With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

I DON’T think I need to make too much of a mention about the weather and there is really only a couple of words to describe it this week, unfishable, almost two words anyway.
For boating, take Tuesday and the odd hour or two out of the week and a couple of hours that land-based fishing was possible and there would be no reports at all.
Thankfully though, those slim chances produced plenty of fish which unfortunately only adds to the frustration of customers knowing there are fish to catch.
We must say a big thank you to all our customers that are getting on board and reducing the packaging waste.
Since the first of the month when the state-wide plastic bag ban came in, we have found the attitude of many customers has also changed and very few are asking for a bag.
We have changed to the paper or the nonwoven shopping bag type and although we have these bags, we no longer offer them.
We understand that the nature of the fishing industry you sometimes require a bag as it can be difficult to carry many small items so simply ask.
What we are doing is giving the choice to the customer and we have also been surprised at the amount of people that bring in their own bags as well.
What we will also offer is if you purchase something and don’t want the packaging just let us know and we will remove it for you and dispose of it for you.
We are also starting conversations with our suppliers, as are other tackle shops about looking at solutions for all the other packaging involved in the fishing industry.
As I have said previously just remember the bag isn’t at fault it’s the person that doesn’t dispose of it correctly.
I understand the problem is much bigger and more complicated than that but it’s a start and we won’t change many decades of habit overnight.
‘A decision too late’ and ‘only a band-aid fix’ I was told during the week, and yes like everyone we could have done it much earlier and didn’t but have now, I guess though when you get a cut you put a band-aid on it and it slowly heals, maybe a band-aid fix is a good start.
Tuesday was certainly the best day for reports, the weather did have everything to do with that and was a welcome relief for those not interested in the Melbourne Cup after the reasonably ordinary weekend.
We even shut the shop early and jumped on the boat for a few hours to chase a few whiting and calamari.
We headed down in the bight towards the sand hill and anchored up just off the channel. I had Robyn and Melanie with me and set up a few bait rods. It wasn’t the best of starts with the box of squid jigs back in the car and the bag of pippies still sitting on the freezer in the shop.
I had grabbed a couple of jigs off the shelf because I couldn’t remember what colours were in the boat, that’s where I thought they were anyway.
The girls were bait fishing and I was throwing the squid jig around.
After a couple of moves still no sign of calamari and nothing more than gurnard and wrasse on the baits. Robyn had wound in another gurnard just as I had cast out the jig, so I sat it in the rod holder and let the jig sink.
Just as I got the gurnard off, Mel said “you had better wind in that calamari in or un-snag it from the weed”.
I am always telling customers that if something isn’t working try something else, maybe I should have listened to myself. Another 20 casts and no calamari but cast it out and count to 20, let it sink and wind one in.
I put on the other jig for Mel and that same pattern happened for the next dozen or more we caught where casting and just retrieving caught none. The size was a bit mixed, hoods from 20cm to just under 40cm but all very aggressive and as an out of practice me found plenty of ink.
We moved several times around the same area, 8m to 2m and was the same everywhere we stopped; calamari, gurnard and wrasse.
While we were out fishing, I was getting plenty of reports of snapper from up the bay, especially in the shallows off the corals and on the mud.
It was as if the snapper were also waiting for a bit of good weather because those catching them were telling me they were aggressive and hungry.
It was one of those sessions where getting your bag wasn’t difficult with most of them well over 40cm.
It didn’t matter what baits you were putting in the water they were taking it.
I also spoke to a few that were in the deeper water and apart from the odd 40cm one, everything they were catching was small, some even under legal size.
The reports from the rest of the week were nothing too special because you just couldn’t get to where you needed to be or couldn’t stay there long enough because the wind would get up and you would have to move.
We did see the odd snapper but saw more whiting as the shallower areas tend to be more sheltered.
The whiting continued the same pattern with the better ones at Rhyll and the smaller, but more numbers were at San Remo. While this was the majority of the reports, we did see some high 40cm from off the police station.
With the windy weather and tides not always playing the game to be successful you did need a bit of patience and effort to set two anchors to stop the boat swinging everywhere.