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

IT’S March already and the start of what is normally the best season of the year for settled weather around the island – Autumn.
It might not be the hottest season, although we have had some very hot days around Easter, but it is normally the most settled and consistent weather.
It is a good time of the year for some of the best of table fish that you catch here.
March is also a very busy time for us at the shop with our annual sale coming up on the Sunday of the Labour Day long weekend.
Weather permitting we will have the tables set up outside with bargains for all anglers and some very good specials in store as well.
The sale will start at 6am on Sunday and will go all day, but only on the Sunday.
We will start to advertise the specials in the week before the sale on our Facebook page or website as well as on the front window of the shop.
It will be a busy day in town on the Sunday with the annual San Remo Fishing festival on.
There will be plenty to do for the whole family with market stalls and rides for the kids while Charlie Micallef from The Australian Seafood Show and local business Bass Strait Direct will be showing you how to fillet and cook your catch.
There will be plenty to see and do with the festival kicking off from around 9am and the demonstrations starting not long after.
If you are into art the very popular Rotary Club Art Show will be on all weekend.
It’s a busy time locally so all we have to do is keep our fingers crossed that the weather plays its part.
The Labour Day weekend will also see the running of the postponed San Remo Fishing Competition and with over $2,000 of prizes to be won, it is attracting a lot of interest.
There is also a prize to be won even if you don’t catch a fish, with everyone that enters going into the draw for a $650 rod and reel combo.
Entry forms can be downloaded off our website, Facebook page or picked up in store.
You can enter any time before the weekend and on the Saturday morning of the long weekend.
I know I say it often that fishing has been all over the place but that’s just how it has been for weeks now and yes, I’m repeating myself again because fishing has been all over the place this week.
Inconsistency has been the reports from those who had fished several days last week.
One customer told me he bagged out of whiting one morning, caught two fish the next day then nothing in two trips, then not quite bagging out but a good bag of fish the next time – all in the same area.
The best of the whiting reports this week have come from the Cowes side of the bay, especially from the kayaks off Ventnor.
Those fishing Cleeland Bight for whiting fished early and had better luck as the tide change got closer to daylight.
They said the fish were good size but everyone both in Cleeland Bight and Dickies Bay said they managed a good feed but not huge numbers.
I would expect with the better tides and forecast for early in the week plenty more will be out chasing their whiting.
Pinkies were swimming in the whiting areas this week with almost everyone reporting whiting also catching a handful of pinkies as well.
The pinkies with the whiting were small and plenty of undersized ones and only the odd one worth taking home.
There were some good pinkies reported this week with the best reports coming from people visiting and fishing middle of the day or tides, not when you would expect to get them.
The best of the catches came from the channel edges or places you would normally target bigger snapper, like Elizabeth Island and the deeper water off Rhyll.
Those who fished on the corals found a few smaller pinkies but were kept busy with undersized flathead and gummies.
We had several reported around the 40cm mark and customers said they thought they almost looked like new fish.
It may be a second run of snapper which after the reports from this season it wouldn’t surprise me.
If you are after the bigger pinkies, from the reports this week you should target your deeper snapper areas and channel edges.
Gummies are always a by-product of snapper or it can be the other way around, but it’s not unusual to land both in one session.
Gummies this week followed the pinkies and the better ones came from the deeper areas with plenty of very small ones from the corals and shallow areas.
We saw some good gummies from Cowes and Rhyll jetties as well this week, but before you get too excited they were caught at the end of all-night sessions, so time and patience is needed.
To continue with the unusual reports this week, one of the best spots for calamari has been off the Rhyll jetty, maybe why the gummies have been there.
For some reason San Remo jetty has gone very quiet, even when things are considered perfect for catching them with tide and light.
The boats are a little better but no one is catching their bag and it’s been hard work in all the usual bay spots.
Offshore was a little better it was just the problem of getting through the couta to get to anything else.
Most of the couta are small with the odd bigger one showing up now, but even the small ones are capable of pinching your jigs or rigs.
When you get past them there are some good flathead in size and number, and squid of both species, arrow and calamari, and even the odd cuttlefish.
Salmon schools were fewer this week and only a couple of reports of them, but we did see two kingfish that were caught at The Pinnacle off Cape Woolamai.