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

Many of the fish caught were undersize and returned to the water but that didn’t seem to matter too much judging by the smiles.

One has to wonder if we are going to pay soon for all the good weather we have had over the last couple of months. While it has been cold and we have had some very windy days you have to go back quite a few years to get the same stretches of the good Autumn/Winter weather we have been getting on recent weekends. Over the last few years the pattern has been for the odd good day during the week and impossible fishing weather on the weekends. This long weekend has continued the pattern and although very foggy, with cloudy starts, the sun eventually broke through and we had perfect afternoons.
The fishing was what you expect of this time of the year but with a lot more people fishing we had several quality reports. The reports came from both the land and from the boats and while numbers were down or, should I say, about right for winter, the quantity of species was typical with most people reporting up to about 6 or so in a day’s fishing. The other thing that came from the reports was the usual inconsistency of where or when the fish were caught. It was a bit of a guessing game, but with perseverance and being prepared to move around a bit you could at least get a good feed of fish for tea.
If you wanted undersize gummies it didn’t take a lot of skill or knowledge, just park yourself on the corals somewhere and drop a bait in the water. It seems several gummies must have come into the bay over the moon and pupped because there were 100s of them. Finding a size one was the challenge and while we didn’t see a lot we did see some. The most consistent reports for size gummies was from our land based customers, and the reports were spread out between Stockyard and Temby points as well as the Rhyll jetty and a couple from Grantville. The biggest of the gummies reported, as you would expect, came from the boats with one from near Elizabeth Island and another from the lower end of the western entrance, both around the 8kg mark. There were a few elephant fish caught at Temby point as well. We’re not sure why, or maybe it is just that no one is fishing there, but we haven’t had a gummy report from the beach at Woolamai for a long time. The beach at Anzacs was always a good spot to fish for your gummies on the moon. You would look for a tide change after dark and head down early to catch a salmon or two for bait then you could go home have an early tea then get back to the beach just before dark. Maybe it’s just a forgotten spot, and one to remember next time you want to target a land based gummy on the next moon.
With the light winds, offshore was the place to head, and you didn’t need to go too far to find the flathead. There were some very good reports from not far outside the entrance in 30m to 40m of water, and with a few short drifts it was possible to get your bag once you found the schools of them. The sizes were mixed and the average around the mid 30cm but the odd high 40cm one was also caught. Most of the flathead came from east of the cape and some reports even came from 15m to 20m just outside the entrance. Those who fished in close also found several couta and larger models than have been around recently. The couta were out a bit further as well, but not as many, and out further there was the odd salmon also. Normally silver whiting are small and take a bit of care to fillet but lately they have been much bigger and you can get a much better feed off them. Those catching them on the weekend were finding them mid water in 25m to 30m. Towards the glass house was the best.
Whiting reports were coming in but impossible to get a pattern on the best spot or the best time to chase them. All the usual spots were the place to be but best times weren’t as you would normally expect them to be. The successful people over the last week basically went out when they had time, heading to a spot they thought would be right for the time of the tide and day, but they were prepared to move around. Generally, they didn’t catch their fish on the first stop but picked them up over a number of spots. Several customers also told me they would go back to their original spot towards the end of their session and pick up a few then. While it might sound like I am making it up that’s exactly how customers have been giving us their reports. Even with as many reports as we get it has been almost impossible to tell customers the best time or spot to go, with no pattern to the reports. The best advice I could give is to head out and move around because the fish are there, judging on the amount and quality we had reported. We had reports from almost every spot you would expect to catch whiting and even a couple from spots less common, like the corals. The whiting we had reported over the weekend were all mixed in size but not many that were under 30cm and most of them were closer to mid 30cm. The best this week was a bit below the best of the last month but at 44cm in the condition they are in at the moment still quality fish.
Some good numbers of Salmon are being reported now but I think it has a lot more to do with the large number of fishing on the beaches, now that the boats are all packed up in the shed. People are still wanting to get out for a fish! The salmon from the beaches at Woolamai have averaged around the 600g, but we have seen the odd big 2kg one. The bigger ones have been reported from customers using lures and covering a bit more of the beach, going to where the fish are. Those using baits have mostly caught good numbers of the smaller ones. Blue bait is the best of the baits, a paternoster rig and adding a surf popper also helps, but colour doesn’t seem to matter, and with the lower swell it has meant that you could down sinker size making it a bit easier to fish.
Over 30 kids took part in the Kids Family Fun Fishing Day run by, That’s The Thing About Fishing and the Corinella Angling Club on Sunday on the San Remo jetty, and the majority of them had never fished before! The weather was cool but kind, with no rain. Not that it seemed to bother the kids, as they caught a variety of fish, toadies, flathead, whiting, small salmon and the odd banjo during the morning. There were a few major prizes but everyone went away with something from the day. The Corinella Angling club provided a BBQ after the morning’s fishing. They were very happy with the support on the day and they will be looking at running more days in the future, at the jetty.