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

THE near perfect conditions that were forecast early in the week for Sunday didn’t quite happen, but I guess no one was too surprised to see the weather bureau get it wrong again. While the wind did drop slightly and the rain stayed away, it was still a moderate north westerly in the morning which made the areas around Elizabeth and the corals a little bumpy once the tide turned. It was one of those days where the conditions dictated where you could fish comfortably. Areas like below the bridge in Cleeland Bight, with the wind coming over the dunes and run out tide, was probably one of the better spots, and as the day went on conditions cleaned up a little and it was more a wind on tide that made it look worse. Several boats headed out, and while there wasn’t a big bunch of boats all in the one spot on the corals, while you were travelling you could see individual boats tucked into corners looking for a calmer spot to fish.
The reports reflected the conditions with most reports early in the week from land based customers and the odd boating report, and then from Saturday afternoon and Sunday a few boating reports. The weather has again stopped many of my whiting fishermen from getting to their favourite spot, because of just enough side on wind to the tide to keep the boat yawing all over the place. While you might get away with it fishing snapper or gummies in the deeper water, it’s difficult to fish for whiting in the shallows with the boat moving all over the place. Short of putting out a couple of anchors and bridling the boat, which takes a bit of practice, there isn’t a lot you can do.
Having said that I have a couple of customers that are reasonably successful in these conditions fishing for both squid and whiting using the moving boat as an advantage. What they will do is firstly work out the direction the boat is going to move, carefully pick the spot to be moving over a weed bed, let out twice as much anchor rope as normal to get more movement, and then fish away. Fishing for squid they don’t change the rigs, they simply use a simple jig under a float or just cast and retrieve, but for whiting the rig they use is a bit different. Use a running sinker style set up with your main line to a swivel, and then about 60cm of leader to a hook, the only difference is don’t use a sinker then you will find your bait floats across the weed as the boat moves. If you are moving a bit quicker a split shot sinker or two might be needed. This method only works in the shallows and not the deep, but it might be worth a try next time you are out rather than just heading in when the wind changes.
Most people are out in the boats chasing snapper at this time of the year, but with the current conditions it has been tough. There were a couple of small windows in the evenings during the week to head off to Corinella and over to French island, but you were only able to get a couple of hours before the winds picked up. We had a few reports but no one managed more than 2 snapper each at best. The size was good, with all reported over 4kg, but everybody also told me it was hard work and they certainly weren’t jumping into the boat. Sunday was just as slow, and while conditions were a little better the weather was still dictating where you could fish. It was the dirty water and weed that made fishing more difficult. I had a couple of reports but they were nothing to get excited about, and with the water temperature cold and so much water still pouring into the bay from the hills it seems it will be back to the years of just after grand final weekend before they fire up. As we all know though it can happen anytime and probably only needs a few fine days and more people fishing.
There were a couple of fishing clubs down over the weekend, spending time on the surf beaches looking for salmon. Fishing was tough on Saturday, but improved slightly Sunday, although the wind was still moderate and out of the west across the beach. It was a case of just find a clean piece of beach and fish it for as long as you can until the weed turned up, and then either wait or go for a walk! It was worse at the Kilcunda beaches, with less weed at the island beaches. What was the same was that fishing required a bit of work, and most of the salmon were on the small side. The reports were a mixture of baits and lures with more caught on baits, probably because of the weed in the water.
Calamari reports are still not hitting any great heights but do seem to be on the improve from both boats and land. There are a few more stains on the San Remo jetty and a couple of reports have come from the Newhaven and Cowes jetties. The beaches at Woolamai and Ventnor are starting to produce a few when the tide and time of the day are right, with silver whiting on a spike under a float the best. Those who have been successful with artificial lures are reporting all sorts of colours, and nothing is standing out at all as being the best.