With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

MOST would have read information or seen it on tv regarding the plastic bag ban in Victoria and there is still plenty of confusion around the exact timing of when you have to implement the law with at least one large company receiving an extension to allow them to use up existing stock.
Having said that, as it stands, November 1 will see the introduction of a state-wide ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags for all retailers.
The government website says the ban applies to lightweight shopping bags which have a thickness of 35 microns or less and include all degradable, biodegradable and compostable bags. The confusing part for some people seems to be exactly what bags are banned.
I have had several comments through the shop over the last few weeks from people asking how we are going to be selling our bait and other tackle because you can’t have bags anymore and many other ill-informed questions.
Basically, the ban applies to the bags you get at the counter and not all of the pre-packaging. We are currently looking at what alternatives are out there for us to use and there will be a bit of a transitional period until we find the best way to go about it but we won’t have plastic bags from November 1, we do however have about 3000 bin liners if someone wants some.
For many retailers the changeover is as easy as just using paper bags and we will for our tackle but where we run into problems is with the bait with paper not a great alternative.
This ban I think should be seen as the responsibility of both the retailer and the customer and, as you do when you go to the supermarket, start taking those re-useable cooler bags with you if you are going to buy bait.
While this initiative has been the normal for several businesses around San Remo and the island for some time now, being mandatory for all brings everyone under the same umbrella and shifts the onus back to the customer.
There is and has never been anything to say retail shops must supply bags and it’s just been a convenience, that we have all enjoyed for many years, all we are really doing is going back to a time before plastic bags were popular and we survived then.
While I don’t have a problem with the ban and can only be good thing in the end and will take time for everyone to get used to I do think we need to change the language around it. A lot of the dialogue around plastic bags is about the bag – it gets tangled in sea life, finishes up in the drains and then in the sea or beaches.
There should be more dialogue about the people using the plastic bags being more responsible for their disposal. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to actually find a solution to the problem and not just ban something. The ban in this case will help but not solve the problem, after all we are going to be, like it or not, stuck with plastic of some type for many years to come.
The fishing is continuing to improve as we get further into spring and we see more consistent and calmer weather. The snapper haven’t really fired up yet and the reports we are getting are of one or two snapper at the most, but quality size fish.
We have had the odd report of people bagging out but they are still in the minority. We are getting more and more reports but overall not many fish each or very aggressive sessions.
As the temperature of the water increases the bite will become more aggressive and we will see people regularly catching their bags of fish. We will also start to see the fish move into shallower water, especially in the evenings, but don’t rush out and think it might be tomorrow with diaries suggesting it will be closer to cup weekend. The reports could also change dramatically with the promised opening of the Corinella boat ramp soon.
Whiting have been very good again this week and the best area is still Rhyll with the best size and quantity being reported. Other areas have produced some good whiting and have improved but the size is all over the place.
The reports are telling us if you catch a 38cm one at Rhyll the next 20 will all be 38cm whereas Dickies Bay and Cleeland Bight could vary between 29cm and 40cm and good healthy ones to those who need a good feed.
There wasn’t as much of a pattern this week and we have reports from all over the tides. We also had a few reports from other areas towards Corinella and Coronet bay with the area around Ventnor the toughest.
By far this week the best has been calamari both for numbers and size with one customer telling me he was sight casting them at one stage, there were so many at the back of the boat.
The jetties have been a struggle and you had to just be lucky with the time you were fishing. There were several reported but nowhere near the numbers from the boats and with the sizes similar.
The beach in Cleeland Bight between the moorings and the sand hill produced during the week and again, while the numbers weren’t as good as the boats, they were much better than the jetties. We lost count of customers in boats that bagged out in Cleeland Bight.
The most successful got there early or late when there wasn’t many other boats and were able to drift along the beach with a bit of a berley trail. Not only were the numbers good but the size was nothing to be upset about and we saw plenty that had hoods 40cm and over, several that passed the 50cm.
Land based told us that they were a bit fussy on colour with white of some type the best but baited even better where the boats reported you could have put your finger over at times and they would have taken that.
This Saturday is the Blessing of the Bikes in San Remo which means the roads will be blocked from very early morning meaning you won’t be able to drive down to the shop.
You can walk to the shop, if you can park somewhere or put your boat in and walk up from the jetty. I will keep an eye on the weather forecast and if it looks like Saturday is going to be a good day, we will stay open longer Friday night, keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates.