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

Kevin and Julie manage a respectable snapper on the corals last week.

EVERY day we receive plenty of messages through our email or social media to go with the constant flow of phone calls, and while most are calls from people looking for information, we get the odd message that isn’t quite so complementary, that just comes with owning a business.
The calls and messages which confuse us the most however are the ones that just wanted to let us now they were over at the boat ramp or on the jetty and they saw a person with undersize fish, just thought we would let you know so as you can investigate it.
I am glad they are taking notice of what is going on but sadly for them I can’t do any more than they can. If you do see someone with undersized fish or too many – the best ones to call are fisheries, they can actually do something about it.
We also had some comments recently on a post we put up on Facebook showing a table full of fish.
Was probably our failing to not put more information and to mention that there were 6 people on the boat and when you look at it that way it was an average day’s catch per person. We also hear and read plenty of comments around social media from keyboard critics regarding how many fish someone has taken or the size of the fish someone has kept.
While we respect everyone has a right to an opinion what I think we need to remember is, if they are taking fish within the rules set out by fisheries then how does that give anybody the right to criticize the angler?
Personally, I have a few issues with sizes of some fish and some bag limits, but my next customer will have a totally opposite view which they have the right to.
Recently the fisheries started a review of the fishing rules and regulations which the public could have their say on what they think the rules should be, this is the best place for your concerns, not at an angler fishing within the rules. I can hear the phone ringing already with the, if we keep doing this there will be no fish left.
Fisheries brought in bag and size limits several years ago for this very reason, netting was stopped in Western Port to also help with fish numbers and do all of this to ensure stainability.
One other thing that needs to change is there needs to be more attention on the care of your catch to ensure what is caught is used and not wasted because it has sat in the sun or a hot esky all day.
We also need to look at cleaning and filleting of fish, many times I have seen a just size fish filleted with virtually nothing left on the bones beside a fish that is much bigger but most of it thrown away through bad filleting.
Maybe there is a way of issuing some type of permit for someone to set up a filleting station at boat ramps to fillet fish for those who don’t know how, at least catches won’t be wasted, maybe then people won’t need to take so many?
With the influx of people there is obviously more fishing which again obviously leads to more catches both land and boats. It’s also a time when families get into fishing and there are as many kids on the jetties as adults.
Calamari have been a target of many people over these holidays especially for those first time into fishing with it one of the easiest ways to fish requiring probably the most basic gear and it’s also inexpensive to get into.
We have seen a lot of calamari caught over the last couple of weeks from almost every spot you would expect to see them. What does change this time of the year is when fish are caught, and calamari are no different.
First and last light are when I would suggest people target them but as you do when you are on holidays you just go fishing when you wake up of feel like it and we have had reports right through the day.
There has been some very good quality ones taken from the San Remo jetty with the beach at Ventnor and in Cleeland bight not far behind. Reports also came from Newhaven jetty and Cowes jetty with Rhyll the only one we didn’t receive reports from.
If you are going to head out to chase a calamari or two give consideration to the weather and think of a quieter spot, the San Remo jetty in the middle of a hot day with 500 swimmers in the water probably isn’t the best choice, a quieter section of Ventnor or Cleeland bight beaches would be better. Most are being caught on artificial jigs and 4 colours standing out, white, black, red and pink.
The boats are finding calamari also in most of the usual spots without too many problems but those smart enough to put a jig down wherever they stop are finding them all round the bay.
All pinkies now and hardly any reports this week of anything bigger than 40cm, more around the mid 30’s, which are a good eating size and the right size for the kids to bring in on their own. We have seen a handful from the jetties at Newhaven and Cowes but mostly from the boats, the only problem has been there hasn’t really been a pattern or an area that has stood out as being the best.
The corals as usual has been productive but it is a big area and finding the right spot requires a bit of moving around or settling in the one spot with some quality berley. Numbers have been good, but you will be sorting through a lot of very small ones to get the size fish.
Pinkies have also been caught in cleeland bight, around the top light at Newhaven, along the bank towards Rhyll, off Cowes and offshore. Down size your gear a little from your snapper gear, paternoster rig with 2/0 to 4/0 hooks but don’t forget to put out at least one big set of hooks and bait for the bigger fish or gummy that might swim by.
Whiting have a reputation of being a frustrating species to target and that hasn’t changed recently, despite more reports coming in. They are very hot and cold, and I don’t think it has anything to do with how many fish are in the bay but more to do with how healthy the bay is. There is no shortage of food around for any fish at the minute and that is what is making things so frustrating.
The normal spots are all working the trick is working out when is the best time in each spot. One customer that has been successful has told me he has several spots around the bay and is simply picking the best spot for the wind and tide conditions.
I could list every spot around the bay that whiting are caught because that just how the reports have been but more to do with the extra people fishing covering a bigger area.
The only thing that has been consistent with the reports has been both ends of the day and tide changes produced the most fish.