rubbish like toadies and best of all it’s cheaper with several baits out of each pilchard.
It is a soft bait and so is pipis, but don’t salt it trying to toughen it up a bit as the feedback we get is it doesn’t work.
Also, don’t cut up too many in advance as you will get far better results if you actually fillet the pilchard then put it straight onto the hook.
The other trick is to not put little tiny pieces on the hook and use a reasonable sized bait as an average size pilchard fillet will give you about four baits.
We also had a couple of reports from land-based anglers on the beach in Cleeland Bight, but not many fish and no one with more than one good size.
I keep getting asked why I haven’t expanded my report to include the area around Wonthaggi and Inverloch.
The answer is simple – nothing is being sent through which makes it very difficult to put anything in the report.
Alan was able to spend time making calls to get reports from these areas, but unfortunately I don’t have the same spare time to make those calls, so I need to rely on people calling me.
Maybe there is someone that has the time to make the calls to chase up reports and would like to give writing the weekly report a go.
If you think you could organise this around the Wonthaggi area give me a call on 5678 5462 and I will put you in touch with the right person.