With Jim’s Bait and Tackle
WITH the shortest day behind us, it can only be up hill from here.
Would be great if that was the case, but as we all know July/August will probably bring some colder weather and a bit of that winter wind.
We will however, in the next month or so, slowly see a return to driving home after work without reaching for the headlight switch.
We will also see, once we get to August, a few of the bigger reds showing up in the reports, as the new season’s fish return.
Despite a bit of winter weather to come, there’s no way you could complain about the last month or so, with some of the best June fishing conditions I can remember since taking over the shop.
July 1 sees the end of our fourteenth year; and as we move into our fifteenth, hopefully one of the most challenging years in that time won’t be repeated.
It’s the case for almost everyone in business around the island, but the positivity and the willingness to try different things will hopefully see most still open come the summer.
The local support is going to go a long way towards them remaining open as well.
When I speak to customers and get reports from them, there is a parallel with what businesses are doing: those trying different things are coming out as the most successful.
The reports we’re getting are far from normal, and I think it has a bit to do with the year we’ve had.
Normally, this time of the year, there would be half the amount of people fishing as there are and the weather nowhere as good.
One thing that is normal is the quality of the whiting we’ve seen – low in numbers but up there in quality.
While the areas they’re being caught are normal, some of the times of day and tide and some of the methods are a little different.
The best area has been from the top end of Dickies Bay, Maggi Shoal, Bass River, Reef Island and the back of Leolia Shoal.
Other reports came from Tortoise Head, Gardeners Channel side and below the bridge in Cleeland Bight.
From the reports, decide your area and spend half an hour, then move if nothing’s happening or too many toadies or leatherjackets show up.
But don’t move too far; just a couple of hundred metres or so.
The deeper parts of these areas have been better and only berley once you catch a whiting.
Be ready – spare rig or rod, baits cut up – because if they come on, you’ll only get a very short time to catch as many as you can before they go, or the rubbish shows up.
While the average size has been around the mid-thirties, the fillets are equivalent to an almost 40cm one.
Baits this week consisted of the usual pippies, squid and pilchards – sometimes all at once – and at least a cocktail of a couple.
One customer, who’s been trying different things lately, has been using small pieces of tuna, some lightly salted; and in his words, it ‘killed’ the other baits.
It would appear from the reports this week the pinkies have finally gone, or at least thinned out considerably.
We had very few reported but nowhere the number we had over the last month and from nowhere near the same number of places.
As expected, though, we did have some bigger pinkies reported now the smaller ones have gone.
It’s as if they can finally get to the baits, with those who sent in the reports saying the pinkies hit the baits and fought like they were double their weight.
The best was just under 4kgs, with the rest around the 3kg mark.
Corals, Elizabeth Island and much further up around Lang Lang were the best spots.
It’s not too difficult to work out what time of the year it is if you’re someone that targets gummies, with the cooler water now bringing in plenty of draughtboard sharks and Port Jacksons.
We have seen the odd size gummy but a little quieter than expected.
Normally, this time of the year, we see some quality from our land-based customers, but they aren’t managing a lot over just size at the moment.
Maybe the gummies are as confused as everything else and will show up a little later than normal.
Even the boats are struggling a little and while we did have a few better ones reported, there weren’t as many as we expected, especially with the weather conditions being so good.
The main target areas for land-based gummies this time of the year, full or new moon, everyone has their ideas, and all produce: Woolamai surf beach at Anzacs beach, Tenby Point, Cowes jetty, Stockyard Point, and one often overlooked for the high tide is Grantville.
While they’re all different spots, a tide change and night-time are common to all of them.
Support for boating
THE boating community was well-supported by the South Gippsland Shire Council in the last 12 months.
A report on the council plan annual initiative found the support included the removal of boat ramp parking and launching fees at Port Welshpool, securing $60,000 funding from the Victorian government to support the removal of fees, and construction of a piled floating pontoon at Venus Bay to replace the wooden jetty at a cost of about $230,000.
Council also made an annual contribution of $5700 to support the Port Welshpool Coast Guard, a community grant of $8000 to the Port Welshpool Coast Guard for the development of a business plan for facility upgrades, and supported the local community with its successful advocacy to Gippsland Ports for the retention and maintenance of the Port Franklin slipway.
The shire will continue to advocate to the Victorian government for ongoing funding for the maintenance of boating facilities on Crown Land under council’s committees of management.