With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

YOU could have been forgiven for thinking that Sunday was the first day of winter and not the first day of summer with the very cold and strong winds.
As I have written a few times now it has been one of those seasons of opportunity and if you are someone stuck in the 9-5 and are restricted to weekend fishing, it hasn’t gone your way at all.
We have to go a long way back into our diary to find a November like the one we have just had as far as weather goes but also to find one as good with fish numbers.
While that sounds a little contradictory, when you factor in the very limited opportunity and the very low number of people out fishing against the numbers of reports we have had, the reports have been very good.
We are getting good reports every time there is a break in the weather and while, as always, there are those that are missing out, the quality and quantity we are seeing is above average. Where the problem comes in and why many think the fishing is bad is because there just isn’t the overall numbers of fish showing up at the cleaning tables.
For the whole season so far we have only seen a couple of days where you could walk from Rhyll to French Island with the amount of boats out and both were during the week, the same weather just hasn’t shown up on weekends. With any luck we will see a much longer season and some of those perfect autumn days show up well into May.
We are now starting to see large numbers of pinkies and smaller whiting move into the bay and every report we are getting tells us that to get a decent feed they threw a lot of small fish back.
The whiting reports have been telling us for a while now about the undersized ones but only when you were fishing in certain areas whereas now it seems everywhere the bigger whiting are the smaller ones are also there.
Reports this week, even Saturday, when the forecast and the actual didn’t match, were up and down but over the week plenty will have a few feeds in the freezer. Reports continue to come from the deep although this week most from the traditional shallower areas.
The unusual thing this week was the reports were split in the way the whiting were feeding, some aggressive and others very timid.
Another thing we found from the reports this week was the difference in the size of the whiting, not length but weight with customers telling us they would catch one at 32cm and wouldn’t hesitate to keep it then the next one into the boat would be the same length but that skinny they were throwing them back because it wasn’t worth filleting them.
Obviously, all in different stages of growing and not what we have been used to over the last few years but very positive for the future, providing the smaller ones are returned to the water.
We weighed some quality snapper this week and were told of several more caught in those small windows of opportunity. We also had plenty of reports of piranha pinkies as they are often called, and it was a challenge to get bigger baits past them.
Generally, the only way to get or keep a bigger bait in the water was to actually move but if you were using berley it didn’t take long for them to find you again.
All the bigger snapper caught this week came from early in the week with fishing a bit tough towards the end of the week.
No shortage of snapper on the sounder, arches of all sizes just not that hungry. With the forecast and the small windows in the weather it was mostly locals with time on their side that sent in the reports this week.
On Saturday, if the forecast had of matched the actual conditions, there would have been 10 fold the amount of boats out, but instead because of the forecast only a dozen or so headed out in the morning with a few also fishing the evening tide.
All the better-quality snapper reported this week were caught within an hour of the tide change then once the tide started flowing the pinkies would come on making it difficult to fish.
We did also have reported several pinkies between mid-30cm and 40cm, more than we have had reported over the last month.
Best spot was hard to work out because we had one or two big fish from each of the more popular spots, deeper water then as the week went on, and we were being told very few were even showing on the sounder in the deep water with plenty showing in the shallower areas but not taking baits.
I guess that’s just fishing and you just need to have a bait in the water when they are hungry, and the weather allows.