By Craig Edmonds of Jim’s Bait and Tackle, San Remo
FOR the last two years on every Sunday I have sat down and written a fishing report, and then on a Monday I send it out to 100’s of people via email and to the newspapers.
And except for a handful of customers, I don’t really know who reads it, and it still surprises me, at this time of the year especially, that so many visitors come down from all regions of Melbourne and engage in a conversation with me in response to my report that they have somehow managed to get their hands on.
If you are coming down at any time, even if you do your tackle shopping somewhere else, please call in and say “hi” and we will help you out with the latest reports.
We try to make our reports more than just a list of points. They are stories about your experiences, with lots of pictures, and we thank everyone for all the comments we have had over the last few weeks regarding the way the reports are written.
We often get asked about whether they are genuine, because we don’t mention names, but I can assure you the reports we do are all based on what we are told over the counter with most asking us not to mention names, which we respect.
However, while we try not to push too many agendas there is the odd occasion that I will write about something that creates a bit of conversation, and this week is one of those weeks.
A couple of weeks ago there was a very large blue marlin caught in Exmouth, in Western Australia, which is a record capture for that state.
This capture caused a lot of conversation from both sides of the fence with some of the social media conversation becoming heated at times.
Over this Christmas holiday period I don’t remember ever having in the past so many people telling me about all the fish that are being caught that are either too big or too small.
Many of the conversations that are put up against catches, big or small, are of an ethical or moral, call it what you want, type of argument which is not a problem, but it is just that we have a thing called “the law” that actually takes care of the what and the how.
There are many people who fish that believe some fish minimum lengths and bag limits should be changed, but the place to mention this is when the fisheries ask for feedback, something very few people do.
As for the big fish, there are many arguments for keeping them and releasing some of the smaller ones we would normally keep because some species become less effective as far as breeding the older they get. There are many many things that just aren’t known about fish species regarding breeding ages etc, and a lot that is known that would be of benefit to be released so people could keep and release the best size fish.
The arguments regarding the marlin caught in Exmouth have some good points on both sides, with those against using the argument of it being an old fish which should therefore be released, and the other side saying the economic and scientific benefit warranted keeping it. For those for, it was a record fish, that was the reason they kept it, and the other benefits came after. For those against, apart from the moral argument, there were no laws broken and is it really any worse than the large numbers of marlin and other fish that are cut off commercial long lines every year to become fish food because they can’t keep them. This, of course, is not the commercial operators’ fault, but is more to do with their rules, and this is a whole other conversation. The reason I mention the above is because over the holiday period I have had several conversations with people, many new to fishing, who were confused about fish sizes after being told by other fishermen around them that they shouldn’t be keeping the fish they have just caught because they are too small, despite being legal length. One conversation with a family with a young boy stood out, and it was something we probably don’t want to be hearing. Fishing at one of the island’s jetties with his new fishing rod he managed to catch himself his first flathead. He got out his fisheries ruler and measured the fish and, while only just there, it was a legal size so he picked it up and went to put it in his bag to take home to show mum and dad. But then the person next to him gave him a lecture on keeping fish of that size, and eventually convinced him to throw it back where it floated away.
The parents said the young boy for the rest of the week didn’t head back to the jetty as he was so upset. As I said towards the start there are laws in place regarding what we can catch and what size fish we can catch, and the rest of the arguments are moral opinions which are probably best kept to yourself. If your opinion is that strong then talk to the people that make the laws and fill in the surveys when they come around. If the catch is a big one or a small one, providing the catch isn’t against the law the angler has done nothing wrong.
As you can probably tell fishing reports have been a bit slow this week, with a lot of people back at work and the weather not the best. But, as it always is for this time of the year, as someone leaves someone else arrives, and with the forecast of more favourable weather this week I expect to see reports come in again. Although it was slow for the time of the year we still had plenty of reports coming in, including a few more land based reports and some quality catches by the kids from both land and boats.
Calamari were plentiful this week, but not for everybody, with one customer summing up the reports perfectly. He fished the San Remo Jetty, right time and tide for four nights in a row, for a grand total of two calamari. On the fifth night, he decided to stay back at the caravan and not bother. Then, later that week while walking on the jetty, he spoke to someone who fished on that night he wasn’t there, and as obvious as the end of a bad movie he was told that he and his mate bagged out. They were small calamari and only two were of reasonable size but there were lots of them, never the less. As I said, that summed up the calamari in general, but you needed an even better guess as to when they were going to be on the bite.
Boating and kayak reports came from Cleeland Bight, Dickies Bay, Reef Island, Ventnor, and off Tortoise Head, with Cowes, San Remo and even Newhaven Jetty producing. While we don’t often see patterns in jig colour many of the reports were from those using white or orange jigs.
Whiting, sadly to say, have been even worse this week than over the last few weeks from the majority of the reports, although no doubt the next customer who walks through the door will tell us how good are they at the moment and pull out their phone to show us a picture of an esky full! I don’t think there are too many tricks. As the good reports are coming from the same areas as the bad reports, I think it has more to do with timing, which I know is fairly obvious, although the good reports all came from an hour either side of a tide change.
The usual Dickies Bay, Cleeland Bight and Bass River side of Reef Island. Dickies bay reports telling us that after catching a couple of whiting either pike or garfish turn up, which doesn’t help as the pike scare the whiting away, and with so many garfish the whiting don’t stand a chance.
While the pike are a nuisance the garfish are a bonus, just have your gear ready to go.
Insofar as kingfish are concerned, the rumours continue, with the best for the week rumoured to be a 26kg one caught off the cape. The problem was that when asked about the length we were told about 90cm, in which case it must have been a very fat fish! As for the real reports, there were more from those fishing offshore, who saw them in the water swimming around the boat chasing up the salmon or pinkies that were hooked, that from those who actually landed kingfish. The only reports of keepers we have had are from those who are under the water and wearing wetsuits, flippers and facemasks, but it will only be a matter of time for the rest of us, as the next two months or so are always the most popular for kingfish.
Offshore flathead have been the saviour for all that have a boat and have been able to head. The sizes have been good, and the numbers are good, but don’t head out too far as they have mostly been in close, at around the 30m line. There is a good mixture of tigers now, and several people have reported landing pinkies in the same areas, especially when you get further towards Kilcunda and the rough ground off the Powlett.