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

The Australia Day weekend is just around the corner and feedback from customers would suggest, with Australia Day on the Thursday, there will be plenty phoning in for a sickie on the Friday. There are plenty of customers that have told us the company they work for is rostering it as a day off which makes more sense, I guess, than only half your staff turning up. Either way there will be plenty of people around taking advantage of what is usually the last chance to go fishing before the Christmas credit card bills come in.
It will also mark the start of some of the best fishing around the island with February generally much quieter at the ramps and the weather normally more settled. You will also start to see more of the locals heading out now the crowds have finished. It is also a very good time to go fishing with some quality fish in the lead up to and during the autumn period. Offshore fishermen will start to get more serious as we get into the autumn weather pattern able to spend the whole day out there. There is some excellent fishing to be had as well with quality table fish like flathead, whiting, gummies and Mako sharks available. You will also see more baitfish around to stock up on your fresh baits or to get out the heavy gear and look for the elusive kingfish.
This Australia Day Weekend we will again be running a fishing competition in the shop. The competition will be a little different this year with only one species, squid (calamari or arrow). There is no entry fee and the comp is open to everybody, boats, land based, any age and you don’t even need buy something to enter. The comp will run from 6am Thursday till 12pm Sunday and we are putting up a squid prize pack valued at $150.
The other difference with the comp is it will be a secret weight so it won’t necessarily be the biggest or the fattest so well worth weighing even the smaller ones. You can weigh two squid each day during the shop opening (6am-5pm) hours and we will notify the winner Sunday afternoon. The competition is nothing more than a bit of fun for the family over the Australia Day weekend so let all your friends know and join in for your chance to win the squid pack. You will find more details on our Facebook page or simply drop into the shop, we will be open every day over the Australia day weekend from 6am.
The ordinary weather didn’t have a huge effect on the fishing reports this week what had the biggest effect was the lack of people with plenty already back at work. There was however still plenty of kids around and although they mostly seem to catch toadies and wrasse from the jetties every now and again they wander back with a flathead or whiting. They also manage a few salmon and of course like the older anglers on the San Remo jetty especially manage a calamari or two.
Several salmon were reported this week from the surf beaches both on the island and at Kilcunda but nothing of any size to get too excited about. Salmon reports also came from the beach in Cleeland bight and a handful from the jetties. It was a mixture of lures and baits with most from the jetties on bait. Beaches was a mixture of both bait and lures and the couple of bigger ones reported came from those using lures. There were some very big schools of something off Kilcunda this week with the birds working for as far as the eye can see. The boats that went looking for salmon managed to find some reasonable ones both in the bay and offshore. There was a much bigger school offshore but there was plenty mixed in with them. As one customer told us if you wanted to fill your boat with couta there wasn’t much effort needed just a little trolling around. The salmon in the bay were mostly in the channels and travelling quickly and you needed to either be ready with a lure waiting to be cast out or driving around looking for them.
Offshore still and not quite as many Makos this week but there were no where as many boats out either. The water had changed early in the week as well but by the weekend it wasn’t too bad and that’s when we got the most reports. Again, any Mako reports came from around the 40m line and not in one place but spread out up and down the coast. One thing that has been common to many of the reports was they had multiple sharks around during the day.
Flathead are there but you aren’t necessarily going to catch them where you normally do which sounds a bit strange but it’s what we are being told from customers that have naturally gone to where they always catch them but found nothing or very little so they have then decided to try somewhere completely different and found plenty. There hasn’t been much of a pattern as to the depth or the area with reports coming from 30m to 60m of water and from pyramid rock to cape Patterson which I know makes it very difficult to decide where to fish but that’s just how the reports are.
The only thing that has been more consistent offshore has been pinkies and gummies with the reports coming from two areas, Powlett River in 25m of water and off Kilcunda bridge in 40m of water, surprisingly nothing from off cape Woolamai. No sizable kingfish reports from the boating anglers yet with only a couple of rats that we were told of.
From the divers though the story was very different with good ones sighted off the panicle, pyramid and the George Kermode so they are there and if we do get out more settled weather I would expect to see a few reports soon.
In the bay, there are plenty of pinkies and whiting one day and then nothing the next which makes it very frustrating trying to work out how they can be so good one day and so bad the next. They obviously don’t go anywhere but it is difficult working out the best place to go when or when they are going to be hungry. It doesn’t seem to be a case of fishing in the wrong area because when we get good reports we get plenty from all over and the same with bad reports. The size of the pinkies is all over the place but there is some good 40cm ones being caught you just need to get through the smaller ones.
We did get a couple of reports of bigger snapper around the 5kg mark from two areas, the top end around Temby, Lang Lang and from the deeper channel of Silverleaves.
It’s a little the same with the whiting but the quality seems to be a bit better with no where as many undersize as the pinkies. There is still plenty of that mid to high 30cm quality fish around and we have seen a few well into the high 40cm. the reports we are getting are coming from more places than I have space to put here so in the bay I would start with your normal or favourite spot and move around from there. The pinkies are the same and reports of pinkies mostly came from those looking for whiting.
The other pinkie reports came from around the corals from those chasing gummies but it seemed as if the corals now have become a bit of a nursery with small pinkies, small flathead and small gummies and not a lot of size. The better of the gummies came from in the deeper water along the island closer to the Gardners channel end. They haven’t been quite as good as they were a month ago, but still quality at around 6kg.
With Calamari, not a whole lot changes and the reports from the last week mirror what has happened over the last 6 months. It has become a fishery that is not declining in any way and because of the ever-increasing numbers of people now fishing for them you would have to say it is increasing. San Remo jetty was good at times the beaches the same and guessing the right colour for the day on the artificial jigs hasn’t changed. There were a few caught on baited jigs this week due to the windy weather changing the colour of the bay for a couple of days. Boating and in the kayaks if you can’t drift because of too any people try to use a bit of berley to bring the calamari to you.