With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

AS I write this, it’s still unclear if we will have an influx of visitors from Melbourne over the Melbourne Cup weekend, traditionally the start of the busy season for businesses around the Island.
While there is plenty of debate around should we or shouldn’t we, surely we need to start to find that balance and get on with life, living with COVID-19 and rewarding those who have been diligent and doing the right thing.
We do, however, have plenty of visitors to the Island from many regional areas around the state and businesses welcome their custom while they are here.
We are finding many of these visitors we are seeing are from freshwater areas and fishing saltwater is all new to them. The truth of it is there is very little difference, and all the basics still apply.
Yes, the weight sizes needed are different, baits not quite the same either and while most freshwater gear is relatively light, there are plenty of places around the Island you can use it.
If you are from outside the area and not sure what you need or where to go, just drop into the shop and we will help you out as best we can to catch a few fish while you are here.
We had a bit of everything this week, wind, sun, good and bad fishing but there were at least opportunities. Plenty took advantage of the opportunities late in the week and those lucky enough to be able to get out caught plenty.
The whiting reports were excellent and some of the best for the season for fish size and bag size. We had plenty of whiting over 40cm reported and several nudging the 49cm mark. The reports followed a definite pattern with early week, in the mornings especially, much better below the bridge while above the bridge, Dickies Bay, Reef Island was difficult then we had a day or so of no fishing and the pattern switched around with above the bridge the place to be. While pippies were good, there were a lot of reports this week from those using pilchard fillets and fresh calamari strips.
Snapper continued and the best part about the reports this season so far is the variety of sizes being reported. Where the reports are coming from is not too surprising and basically it’s most of the places you would find snapper with reports slowly increasing across the corals.
The reports were of fish from well undersize to just under 8kg and everything in between. The bigger snapper were hitting hard and there wasn’t much problem hooking them whereas the smaller fish were just picking and needed to change to octopus hooks to catch them. Baits varied this week with pilchards, squid, salmon, tuna, couta, yakkas octopus heads and saurys all working.
Calamari being caught are quality and sizes we haven’t seen before in such big numbers, but for some reason we aren’t seeing too many small ones.
The calamari reports now are more consistent and we are seeing some better numbers in each report. The best spots this week were Cleeland Bight for the boats with a few from off Cowes and the land-based customers telling us that the beaches in Cleeland Bight and off Ventnor have been better than the jetties, especially in the evenings, baited or artificial jigs didn’t make a lot of difference.
If you are launching at Newhaven, take your time on your way to the corals and drop a lure or two in while traveling up the channel because there has been plenty of salmon, couta and pike which will all be good fresh bait for your day on the snapper.

To thank all of our customers for their support over the last few months, which has helped us to get to where we are with the doors still open, we are going to run a whiting competition over the Cup long weekend. The competition will run from 6am Saturday morning until 5pm Tuesday afternoon and is extremely easy to join in.
There is one prize, anybody can enter and will simply be for the heaviest King George Whiting we weigh over the Cup weekend. There is no entry fee, no entry form, you can fish from the land or a boat/kayak, you don’t even need to be a regular customer. Simply bring in your whiting into the shop to weigh, each person can weigh one whiting each day.
The prize is a Shimano rod/reel combo with tackle valued at over $200 so well worth the effort of bringing in your best whiting to weigh. You might think it isn’t worth weighing but if no one else weighs one bigger you could miss out.

Good news for bream numbers

Black bream take about six years to reach the minimum size of 28cm.

A SURVEY of black bream spawning success in the Gippsland Lakes has recorded its second highest level in the last 10 years.
Victorian Fisheries Authority CEO Travis Dowling said the survey results were terrific news for the Gippsland Lakes system, which is now free of commercial net fishing thanks to the state government’s $35 million Target One Million plan.
“These scientific surveys are done annually at 50 sites in the Gippsland Lakes to provide a time series of information about the spawning success of key species,” Mr Dowling said.
“Specialised sampling methods during winter catch juvenile black bream less than one-year-old, which are typically less than 10cm long.
“The abundance of these small bream provides a snapshot of how successful the previous spawning season was and enables fisheries managers to predict the health of the fishery in years to come.
“Spawning variation from year to year is normal and influenced by environmental factors such as river flows and waterway health, however, the trend over the last four years is significantly better than the six years prior.
“Black bream take about six years to reach the minimum size of 28cm, which means this relatively strong pulse of small bream will enter the fishery in 2026-27.
“Recreational fishers won’t have to wait that long though because the strongest spawning year of the last 10 was in 2017 and those fish will enter the fishery from 2023/24.”