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

ANOTHER Christmas holidays over and back to some normality, catching up on rod and reel repairs.
It is also back to quieter waterways and quicker launch and retrieval at the boat ramps. While it will be quiet for the next couple of weeks while everyone gets back into a routine we should start to see a pick up in the fishing reports.
We took over the business around 12 years ago and in all reality not a lot has changed in the reports we get. We have seen patterns of good years and bad years for one species or another but basically like fishing itself, wait long enough and they start biting again.
One other thing that hasn’t changed is the barrage of, shall we just say, comments about needing a fishing license and a pass to launch your boat.
Admittedly the majority of complaints comes from those from interstate where there are no ramp fees and in some cases no fishing licenses, but a percentage of them come from the locals, mostly about the boat ramps. I try to explain as politely as possible, that we simply sell the passes and have no more control over the state of the ramps than they do.
We all know there are many improvements needed and I am, on the odd occasion, a boat ramp user as well so I know exactly what people are saying but the people you should be calling are the people in charge of the boat ramps, BCS.
If you are not happy with the facilities you are paying for then do something about it and call the council, please don’t come in and tell me as I don’t really care. All I am after is the commission from the ramp passes! The facts are, aside from doing what everyone else can do, call or write to the council, I don’t have a magic wand to fix it.
If no one complains to them then from their perspective, there isn’t a problem. It won’t happen overnight and you will not change the need to pay for the use of the ramp, which when you compare it to other areas is still relatively cheap, but enough complaints might just start a conversation. Just to clear up another bit of confusion and incorrect comment from some, you need the pass to, launch, retrieve and park, car and trailer at boat ramps, as clearly stated on the back of the ticket.
Launching or retrieving then parking at home doesn’t exempt you from needing a pass. The one pass allows you to use Cowes, Rhyll, San Remo and Inverloch ramps as many times a year as you want, Corinella is not included.
For the last few years I have had customers tell me the experts are saying it will be a bad whiting season and while it hasn’t happened I guessed that eventually it would and it seems this is the season. While every day in fishing is different it would appear that the whiting has a definite pattern at the moment, and they are very difficult to find. I can’t remember a time when we have had so many frustrated whiting fishermen all second guessing themselves and what they are doing. If you are one of them don’t stress too much because you are well and truly in the majority, and if your normal ideas aren’t working do/try something different you couldn’t be any worse off. It will turn around because it always does, which is why we keep going back. the trick is working out when that will be, next week, next month or next season. While that sounds doom and gloom there are, as always, exceptions and we did see some good bags of whiting this week. Numbers are certainly down but the quality remains and as I explained to one customer during the week, while you are not bagging out the 10 or so you are getting are most probably equal in weight to the 20 you have been getting over the last few seasons. It’s almost impossible to tell you the best place to head because there just isn’t a definite pattern so the only thing I could suggest is to keep trying your normal spots and times to start with then after a given time do something different.
Garfish are back in the numbers and the sizes we are used to and is the best we have seen for around 4 years. but even they are slightly different than normal with more coming from slightly deeper, often in whiting spots and not the normal 1m or so of water behind the police station. The best times has been early morning tide changes or into the evening, don’t over berley, use just enough to keep them interested and dough and peeled prawns have been the best baits. The best areas this week were behind the police station and in Boys Home channel.
Offshore, and not a lot of opportunity this week but the small windows available produced much the same as it has for the last couple of months with good bags of flathead, salmon, the odd shark out wider with gummies in closer. A few pinkies on the reef off Kilcunda and several bait balls on the sounders but up our end of the world no kings or tuna this week. Those under the water tell me there are plenty of kings there, the odd big one and plenty of rats but very flighty. Some good numbers now of arrow squid and I am told they are at different levels so I find the best way is a wire surf rig, heavy sinker and a couple of bright jigs, cheap ones because you are in Couta territory set up on an old rod, drop it to the bottom, wind it up a couple of turns and keep doing that until you find where they are.
I know the holidays have just finished but Easter is just around the corner this year coming 2 weeks earlier than last year and with it comes our Good Friday Appeal fishing competition.
The competition is going to be bigger than last year with more sponsors coming on board and a bigger prize list. The competition runs for all of Easter and you can fish all days or just one day.
While we invite all types of anglers we try to design the comp around the family having a weekend out fishing together. You don’t need a fancy boat or even to fish offshore because there is just as much chance catching the winning fish off the land.
The best part of the competition is over the weekend as there will be several lucky entry prizes, so you don’t even need to catch a fish to win you just need to enter.
Thanks to Phillip Island Helicopters, the major lucky entry prize will be a helicopter flight for 3, worth entering just to have a chance to win that prize.
There are lots more happening and giveaways, the best place to get all the information is on our Facebook page or instore.
One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that one hundred percent of the entry fees will be donated to the Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal, so let all your friends know, share our Facebook post and come along and have a bit of fun for the weekend while supporting a good cause.
The legal bit for those asking or concerned yes it is a registered fundraising event with the Good Friday appeal Auth No FPA2018/614818, the monies raised will be combined with the other fundraisers in San Remo and donated as a combined total.