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

Justin with a Mako Shark caught locally recently.

We have had several people in recently to purchase fishing licences for three years or one year then asking how long it takes for the plastic one to be sent out. The answer is easy, a long time because when you purchase a licence in a shop that is your licence. To get a plastic licence you need to go online and get it there. You get confirmation emailed to you straight away that you have paid then your plastic licence is posted out to you eventually.
As always happens at Christmas time fisheries bring out their new guides and as usual in their first print run they do very few and despite ordering 400 hundred or so the 30 odd they sent to us lasted about two days and because they don’t go back to work till this week we haven’t seen any more since. If you have a smart phone fisheries actually have the book on an app which is free and has everything in it that the book has.
Fishing this week has been very up and down a little like the weather and while we did get a couple of days that were ordinary it was expected, we had too many good ones in a row. Although we are well into January and a lot of people have gone back to work we are still opening every day at 6am and will be till the end of January. The best of the fishing has also been early with some areas producing very little once the sun got up. From the reports once the sun was up the fish got smaller and the undersize and rubbish fish came out. There are always exceptions of course and we had the odd good report from the tide changes. Offshore it didn’t seem to make much difference what time of the day only that it was calmer in the mornings.
The full moon as usual bought with it some windy weather but people still found somewhere to fish that was protected in the boats or just off the land which only meant putting on a jumper or jacket. As always, we have seen plenty of reports from land based fishermen this time of the year especially the kids and plenty could be learned from them as they usually do things on a minimal budget without too much complication.
Newhaven jetty has been reasonable with some quality trevally and although there hasn’t been many snapper for a while there is still the odd pinkie being caught. We have had a couple of whiting reported and while the numbers are never great the quality of the fish were good at around 40cm. The other reports from Newhaven jetty were salmon, calamari, flathead but mostly of banjos and sting rays. The reports from Newhaven were very like most jetties around the island with the tide changes the best time to be there with better fish reported from tide changes closer to light changes. If you are fishing from a jetty especially with the kids give them the best possible chance and use a harder bait like squid. With so many pickers around like toadies using softer baits will be gone and they won’t even know.
San Remo jetty has been the best for calamari although not as good as over the last month or so, nothing to do with the season for them finishing as some have commented but just a cycle. We get calamari reports all through the year now and over the last few years has been getting better and better. Maybe the moon, maybe so many swimming, maybe all the boat traffic, maybe the wind stirring up the dirty water, could be a thousand other things but give it a day or so and someone will be catching good numbers again.
It has been the same in the boats with some days producing none and other more than needed. It has been difficult in the boats with the best calamari spots also the best whiting spots and you have had to sit at anchor and not drift because of the traffic on the water. Something that has shown out over the last few weeks is on the days the water is very dirty and low visibility the mid-range jigs work just as well as the expensive ones but once the water clears up and all conditions are perfect the jigs with more UV and those that swim better easily out do the cheaper ones. The trick though is still working out the colour, white still probably the best with black red not far behind then some days it doesn’t matter. Calamari reports this week have come from almost everywhere with more and more people dropping a squid jig in wherever they are fishing. The best spots were still the usual spots, Cleeland Bight, Ventnor and Reef Island.
Whiting this week have lived up to its reputation of being frustrating with much more work needed to find them especially on the lead up to the full moon where they seemed to just shut down. It seems to be a bit of a pattern that the whiting shut down on the lead up to the full moon but we also find that once the full moon has gone it picks up quickly again.
Because of the boat traffic many customers have been trying spots they don’t normally fish just to get away from the noise and while success has been mixed they have managed a feed. The areas they have been trying haven’t necessarily been miles away from their normal spot but on the edges of where they normally fish, maybe a bit deeper and on channel edges. This works sometimes but you do find you are then fishing in areas that banjos and eagle rays tend to be and that can be a challenge on light gear but you will also generally find the whiting are bigger towards the channels as well. Reports came from the usual Dickies Bay, Cleeland Bight, Ventnor and Tortoise Head but a few reports came from Maggie Shoal, Coronet Bay, the Rhyll Channel and Ventnor towards Cat Bay area.
Everyone that reported whiting catches all said the same thing, don’t think you are going to catch all your fish in the one area, you will need plenty of moves to get a good bag.
The rest of the boating reports have been a bit mixed with everyone not targeting whiting and calamari just going fishing for nothing and fishing an area rather than chasing a species. There seem to be plenty of pinkies and people catching them in most parts of the bay although they did slow down on the lead up to the moon.
Gummies have been good this year and from the reports the ones being caught are mostly males. We haven’t seen a lot over 8kg but apart from the pups the ones we have been told about are around 5kg, 6kg. Several reports have come in over the last week from those fishing on the corals of a decent run then nothing and when they wind their line back in it is clean cut. Many are saying they were cut off on the bottom and while this is possible when it is a clean cut it is generally something with teeth. When you are cut off on the bottom there is usually some fraying on the line and you won’t generally get everything back except the hook.
Trailer ‘D’ Shackles: There is a lot of confusion around regarding the correct shackles to use so again we have spoken to the transport authority and again the answer is the same, check the web site http://go.vic.gov.au/suFuNN. Then go to the bottom of the page.
Taken from the Vic roads web site: Whilst using a load-rated shackle isn’t mandatory, it’s a good idea to choose a shackle to suit your trailer and towing vehicle. Suitable shackles include: Shackles supplied as original equipment by the original vehicle manufacturer or shackles supplied by an original equipment tow bar manufacturer. Shackles that are rated and compliant with Australian Standard AS 2741 Shackles or other equivalent recognised standards AND the break load limit of the shackle is rated at least 1.5 times greater than the Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) of the trailer.
The confusion comes from the load rated shackle. Coloured pin shackles are lifting weight rated not the rating you need for your trailer. For a trailer, you can multiply their ratting by 6 to cover the gvm of you trailer this means a shackle with a much thinner pin so you can fit it in you tow bar. The D shackle does not need a coloured pin but must have a manufacturer load rating stamped into the shackle which is multiplied x 6. The thing that makes this law a joke is there is no official load rating required for your safety chain or the connection to your trailer and in most cases the chain is considerably less than the load capable by the D shackle and welded on chain is only as strong as the angle it is pulled from.