With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

THE Melbourne Cup is less than a week away which means this weekend is for many the first long weekend of the fishing/boating season.
Not so long ago it was the first long weekend after winter but has been replaced over the last couple of years by the grand final holiday, but it is still the first real long weekend of the fishing season and is always busy.
The jetties, roads, beaches and boat ramps are all busy and a little patience will be needed to make it enjoyable.
The fishing spots will be busy also and many sheep will simply follow the first one there.
We generally get good reports from Friday and Saturday and then it quietens off a little for Sunday and Monday with it coming good again Tuesday night and Wednesday.
That has been the pattern for as long as we have been in the shop and while Sunday and Monday are quieter, they’re the smarter ones, the non-sheep, across the whole weekend that we get the best reports from.
The popular and widely known spots are always busy but they are not the only spots to find the fish.
I find this weekend is the best time to check out some of those spots, areas of rough bottom and drop offs you have marked on your sounder but haven’t put any time into yet.
Generally, the best reports come from the areas where there are only one or two boats fishing and the water is a bit quieter with less boats buzzing around.
But all of the above depends on the weather which for the whole time we have been in the shop has been at best inconsistent. If you are new to the area and want to know where to fish with the forecast wind and tide just drop in and see us at the shop.
Cup weekend also is the start of our extended weekend and public holiday shop hours, and we will be back to 6am opening.
It also marks the start of our competitions and weekly specials and auctions so keep an eye on our Facebook page to be involved.
For those who have followed us over the last few years you will know we run a Melbourne Cup sweep with some great prizes up for grabs. It will be a simple guess that gets you a chance for a horse in the race and cost nothing at all to be involved. More information will be on our Facebook page from Saturday www.facebook.com/JimsBaitAndTackle/
With the perfect weather mid-week, it seemed plenty of people had an RDO up their sleeve or the odd sick day because there wasn’t a spare carpark anywhere around the local boat ramps and the snapper grounds were the busiest it has been so far this season.
We had a lot of reports from those two days and we found through the reports people went out to chase a couple of squid early, head to the snapper grounds for the tide change then to the whiting on the way home.
While some managed to make it work and went home with a variety the majority seemed to do well at one spot only. The reports of whiting and calamari almost all came from the spots that you would expect them to, but the snapper were all over the place and so was the size.
Calamari reports continued along the same line as they have all season with no shortage of quantity and excellent quality.
The thing that was a bit different this week was that the water cleaned up, the drift was difficult because of the amount of boats not to mention no wind at all and the artificial jigs worked better than the baited ones.
The average size of the calamari this season has been the best we have seen with the average I would say between 25cm and 30cm because of the amount of 50cm hoods we have had reported.
Even when customers are reporting the smaller ones, they are saying that they are the size of their good ones last year. Cleeland Bight was the best of the boat or kayak spots with reports from most of the other regular boating spots and some random areas across the bay. The beaches at Cleeland Bight and Ventnor has been about the same and San Remo Jetty has out done the Newhaven jetty this week.
Snapper reports increased considerably which probably had a lot to do with the amount of boats on the water more so than the fish just arriving. There were plenty of boats up around Spit Point and Temby Point, but the majority of our reports came from further down the bay and across the corals.
Most of the reports came from early or late and there was some quality amongst them, but what we did see was a huge variety of sizes of snapper ranging from as small as undersize to the weeks best at 8.8kg.
It’s a bit surprising how many pinkies are around already in the bay and the range of size but for as many that are being caught the numbers aren’t quiet there as yet when the pinkies are in almost plague proportions. We have had a few reports already from the shallows but most of the reports still coming from 6m and above.
Whiting were tough this week but very good at the same time which sounds confusing which is probably the best way to describe the reports.
Those who were just chasing whiting this week spent a lot of time finding them but those lucky enough to find them then got a good bag.
There were plenty that only found a couple and those who found plenty but all very small. We had reports of some even going out and in an hour and only one stop had a bag full then others who got a bag full but took most of the day.
The whiting seemed very timid at times and it was as if you had to convince them to try your bait then once one did the others followed. As I said very confusing and difficult to give much advice other than start with what and where you would normally fish and go from there.