With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

I HAVE had a few phone calls during the week asking when we are open so just a reminder that we have changed our shop hours for the winter.
Closed Wednesday, 9am to 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and 8am to 5pm Saturday and 8am to 4pm Sunday.
We have also, as usual, turned off one freezer in the shop but still have all the baits you need; don’t forget when you are in the shop to have a look on top of the freezer for some clear out specials we will have over the next few months.
I get asked many questions over and over during the season and this is just the nature of the business I am in. One of the questions that is asked often is “how can I be more successful catching fish?”.
While the answer isn’t a simple one, because one of the biggest advantages you need, luck, you can’t purchase at your local store – there is plenty you can do to improve your chances.
It’s often not things you do on the day but things you do now in getting ready. The obvious is making sure all your rods and reels are in a serviceable condition, the not so obvious is making sure your hooks are sharp and rigs ready to go.
Hook stones once upon a time were standard in every tackle box and you would touch up your hooks before you even thought of baiting them up. I hear the argument that they are so much better now straight out of the pack, which they are but all will lose a bit of sharpness after a fish or two.
Rigs, I would say is the one where you can gain a lot of advantage, be prepared and have variety. Comments we hear all the time, “I was on the whiting and a leather jacket bit off my hooks and by the time I tied up another rig the whiting were gone”, “I should have changed my hook size but couldn’t be bothered tying a new rig”, “the fish were a bit fussy and a smaller hook probably would have helped, I just didn’t have any with me” and a dozen more.
Now is the time to sort out your gear, three or four spools of leader, different strengths, a few packs of different size swivels, use good ones and buy the best hooks you can, you will probably need six or so sizes and types.
Add to that a pack of small ziplock bags from the $2 shop and we find a soft plastic wallet works to put them in. Then while you are sitting watching the football or TV in the evenings start tying.
Every year through the winter for our own use we will sit and tie about 20 different types of rigs to give us variety and six or so of each, label them clearly so we can grab them quickly and most of the time that will get us through the season.
We have done this for the last 10 years or so and don’t remember the last time we have needed to get out the tackle box out of the cabin while out fishing, simply get out the sinker box and the wallet with all the rigs in it.
This week the reports almost came to a halt, not because there are no fish but because there are very few fishermen. We always see a bit of a low for a couple of weeks after Easter while everyone gets back into a routine and pays a few bills from the holiday period.
It’s also a bit of a change over period from the boats to the land-based fishing, football both AFL and local then, of course, you throw in all those chores that have been waiting for the windy weather things slow down for a bit. It will change and in a couple of weeks, given fine weather more and more will be out looking for a feed of fish.
Whiting, calamari, pinkies with plenty of toadies, leather jackets made up the reports from the boats for the week with salmon, calamari making up most of the land-based reports. Whiting were hot and cold and from the reports seemed to only to be hungry every second day.
From the few reports we received there were good reports one day, no spot really standing out just most of the regular spots and times then the next day trying the exact same thing not a single fish.
As you would expect this time of the year the numbers weren’t great, but the quality was excellent and six or so made a couple of good size feeds. The best reports came from in the evening in that last light with more from kayaks than boats.
Calamari were the same from land and boats/kayaks with evening the better time. We did see some reasonable calamari from during the days that it was overcast and cloudy.
The reports are starting to change a little and those using baited jigs are reporting regular catches. The problem has been with those using baited jigs from the beaches there are a lot of couta and leather jackets, so it has been a struggle to keep bait on the spike and when the couta come through a struggle just keeping your spike.