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

Sam caught a nice flathead on his new spinning rod that Santa bought him.

Lochie and Mia who both love their fishing were very happy with their catch.

Thomas a visitor from Mildura managed some good offshore flathead while he was on holidays.

There has been no shortage of reports this week which is common for this time of the season with so many extra people fishing.
That was until the full moon where it seems someone turned off a tap and the reports stopped. It was something that even the long-time local fishermen struggled to understand with the fishing a little patchy but good, then on the day of the moon it was a struggle to even catch a toad one customer said.
The days since has seen an increase in reports but, probably more to do with the increased boat traffic the numbers are down. This week should see things get back to some normality with many heading back to work and the waterways and jetties a lot quieter.
What is always good to see this time of the year is the amount of reports we get from our younger customers on school holidays. And I say customers because it’s often the kids that bring mum and dad in describing to them as they walk around the shop what they need and what everything is used for. The internet and TV shows provide a huge amount of information, especially the internet where everything is instant and up to date.
While all of this information can be helpful it can also be confusing, and you need to remember the TV shows are there as entertainment and they rely on the edit man to make things look good. The best thing you can do is wherever you go fishing check in with your local tackle shop because that is where you will get the best information on the best spots and gear to use.
We all know that in reality things can be very different and I always tell customers getting into it for the first time the most important piece of fishing tackle you need is something you can’t buy, “patience” I find for people to enjoy fishing more it’s important they fish for the right reasons and that the catching fish, although the objective is actually down the list somewhat. Getting into fishing doesn’t need to be expensive either and there are many entry level rods and reels available and if fishing is something you don’t like you haven’t then spent a fortune.
It has been a good mix of land and boating reports and while not a lot changed in quantity with low numbers not a lot changed in quality either and it remained above average. Some of the best bay reports recently have come from my kayak customers and visitors with kayaks who were easily out doing the boats for calamari and whiting.
What was evident though was they were fishing in exactly the same areas as the boats and not in shallow or hard to get to places boats can’t fish. With reports as one sided as they have been it isn’t something magic or they are much better fishermen, I think it’s just as simple as they are much quieter than boats, generally drift and because of their limited space keep things simple.
The best areas for the whiting and calamari reports have been Cleeland Bight and at Cowes/Ventnor in the evening for both. The boats have been a similar area but more early morning and during the day on the tide changes. Dickies bay has produced a few fish and at time reasonable numbers of smaller fish, but the reports were all over the place as far as times go. Another spot that a few have been sneaking up into is the stretch between reef island and coronet bay fishing the edges of the weed.
Land-based calamari like the boats continue to frustrate although with a lot more fishing at the moment we are getting more reports and numbers aren’t that bad. The problem is the numbers are what you would expect for before Christmas with hardly anybody fishing so all it means is more are catching them but less each.
The San Remo jetty, as always one of the best but early morning before the noise of the swimmers and boat traffic. A couple from Newhaven jetty and from Cowes jetty but generally a struggle. The beach in Cleeland Bight and the beach at Ventnor near the creek have all produced calamari, more from those just down to relax on the beach in the evening with the more serious fishermen staying away from the crowds.
We have had some reports of salmon from the beaches but not the size they are catching in the boats. Several customers fishing offshore have come across the schools of salmon and thrown a few lures into them landing some quality. A few people told me they were sitting their whiting gear in the rod holder with a lure in case they came across a school and almost being spooled when they start casting into the school of fish. While we haven’t weighed any, looking at the photos and the length some of these fish they would be nudging the 3kg mark.
In the boats while they all haven’t been 3kg the majority have been big and many you need to look twice at in the water to see if it is a king or salmon. Lures have just been simple metal slugs in white or pilchard colour and around 25 to 40 grams, between the last green pole and the end of the cape is where the majority have been caught.
The beaches have produced mostly small below 1kg fish and have been on a mixture of bait and lures with weed the problem at most of the popular spots.
Offshore and one customer told me if you can’t catch a flathead at the moment you don’t know how to fish. While I probably wouldn’t go that far the reports are very good and plenty are coming in with the eskys filled with mostly tiger flathead now. The size is good, and they aren’t that far out with reports from 20m to 40m of water from the cape to the windmills.
The closer you are in the smaller the fish and they get bigger as you get deeper but there is a line that when you cross it, around 35m to 40m there is nothing.
The makos reports have continued to come in and although most have been shallow a couple have come in from out wider now as well. We have also had bronze whalers, threshers, blue sharks and gummies reported from offshore but very few school sharks.