By Craig Edmonds of Jim’s Bait and Tackle


Snapper are appearing again off local beaches, as reported by Jim’s Bait and Tackle.

CUP weekend is traditionally the start to the tourist season and many use it to come down to the holiday house or on-site van to start the clean-up and maintenance ready for the summer period. This weekend was no different than other cup day weekends with plenty of people around, the problem was the weather didn’t play its part, with most days starting cold and windy with only some patches of fine weather. Looking back through the diary and two years ago it was 32 deg on the cup day weekend Saturday. The strange weather patterns we get these days makes it difficult to find that window to head out for a fish, and I guess you just need to be ready and go when conditions are right.
That’s exactly what was happening this weekend and we are finding people are starting to plan their fishing trips to fish where the conditions will let them. Those who fish Westernport will know the most important thing to know about this bay is not where the mud banks are but which way the tide and wind are and how one affects the other. If you understand this then there aren’t too many days you can’t fish somewhere in the bay. On days like we have had recently we are finding customers are doing shorter trips, often coming in for lunch or to do something else during the day, just fishing either end of the day and where the tide and wind allowed. That’s exactly what was happening over the weekend with plenty of success and some quality fish amongst them.
Land based anglers weren’t left out either and many got amongst some good catches, mostly from the jetties but several from the beaches as well. Finally, the calamari reports are becoming more regular and the numbers are getting better also. It still is patchy at times, but the reports are the best they have been for some time. There were several days during the week at the San Remo jetty where the calamari were easily seen in the water but were just not interested in taking a jig. We had several calamari reported that were 40cm or better in the hood length which can be a challenge to land, often taken to the beach requiring a little assistance from others fishing nearby. Cleeland Bight was the best of the beaches, and Ventnor was a little quieter, and only a couple of reports from Cowes and Newhaven jetties. From the beaches the best was baited jigs with the artificial jigs now working better from the jetties. On the water, those who had the most success were the first ones there or were fishing from a kayak. The kayaks were better from off Cowes to Ventnor with some good average size ones caught. Cleeland Bight wasn’t as good in numbers but those caught from kayaks were much bigger, and all those caught from kayaks came on artificial jigs and drifting across the weed beds. Boating at Cleeland bight was the best spot but you needed to be early because once a few boats turned up the calamari became harder to catch. We had several reports over the last week from customers bagging out in Cleeland Bight, with 90% caught on artificial jigs.
Improving calamari reports or, probably more importantly, fewer reports of couta being caught has also seen more whiting reports come in. It has been a mixed bag of whiting reports with several small and even undersized ones caught. The smaller ones have been only in one area, around Reef Island, with other areas producing the quality we have come to expect over the last couple of years. The evening has been best by far and those fishing during the day are catching one or two then making a move to find another one or two. The morning first thing when the tide changes on daylight wasn’t too bad, especially in Cleeland Bight, but the most reports came from those who put the boat in the water after work and headed to their favourite spot, usually the top end, Dickies Bay, Bass River and were set up before the sun went down. Then, as the sun was setting, started catching whiting with the bite often lasting an hour or so after dark.
As you would expect, snapper make up most of the reports this time of the year and they have been good, although patchy at times from both boats and land. We had some very good reports during the week from the Cowes jetty with a couple of reasonable size snapper but good numbers of pinkies. A few less from Newhaven but the biggest we had reported, just under 6kg, was caught from the jetty. As is often the case it was caught when everyone says you are wasting your time fishing there, middle of the day, mid tide and from someone that had only fished there a couple of times and really had no idea the right place to be. He was also on his own and it was a challenge for him to land it. Boating, and the pattern of deep water early morning and shallower as the day went on especially those days when the sun was out during the low tide was the case this week also. The best reports from early morning came from Silverleaves, Rhyll hole and the channel along the island. Then, as the day went on, reports were coming from the corals then onto the mud in the evening. There was some quality caught this week with a couple of genuine 20 pounders and plenty around the 6kg plus. Already we are starting to get reports of pinkies, undersize as well, and some of the bigger snapper we have seen are very dark in colour with virtually no spots at all, suggesting they have been in the bay for some time. There are still plenty of reports coming from the top end around Lang Lang, Temby and Corinella also but there isn’t the same pattern and the reports suggest that it is more tide sensitive. The only problem, as one customer told us, it can be easier to find a spot in the car park than on the water with plenty of people heading that way. The best baits again this week has been pilchards, but we are still getting plenty of reports from customers that are getting their baits hit hard with a short but good run only to pick the rod up and findding nothing there. I don’t think it has much to do with the bait used or the rig used with those reporting this using all types.
We are getting plenty of reports of other species both from land and boats with salmon the next most reported. There have been some good size schools in the bay and constant reports from the beaches. There have been several rays, banjos and port Jacksons reported and some good numbers and size of trevally. Gummies have been difficult to find and while most are looking for snapper they are generally in the same area, and we normally get reports almost as a by-catch. We did get some reports with the best a very healthy 9kg male caught in the shallows off coronet bay one evening during the week.

Corinella’s mulloway catch

Kane Ricketts and his 12kg mulloway.

OCTOBER has seen some excellent catches by members of the Corinella Boating and Angling Club.
Kane Ricketts fished with mates Colin Eden and Daniel Corby, and caught a 12kg mulloway. The boys also brought in three good size snapper (including 5.47kg and 7.12kg snapper). Kane also managed a squid of 2.32kg.
Rob Kelson fished with son Brian and brought in some good snapper. Brian won the October comp over the weekend of October 23-25 with a 4kg snapper, and Mick Egeberg won the Whiting division with a 420g whiting. Both were awarded fishing rods and reels for their efforts.
Richard Harper fished midweek with Allan Willoughby and they bagged out on whiting.
New members are always welcome, please check website for details of club competitions and events, and to join online.