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

FOR the first time this year we have finally had warmer days, weekends and no wind all line up, which has seen plenty of people out fishing. Although there has been a significant increase in reports it is more due to the numer of people fishing rather than there being a lot more fish around. Three species are popular at the moment, with snapper being the one on top of the list, followed by calamari and whiting. We headed out for a fish on Sunday morning and headed towards French island, fishing the island side of the channel. We had a variety of baits out and managed plenty of couta, rays and cod until the tide went dead when we landed a red of 70cm. We then made a couple of other moves but only managed two snapper for the day. We did find plenty of couta and rays with the odd cod which is a bit of a sign of just how cold the water is. We saw very few fish caught around us and many boats were moving all over the place, and we only had a handful of reports at the shop. Most of that is still due to the water temperature, because we were able to sound up some good schools of fish and they were in many different depths but just not interested in taking a bait. This week we are expected to get some warm temperatures and I think it will make a big difference to the reports, especially late in the week and over the weekend when we see a low tide around dark, a favourite time for many locals to fish on the top end of the corals.
It was slow but we did get other snapper reports during the week and a couple from land based fishermen as well which is always pleasing as some of these fishermen do some hard yards for their one or two good fish a year. Newhaven and Cowes jetties were the best land based spots, with 3.5kg the best we were told about, and, like the boating reports, the best bait was pilchard. The boating reports we did get came mostly from the top end of the bay from Elizabeth island and up to lang lang. although more were reported this week than the last couple of weeks, as I said earlier, it was because more were fishing, but still not many boats with multiple fish and most only managing one for the session.
The weather have settled down a bit and the whiting fishermen have come out to fish and they were pleased to find that the quality whiting that were around last year are still there. Very similar to last year with not huge bags of fish but with 40cm+ common you don’t need too many for a bag of fillets. Dickies bay and Cleeland Bight were, as usual, the spots to be and I have had some good reports from over the Cowes side as well. There was one thing common to all of the reports and that was the best bags came from the evening, second best from very early morning, and then day time was a struggle. It was also a struggle during the day with couta while in the evening they weren’t as much of a problem, with one customer telling me he has fished a few evenings now and not even seen a couta, but in same spot during the day couldn’t keep a bait or a hook on the line because of them. Like the snapper the best of the baits was pilchard for the whiting, especially when cocktailed with a bit of pippi.
Calamari reports almost mirrored the whiting and you had to decide which you were going to target with the best times the same as each other. Some tried to do both but when you do that you tend to make a bit of a compromise as to exactly where you are fishing, in-between the best spots for both. Surprisingly though when I asked those chasing whiting at those times they didn’t bother throwing over a squid jig at the same time. I think that if you do you might be surprised with the result. Those chasing them during the day time had the same problem as everyone else in the bay and that was couta making it impossible to keep a jig on your line. The calamari when on have been good in number and good in size and several who chased them in the evening got their bag. A little behind last year but still it was noticeably better from the San Remo jetty this week, but totally opposite to the boats and some of the better catches came from the afternoons. All calamari reports were a mixture of baited and artificial jigs. Having said all of the above, every now and again someone walks in and gives us a quality report totally opposite to everyone else, so I guess the old rule applies, “if you want to catch fish simply go fishing and don’t get too tied up in the when and how you should or shouldn’t.”