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

THE San Remo Easter Fishing Competition is on this weekend with 100% of the entry money being donated to the Good Friday Appeal. We have had a huge amount of support for this competition and thanks to local businesses we have over 50 prizes that you have a chance of winning just for entering. These prizes include vouchers from IGA, San Remo Co-op, San Remo Hotel, Bass Strait Direct, Vietnam Vets Museum, Reel Obsession fishing charters, Jewelry from Goldsmiths Gallery, a single bed quilt from Organature, hampers from Sweetly, books from Turn the Page book shop, plus the major prize of a flight from Phillip Island Helicopters! There are dozens of other prizes from our suppliers and this is just for entering. Then there are all the prizes for the heaviest in each category, as well as more prizes for secret weight of each species in the category list. And just in case that isn’t enough, all the kids that enter will receive a show bag.
We have been asked during the week why we don’t include species like Makos or kingfish and other bigger fish that can be caught here and while it might attract a few more people the idea behind the competition was to make it as family friendly as possible without being too serious while trying to raise a bit of money for a good cause.
Entries are available in store or via email and social media and you can enter up until 2.00pm on Friday. Fishing starts Friday morning and finishes on Monday at 1.00pm, so fish all days or just a couple of days. If you can’t get here before the deadline and want to enter just call the shop and we can do it over the phone.
To continue with the weird season, we have had the winds, and instead of being light north east they have been very strong due east. While we get the odd easterly it’s unusual that they are as strong as they have been lately. And as anybody that knows this area of the bay knows, it doesn’t come much worse than an east or southeast wind pattern. It seems to blow all the mud off the banks and turns the bay an unpleasant shade of mud, and it even has an effect offshore, stirring up the water and making it very cloudy. Not only does this make it dirty, but it also makes most of the bay un-fishable. The only good thing is they normally don’t last for long.
While I hate looking too far in advance with the weather forecast, because it’s never accurate, it appears from the forecast I am looking at that everything should clear up for the Easter, school holiday, break. And while we are all desperate for rain, both for the gardens and the tanks and the dams, hopefully it will stay away for another couple of weeks, or for most of April, which would be good.
There were limited opportunities this week, but some of the reports we did get were promising for the Easter break coming up. To continue the odd season, over the last two weeks we have had several snapper over 5kg reported. Normally when we get reports like this, at this time of the year, the fish are very obviously resident fish, but looking at the pictures customers are showing us it’s more like the fish you expect to see in October. One customer showed us a picture of two snapper he caught, one just under and one just over 5kg, and they looked like two different species they were so different in colour. The reports of pinkies have come from the corals and in Cleeland Bight, and the odd one off Cowes, which might be more to do with the conditions than lack of fish. Although we are seeing some very small pinkies now there are plenty of the 35cm plus ones being caught.
Insofar as Whiting are concerned, about the only advice I can give is keep trying they will come back sooner or later. The reports have improved a little and the ones we have got were promising, with the weather seeming to be a bigger factor than lack of fish. Whiting fishermen rely on the weather to play a big part, and with the wind in the wrong direction it makes it difficult to get the boat to sit the right way in the tide, and most are very fussy with time and type of tides as well. The other problem has been with the windy weather, which stirs up a bit of fine weed and when you are fishing shallow. On the limited opportunities when everything was aligned we had a few very good reports and more promising were the number of small fish that were reported up around the Bass River area. With the speed whiting grow these smaller fish will eventually become sizeable fish in the spring. Some of the better reports are still coming from deeper water but on the overcast days it seems they are travelling back to the shallows.

New spearfishing club

Local waters are considered ideal for spearfishing.

THE sport of spearfishing is growing. Properly undertaken, local enthusiasts say it’s safe and sustainable.
A spearfisher has to see their quarry before targeting, so spearfishing is the most selective of all fishing methods.
Most spearfishers disdain the use of compressed air, freediving using only snorkel and pursuing their quarry on one breath.
The waters adjacent to Phillip Island and the Bass Coast offer excellent opportunities for spearfishing with lots of suitable reefy habitat.
Spearfishers can chase great eating species such as flathead, silver trevally, snapper and King George whiting.
They can also access more elusive species such as the delicious boarfish.
Scallops, squid, abalone and crayfish can be had too.
More experienced spearfishers also take trophy species such as kingfish and bluefin tuna.
Spearfishers in the area are getting together. A new club has met several times in San Remo, and looks like developing from there.
The club places an emphasis on information sharing and welcomes newcomers.
If you are interested in getting into spearfishing, with some club involvement, or just broadening your skills, request to join the club’s Facebook page ‘Phillip Island & Bass Coast Spearfishing Club’.
As well as providing a venue for posting pictures of catch, the page will announce date and locations of future meetings.