By Craig Edmonds, Jim’s Bait & Tackle, San Remo
AFTER the season we have had so far I guess the weather of the last week or so is almost expected.
It has made it difficult at times to get the boats out and a little wet and windy on the land-based areas as well.
The reports have reflected the inconsistent weather but when things were right, good catches were reported.
Despite the winds often being the wrong direction for the tides, those who took advantage of the opportunities when they presented themselves managed some quality fish and even the odd bag of fish.
With two islands, there is usually somewhere that is sheltered that you can launch the boat to have a fish or a land based spot out of the wind; the rain is a different problem obviously but it still won’t affect the fish, only the angler.
That has been the case in the past few weeks and if you are prepared to drive a few miles to have a fish you have a similar situation further down the coast around Wilsons Prom and Port Albert areas.
It is usually as simple as working out the effect wind and tide has on each other as well as onshore and offshore winds in different areas.
Wind with tide will generally be calmer than wind against tide. Just remember at some stage the tide will change and onshore winds will generally be rougher than offshore winds. Just factor in the tide as well and while it may sound complicated, simply look at the map of the area you are in and the wind and tide directions and you will be able to work it out.
Failing all of that of course, check in with the local tackle shop for advice.
Much of the wind in the past couple of weeks has been northerly making it offshore and plenty have been out chasing flathead and some of the bigger species caught in the deeper water.
Flathead have been very good and found in several different depths. They aren’t in large schools and seem to be the same as they have been for the past few years with smaller schools a few hundred metres apart.
If you are going to give fishing offshore a try, make sure one of the first things you purchase is a sea anchor.
I find if you purchase a sea anchor that is one size bigger than recommended for your boat, it will have a much better effect of slowing you down than a smaller one.
Use your sea anchor to help you drift in the direction you want to go simply by changing the place it is tied onto your boat. Doing this, you can keep your lines directly behind you making fishing much easier.
The flathead have been reported from 25m off the glasshouse to 65m off the cape and are a good mixture of tigers and sandies.
If conditions are right you will also be able to get a good bag of pinkies on the close hard bottom areas east of Kilcunda near the wind mills, but you will catch and throw back several undersized in between your keepers.
In the same areas, you need to put down a big bait on a bigger rod for a gummy or school shark.
If you are going to target a gummy offshore, take your time getting there, throw out a couple of lures and pick up a couta or salmon for some fresh bait.
If you are going to trawl around for a salmon blind or working a school of fish and using a deeper diving type lure, don’t rig it on a light outfit because we are coming into Kingfish time and you will often find them swimming with the salmon.
If you want to fish light for salmon find a school of fish and cast small metal slugs, white the best, into them and keep it on the surface.
Kingfish have been very good around Wilsons Prom and fish up to 1.4m have been landed in the past couple of weeks.
There are plenty of rats in the undersize variety but be patient because the bigger ones are there – they are just a bit harder to get interested in taking baits or lures.
Live baiting has been one of the best methods around the Prom as it is here but you also need a supply of lures, stick baits and mid-water hard bodies the best, just in case.
If all else fails and you can see them swimming around and not taking live baits or lures, try cutting a few pilchards into very small cubes and slowly throw them into the school of fish.
If they are taking the cubes, set up your live bait rig with a single pilchard just hooked through the eyes and throw it over. The trick is not to over feed them with the cubes.
There have been rumours in the past month of Bluefin tuna being caught locally with the first reported off Cape Paterson.
Although we saw some barrel Bluefin a few months ago, the ones being reported now are school fish around 10 to 15kg and far more manageable by the average angler.
Between Christmas and New Year it wasn’t just rumours that came in, it was photos as well and several of them.
The Bluefin weren’t caught initially by someone targeting them but more of an accidental catch by those looking for Kingfish and once the rumours got around several then targeted them.
While we saw the photos on other people’s phones, getting them sent to me was never going to happen, either was the exact location.
Although I haven’t got exact locations both sides of the Prom around the various island groups would be a good starting point judging by the background in the photos.
If you are putting in at Inverloch I would consider setting your lures once you are about halfway to the Prom.
Makos are starting to make an appearance and reports have come in from Inverloch, Venus Bay and one that we were told of from off Kilcunda.
Most caught so far have been around the 30 to 40kg but a couple of bigger 8’ plus models have been lost or just not interested swimming up the berley trail.
There is a lot of food out there for them now with schools of couta, salmon, arrow squid and other bait fish like slimies and scad so there is plenty for them to eat.
Because there is so much food you will need to try everything you know to get them interested and at times they will just swim around the boat for a while and then swim away and there isn’t much you can do.
Whiting have been good in the past couple of weeks but a little searching will be needed to get a good bag of fish.
The same pattern of low tide in Cleeland Bight and high tide in Dickies Bay has continued but be prepared for plenty of toadies and leatherjackets.
With so much berley getting put into the water this time of the year as usual it brings plenty of the pickers and you will have no trouble catching toadies.
The leather jackets at least are getting bigger and well worth taking home for a feed and once you learn the skill of skinning them and you try one for the first time you won’t throw too many back in the future.
There have been reports of whiting from a lot of different spots as there always is around Christmas with so many people unfamiliar to the area who often stop and fish in areas regular people wouldn’t.
The size of whiting is very mixed now and several undersized to several over 45cm reported; the best 55cm.
We have had reports from almost all the usual spots making it difficult to work out the exact spot to go.
The best advice I can give is early morning and somewhere quiet is the best spot to be.
We have had some reports from the land as well and while we never see bags of fish caught land-based, they are usually good quality. Newhaven Jetty, Rhyll Jetty and low tide at Sunderland Bay have all seen success.
Almost all the snapper we are seeing in the bay now are only pinkies and that very small annoying bait thief type.
We did see a small handful of good snapper to 5kg but very random catches.
Pinkies you will find everywhere and if you aren’t catching them move to another spot.
If you want to target a bigger one, it will be nothing more than luck and I suggest just heading to your favourite spot because we haven’t had enough reports to get any type of pattern.
Newhaven Jetty and Cowes Jetty are the places to head if you are land based; early morning late evening the best.
Gummy reports have been very consistent and although most that are caught are just pups and undersized, some very good keepers have made it back to the boat ramp.
The best of the reports has come from the channel along the island near Elizabeth and around Gardners Channel.
A few reports from Corinella and Tenby Point, mostly in the channels but a couple from the shallower whiting spots around Coronet Bay.