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

THIS weekend is the labour day long weekend and we will be open from 6.00am on all 3 days, after that we all have to work for a week or so, but then there are more holidays, with Easter and the school holidays. Over Easter we will be open at 6.00am every day and will be having our annual sale, more details over the next couple of weeks on our Facebook page. We will also be running our Easter Fishing Competition for the Good Friday appeal and you can pick up an entry form in store or keep an eye on our Facebook page later in the week where we will post them there. We have had some very good support for this competition again and have put together a prize list worth over $5,000, including plenty of prizes you could win just by entering. We will have random prize draws every hour over the weekend, so you can win even if you don’t catch a fish, and with lucky entry prizes like IGA, San Remo Co-Op, Bass Strait Direct, San Remo Hotel, Vietnam Vets Museum vouchers, an organic cotton bed quilt from Organature, Fishing Monthly subscriptions, jewelry from Goldsmiths Gallery, hampers from Sweetly and the major prize of a helicopter flight from Phillip Island Helicopters. Plus much more. And remember those are just the entry prizes. There is much more for the heaviest of each nominated species in Adults, Juniors and Small Frys, and even if you don’t catch the heaviest there are prizes for secret weight in each category as well. So, plenty of chances to win and you will be supporting a good cause with 100% of the entry money going to the Good Friday Appeal. Competition runs all weekend and entries must be received by 2.00pm on Good Friday.
As I sit and write this report the forecast for the long weekend is perfect, with light winds, low swell and warm temperatures. Unfortunately we all know this means, and that is that it could still be gale force winds and snow, but here’s hoping the forecast is right. What will make it a perfect weekend, even if the weather is a bit off is plenty of fish. Unfortunately, unless you have been able to head offshore it has been a very lean time over the last couple of months. However on a positive note and despite the ordinary weather this week we have had a few more reports which is positive for the holiday period to come.
Whiting are finally being reported. Not bags of fish but several reported, especially from those fishing early and mostly on the weekend. Most of the whiting reports we got this week were of single or a couple of fish so there aren’t 100’s around but certainly more reports than we have been getting over the last month or so. Best place to chase them? Very good question and an impossible one to answer if you base it on where the reports came from. We had reports from all over the place and all of the usual whiting spots but because we didn’t get a lot of consistency to any one area the best thing to do is what you normally would as a starting point. We did get a couple reports from odd areas and one from the channel off Elizabeth Island where a customer thought it was a flathead annoying his gummy setup until he put out a lighter setup with smaller hooks and landed 4 whiting all around 36cm. There were two reports from Cowes Jetty and plenty reported in the water at San Remo Jetty, but at San Remo that’s where they stayed just looking at baits and not taking anything. We even had a couple of whiting from one of the open beaches on the island. While it is a little more positive it is still a long way from what is expected this time of the year, but still positive.
Pinkies have been good again this week and there seems to be a few more that have moved in now, although thety are smaller and many are undersized. You can still manage to get a good feed of quality pinkies, just expect a few small ones stealing your baits. The best spot for the pinkies has been in Cleeland Bight on the high tide and above the bridge in the main channel near the first channel marker but only on the last of the low tide. Then, the other spots you would expect to catch them around the corals and in the area between the top channel light and Reef island. I have seen a couple of boats on the Rhyll bank halfway back to San Remo on the start of the run in tide.
Offshore just continues to produce although the water has rolled over a bit with the windy days and has upset the kingfish a bit. It will clean up, the blue water will come back and there is no reason we won’t be getting reports for the next couple of months. It hasn’t affected the flathead too much and there were plenty of them reported with the main difference, apart from the obvious windier days, that the flathead have spread around and you might need a couple of drifts to find the bigger schools. You will also find plenty of pinkies around the end of Cape Woolamai on the heavy ground and don’t forget the big bait for a gummy. There have been some quality gummies further down towards Kilcunda, and another bronze whaler that was lost at the boat, estimated at around 100kg! The colour of the water hasn’t done anything to slow the salmon down and the big models are still around, so make sure that you have the salmon lures ready to go, and put them on the whiting gear for a bit of extra battle.