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

THANKYOU to all the people that called in or phoned up with comments about last weeks fishing report. The comments were varied and some were stronger than others, but if it creates conversation and gets people thinking about these things, and gets more people to fill out those surveys next time the fisheries put them out, then it will have been worth it. Several people also admitted questioning other anglers about the fish they were keeping, without ever really thinking about it. As I tried to make it clear last week, there is a huge difference between your standards and the actual law. And, at the end of the day, the lawmakers are the ones to attack not the angler who is staying within his rights.
It’s been another week of mixed weather and mixed reports with very little pattern to any of it and the only comment, common to all, was that you had to work at it. We had some good reports and are back to a large variety of fish. The reports were a mixture of land based and boating reports and one group of reports that is growing is that of kayak and the new one, jet-skis! The advantage of the yaks and the skis is that they are getting into places where boats can’t and land based can’t reach. The yaks especially are much quieter and this is probably why my best reports of calamari and whiting are from them. Jet skis, as always, create plenty of conversation, and that is mainly due to a very few clowns that think they are a little better than everyone else and have their own set of rules, travelling much too fast around jetties or too close to other boaters. As for launching, and loading, and even travelling fast on the water, they also have the right to do it within the law. Before those who do the right thing on a jet ski get on the phone, let us admit that the idiots are in the minority and nobody has any problem with those doing the right thing. And, of course, there are plenty of idiots in boats as well. Because there is that whole boat v ski problem maybe a few words to those not doing the right thing from other ski riders will have more impact, before someone gets injured or worse because a whole new set of rules would be created.
Whiting reports improved slightly this week, with no one getting very good numbers, but several managing a feed at least. What I am finding at the moment is, with fishing slow, people are trying different things to work out the fish, and while some are successful plenty are still looking for the secret. A couple of customers from Melbourne that spent plenty of time during the day fishing for whiting doing all the right things for little reward decided to try something completely different. Launching the boat at around 10.00pm from Newhaven, they travelled up to Dickies bay and to their surprise managed to almost bag out. To see if it was just beginners luck they did the same thing the very next night and with the same result, the problem was it was the last two days of their holidays and they wished they had of thought of it at the start instead of the end. Both times they fished until just after midnight and said the whiting, once they came on fished solid for up to an hour. They caught most on pilchard fillet, or on a cocktail of pilchard and pippi, also saying that toadies were all but non-existent. While there on the second night they put a bigger rod out of the back of the boat, with a full pilchard on it, and while it only got hit once and they didn’t see it the reel lost plenty of line before the hooks came out.
Others, chasing whiting, reported that the fish they caught came mostly from very early morning, which was much better than the evening. Cleeland Bight was the better of the areas and on both sides as well. Noticeably the yaks produced better reports this week, and most told me they were concentrating on fishing along the edge of the banks rather that in slightly deeper water. Being holiday time often the fishing times are a bit more casual, and several of the reports came from during the middle of the day or the afternoon, but the quality or numbers were nothing like those reported from the early morning. We also had some reports from Tortoise Head and Rhyll bank, and while this week there will be a bit of water traffic still and certainly by the forecast the weekend will be busy on the water, the fish haven’t left for their holidays and I am expecting the first few weeks into February will see a big change in the reports we are getting.
One customer who was fishing for whiting in Cleeland Bight got a bit of a shock when his reel started screaming off. Thinking ray or something not so wanted, he got a bit of a shock when he got a sight of it only to see it was a kingfish. After a bit of a fight and a few near misses with the anchor rope and other obstacles he managed to land it which is a great effort on whiting gear. Other kingfish reports came from offshore and again most from under the water but this week most reports were sighting only. The boats were the same, with a few customers telling me they had kingfish come up the berley trail only to find that nothing they could do would encourage them to take a bait or lure. Mind you, it will only be a matter of time, and I think we will see more in February once the autumn weather patterns arrive. If you are heading out for a flathead drift or a shark fishing day leave half an hour earlier and once you get past the red pole drop a spread of lures in the water and troll along the edge of Cape Woolamai and over the panicle. At worse you might find a school of salmon to add to the berley mix.
Pinkies were hard work and we only had a handful of reports, mostly from those chasing whiting or gummies. Rhyll was the best place, in early morning, with a couple of reports from Cleeland Bight before lunchtime. Once the sun got up, and those on holiday put their boatsin areas like the corals, it produced a few, but you struggled to get past the undersize gummies.