With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

Gareth with a couple of quality snapper for the dinner table.

Gummies are always a possibility this time of the year while chasing snapper.

WITH good weather days almost equalling the ordinary ones now together with Melbourne visitors allowed to come back, we are starting to see the lines at the boat ramps and 1.5m apart shoulder-to-shoulder on the jetties.
While the growing number of people is not for everyone, for the business owners around the area, it is a welcome sight to the deserted streets of not too long ago. It’s also great to push the buttons at the end of the day and see the register with more than a handful of dollars in sales.
The place actually looks alive again with people walking in the streets and the tables out the front of the cafes full of people having a coffee or two. It can be a bit frustrating at the boat ramps with a lot of people trying to get in or out, but it certainly helps with the reports and getting an idea where the fish are.
With the fine weather and extra people around, the reports this week have been very good with quality size and plenty in the eskies. We even managed to put the boat in the water for a run and a quick fish on Tuesday.
Following some reports to the shop, we headed to the Rhyll bank on the last hour of the out-going tide to chase a whiting. Being only half prepared and armed with some very soft old pilchards and a handful of pippies out of the home freezer, it took two minutes before we had our first whiting. Within the hour another 10, six of which were keepers, 4 of which were over 44cm, 2 salmon around 1.5kg, 1 pinkie at 38 and lost count of those undersize, 4 flathead, 3 leatherjackets and countless amount of toadies we headed home.
I decided to take out one of the Hookem scaler bags to give them a try and once I got the speed right, which took a couple of attempts, and had it tumbling in the wake it took no time at all and all scales and slime were gone. We fished in about 5m of water off the Rhyll bank and the whiting all took pilchard fillet and the pinkies all took pippies then as soon as the tide changed, all stopped.
We had plenty of other whiting reports and most contained several over 40cm but all, regardless of length, were in excellent condition. There was, of course, plenty who came back with none and it was a case of you needed to be there at the exact right time or nothing.
Working that out was the hardest thing and almost everyone told us the right time was that hour or so before or after the tide change with virtually nothing outside of those times. It didn’t seem to matter a lot which whiting spot you were fishing around the bay just providing you were fishing those times.
As well as pippies and pilchard fillet we had a handful of reports from those using octopus heads and fresh calamari strips.
Calamari, while still elusive to some, the reports are continuing to improve from all areas and if you are in a boat, you shouldn’t have too many problems finding a couple for a day’s fishing.
Land based customers are reporting them to be a little more difficult to find and very timid, chasing jigs but not actually taking them. You will also find they will probably disappear during the day from around the San Remo jetty while the dredge is working, evenings or very early mornings might be a better time. For the first time this season the reports from those using artificial jigs out-fished the baited jigs with one thing common to all, the size of the calamari wasn’t anything to complain about.
Snapper reports continued to come in and are as regular as expected for this time of the year with the fish showing signs that they are not far off spawning. The patterns are becoming far more obvious now and they seem to have settled and are schooling up.
Early morning fish head to the deeper water, channel edges. As the sun gets up start to fish across the corals, deeper areas better, then as we get into the evening, head to the shallows and the mud. There are always exceptions and tides will have a little to do with exactly where or when but from the reports this week, that was the definite pattern.
If you don’t like catching very small pinkies, don’t go snapper fishing because there is no avoiding them, they are everywhere. The reports we get from customers that have some decent snapper all tell us they had to put up with the pinkies before eventually catching bigger ones.
While we have seen quality snapper this year I would say the average size is below that of the last few years with only a small handful of snapper over 6kg reported and most closer to the high 4kg but plenty of quality table ones just under, just over 40cm.
Again, we must say a huge thank you to all our local customers who have been supporting us over the last few months helping get us to where we are today, “still open”.
It’s also welcome back to our customers from Melbourne, many who weren’t fishing this weekend but just dropped in to say hi, having not been able to come down for a while. In business you often question if what you are doing is right, especially in times like these, so to have so many Melbourne customers in over the weekend, that waited to be able to come in to purchase tackle, rods or reels rather than from one of the bigger Melbourne stores, was gratifying and much appreciated.
We had a great response to our Melbourne Cup weekend fishing comp and to continue our theme of giving back, we are going to run another during December. It will be free entry, open to everyone and have a prize pool over $500, keep an eye on next week’s report or on our Facebook page for more information and don’t forget our weekly Facebook auctions.

Local sites in fish count

HUNDREDS of divers and snorkelers have taken to the water as part of the 16th annual month-long Great Victorian Fish Count, the largest marine citizen science event in Victoria.
And survey sites include Cape Pater
son, Harmers Haven, and the Pinnacles on Phillip Island.
As Victoria becomes one again and people can freely travel (in a COVID-safe way) to the sea, marine enthusiasts across the state are donning their wetsuits and hitting the water at their favourite local dive or snorkel site to collect information on the distribution and relative abundance of some of Victoria’s unique marine life.
This year’s theme is ‘Exploring our home turf’.
The event started on Saturday, November 14, and runs until Sunday, December 13. There will also be some opportunities to engage in “virtual” counts for those unable to access the water, or just looking to try something different.
The Great Victorian Fish Count is organised by the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) in partnership with participating groups and supported by Parks Victoria, Coastcare Victoria, and Museums Victoria along with Redmap Australia.
More information at vnpa.org.au/fish-count.

Hook $10,000 fishing in Gippsland

RECREATIONAL fishers will have the opportunity to explore regional Victoria and land a tagged fish worth up to $10,000 as part of an expanded Golden Tag competition, which is set to boost tourism and participation in fishing across the state.
Minister for Fishing and Boating Melissa Horne said last week the revamped Golden Tag competition would see an influx of recreational fishers and their families to regional towns and businesses – filling hotel rooms, cafes and restaurants.
The competition started in February to encourage people to visit Gippsland and the state’s north-east as communities recovered from bushfires. It was later paused due to travel restrictions as Victoria tackled the coronavirus pandemic.
But it’s now up and running again.
More than 20 new tagged fish worth $10,000 each will be released around the state and there will be an extra 50 fish worth $2000 added to waterways.
Approximately 950 fish worth $2000 each have already been released, bringing the state-wide total of tagged fish to more than 1000.
The relaunched competition will see tagged fish released throughout Gippsland into places like Marlo, Tamboon, Lake Tyers, the Gippsland lakes and Mallacoota, as well as throughout the North East and Alpine regions.
For more details on the locations with tagged fish, visit vfa.vic.gov.au/goldentag.