By Craig Edmonds of Jim’s Bait and Tackle, San Remo
OVER the years and just recently in my reports I have written about my opinion regarding caring for your catch and, while still important too much time is put into education regarding fish size and bag limits with very little into catch care.
There are different people/organisations out there that are against whatever you do and groups that would stop you doing anything at all.
We do live in a democratic country and everybody has a right to different opinions and that goes for us who like to fish and eat fish being able to do so.
The problem is when something happens as it did during the week at the Newhaven boat ramp it strengthens the argument of those who don’t particularly want us fishing, especially when it comes to larger species fish.
For those who somehow don’t know a large bronze whaler shark was caught during the week, towed back to the Newhaven boat ramp, boat loaded then driven up to the cutting table, problem was the shark was still tied several feet behind the boat.
If it ended there then a bad look, think before you do it again, but it didn’t, and the shark was cut up on the footpath beside the cutting table making a considerable mess, which was left for someone else to clean up.
I use the term cut up loosely because all that was hacked off it was an insignificant slab of flake then the shark was rolled just over the edge and left.
Unfortunately, because of the rules around care of your catch there is very little fisheries can do, had it have been 1mm undersize they could throw the book at them, doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Game fishermen, or to be more accurate those who chase bigger fish, is this group of fishermen that, because of the size of fish they catch seem to be put in the spotlight where they are nothing more than a whiting, flathead, snapper fisherman with heavier rods and reels.
You will always see the front page story of a person catching a large fish, usually after several attempts or even several years of trying highly criticized but other fisherman, and yes we do have them here on the island, will get a bag of fish on the morning tide then again on the evening tide for a few days in a row don’t even rate a mention, sometimes perception is a funny thing.
I don’t think these anglers fit into any category of common-sense fishermen, especially after I was told that once they got back to the boat ramp with the shark what they were going to do with the shark they said, no idea we haven’t thought about it yet.
Most conversations I have had since this happened has been from those who chase bigger fish asking me to make some type of mention in the report.
The other point I need to mention is they have done nothing wrong because they kept the shark and are well within the rules that we all fish under.
I have been asked to mention a few things, firstly and most importantly if you have no need for the fish you catch then let it swim away, the recovery rate of these fish released correctly is excellent.
If you catch a large fish like this and you want to keep it then there are several things you can do to lessen any impact when you are back at the ramp, gut clean and bleed the shark out to sea, if you are keeping the jaws cut them out while still on the water and cut the head off, sharks can be returned in carcass form.
Then drag the shark into the boat and head home.
If you are unable to drag it into the boat when you are back at the ramp back the trailer in and float the shark onto the trailer to get it to the cutting table.
Once at the cutting table you will draw a crowd so if there is more fish than you can eat start handing out the bags of flake, I am sure there will be plenty putting their hands out for some.
The catch will be cared for, the entire fish will be used, and several people will get a help with the weekly food bill and have some quality fish to eat, hard to argue against, dragging it up a ramp and wasting it also hard to argue against its just not the argument we need to remain able to fish.
The best part about the fishing reports this week was the reports of whiting and while not everyone will tell me exactly what they have caught it’s a bit of a giveaway when they come in consecutive days for a few bags of pippis.
The other promising thing was the reports we have from offshore spot x which we haven’t had any reports from for a long time.
Anybody that know the offshore areas to fish also knows that the whiting you catch out there are generally very good.
Those catching whiting back in the bay have had the most success in deeper water and some of the better catches were reported from 6m to 8m of water.
From the reports you only seem to get a short time when they are on in the deeper parts of the bay, about an hour before the tide changes and the first ½ hour after the change.
The other whiting reports from around the bay came from more traditional shallower areas but size and numbers were nothing like the deeper water reports and were caught for longer periods of the tide.
There wasn’t a lot of other reports this week with most back at work, so the majority confined to weekends but the reports we did receive reminds you the season is far from over and just starting for some species.
The weather was favourable for locals that had the advantage of being able to look out the window and jump in the car as soon as the winds dropped, often for a short window.
The only fishing being done Saturday was from in a loungeroom on a computer with strong NW, to W to then stronger SW but Sunday was a little better and a few good fish reported.
We had a couple of Mako’s reported and those heading offshore are again finding some quality pinkies/snapper on the reef area around Kilcunda.
There is some good flathead to be caught but don’t expect to just drive out and start catching them, search around cover some area and depths and murphy’s law says it will be the last place you try but you will do well in a short time.
The bay is a little quiet and except for whiting the other reports are all over the place and many different species.
There are some good pinkies still around, finding them is one problem and catching them another.
Plenty of berley is the secret but that also brings around lots of little fish that are often quicker than the pinkies, preserver.
The other species reported in some very good numbers lately is garfish.