With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

ANOTHER week of very unpredictable weather with the conditions not matching forecasts either way and only a handful of chances to head out in the boat.
Thankfully there were reasonable conditions at the weekend and between those who were able to take advantage of the small windows during the week and those out on the weekend we had some quality reports.
During the week it was a case of having the boat hooked up ready to go and when the wind dropped head to the ramp, but be prepared or you will miss the window.
Not only could you miss the weather window but from the reports the best bite has been basically as soon as you stop, it’s as if the fish are following you.
I have a customer that will have everything set up and once he gets to where he wants to fish will sound around and if he finds fish on the sounder nose around into the tide and drop a bait over before the anchor and he tells me he often catches one or two before he even gets to anchor.
Another customer told me he has been trying something different this season and while at anchor will bait up a rod with a snelled two hook setup and running sinker, light ball sinker, he says you need to play around with the sinker weight, then with a whole pilchard for bait will cast it as far forward as he can and let the current do its job then once it gets past the boat will free spool it for a while then start again.
He said it has been very successful for him and better than just sitting and waiting. If what you are doing isn’t working, try something different.
Below is from Better Boating Victoria regarding a public meeting at Rhyll.
“Thanks to the government’s unprecedented investment in boating, the Rhyll boat ramp is getting an upgrade. To allow the community to have a say in this project, we’re running a community drop-in event on Friday 22 November from 4pm-7pm at the boat ramp.”
I have run this by several customers and a couple of the comments are the same from most, “hopefully it’s not just another stuff up like Cowes” and “why is Rhyll getting an upgrade when Newhaven is in desperate need”.
This is the place to bring up all these concerns and voice your opinion about what is needed so the more people that attend the more chance things will be done that actually improve facilities and not make it worse, don’t complain about it once finished if you didn’t make an effort beforehand.
For those asking about Newhaven this would also be a good place to ask the question.
I have already had a couple of conversations regarding the state of the Newhaven facilities and the need for improvement, longer ramp, floating all tide pontoon to get rid of those dangerous ladders, a roof and improved cleaning tables, even a third ramp.
Newhaven boat ramp isn’t even on the near future list for an upgrade, so all those who use it need to get to this meeting in number and voice your concerns.
When I first spoke to this committee regarding the Rhyll boat ramp upgrade some of the reasons for it being as high on the list was because of the popularity of the ramp, the state of disrepair, because it is the closest ramp to ocean access and it’s the closest island ramp to Melbourne, I think someone needs to check a map.
Almost every person that walks through the door asks the same question, where am I going to go to catch a fish. While the obvious answer is “in the water” with the weather of late is about the only answer we can give that is accurate.
The reports have come from all over the place and with the lack of fishing opportunity, there is almost no pattern. While everyone has their favourite place and time there is always the next person in the door that has the opposite opinion.
Snapper reports came from wherever the conditions were the best and with that changing it was different every time you went out.
The way the weather worked out the areas around Rhyll, in the deeper water was best in the early morning then the shallower water around the edge of the corals onto the mud in the evenings.
The rest of the time it was just a guess and where the wind would allow. Most of the snapper we had reported this week were big and we didn’t see too many of the very small pinkies.
They were aggressive in the bite then a couple of customers told us the ones they got were very timid. All told us if you found them it didn’t take long to get your bag of fish.
Many also told us that when they were cleaning their fish in several of them the roe hadn’t fully developed yet which might have something to do with the cold water still.
It might mean a longer season but with the pinkies already showing up in big numbers and the bigger fish being caught on the mud up to a month ago anything is possible for the rest of the season.
Whiting reports during the week were very scarce because the opportunities to fish for them were event fewer than for the snapper. We did get a couple but small numbers and reasonable size fish with everyone saying they just couldn’t get the boat to sit in the right spot as well as an abundance of leatherjackets in dickies bay.
We had more reports from the weekend when the wind settled and some much better numbers, but the sizes were all over the place and you just needed to work hard and be patient to get a decent bag.
Calamari accounted for most of the reports for the week when you add the land based and boating reports together.
Plenty from Cleeland Bight but while several people caught them not all caught a lot each but with the quality as good as they were four or five was a good feed and plenty of bait for the freezer.
Boat reports were similar with plenty of people finding them with the difference better numbers and bags contained a lot of smaller ones.
Those fishing Cleeland Bight found the calamari in most areas and depths but the closer to the entrance you got the deeper they were. Around the moorings they were close to the surface but around the sand hill almost on the bottom. Despite the weather the water is quite clean and clear and those using the better-quality jigs had more success.