With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

Cam Ball and Phil Kenter of Newborough hooked into some nice gummies and plenty of flathead fishing out of the Port Welshpool Jetty on Saturday of the long weekend where launching and retrieving the boat was particularly easy. m141021

Carl Sabljak of Donvale got a nice feed of flatties, whiting and squid (calamari) out of Port Welshpool after driving around from his holiday house at Sandy Point. He also hooked into gurnard but, concerned about the spikes, threw it back. m151021

I WAS reading back through my diary and fishing reports to see how the fishing this year compares to last year and while the virus was spoken about, we were looking forward to the Easter holidays digging us out of the hole of the previous few months of ordinary trade.

Little did any of us know how everything would be turned upside down within the next couple of weeks and the Easter period was the least of anybody’s problems.

This year is no different in that we are still looking forward to the Easter holidays and especially the Good Friday Easter Fishing Competition. Melanie and I started sorting out the prizes for the competition and it would appear the prize pile has got bigger which will mean more giveaways.

We will have the list sorted soon and will post it on our Facebook page and on the shop window. While there are some excellent prizes for catching fish, the list of prizes to be won just for entering is equally as impressive. There is a lucky entry prize draw every hour, with the major draw a helicopter flight from Phillip Island Helicopters. Early entries close soon, so to be in the running for a $100 meal voucher at Watermark Restaurant at Silverwater Resort, enter before March 26 and you must be entered before 2pm on Good Friday.

It was a little quiet during the week, apart from the odd local taking advantage of the fishing windows but come the long weekend and all the extra people, plus the reasonable conditions, we were getting plenty of reports.

There were a lot of people down that were going to be heading offshore to try their luck on the tuna, but just as many also headed into the bay for a whiting or something else.

Apart from the odd boat, very few have been fishing in the bay with the light winds suiting offshore, so it was good to see some large groups on the whiting grounds again.

While the fish weren’t just jumping in the boat, with a little bit of work you could find a decent feed.

The same could be said for offshore as well and the tuna played the same game they have been playing for the last couple of months. It’s a game of patience and it’s worse than the one you play in the bay with snapper or whiting because you can see the schools of tuna both by eye and on your sounder and the schools are thick. Getting them to bite, however, is a very different story and every expert who has ever caught tuna has been here trying only to find out what worked for them before won’t necessarily work this time – that is until the tuna decide they want it to.

We have seen dozens and dozens of tuna caught this season and we have also been told of dozens and dozens of methods. Daisy chains, teasers of all sorts, small lures, big lures, skirts, and hard bodies, 80lb leader, 150lb leader, 6am, 11am, 2pm, must use this and must use that, everything has worked at some stage and then there have been plenty of times where nothing at all has worked.

Nobody has the wrong way of doing things and everybody has different ideas of how to do things and what works for one won’t always work for others. That really sums up fishing in general and they say variety is the spice of life and it’s true here as well; you should always have a variety of ways to do things, whatever you are fishing for.

The best advice I ever received from a customer, when I asked him how he manages to catch so many fish, was to keep it basic. But the best method of successfully catching fish, he said, was as simple as “go fishing”; without doing that, he said, you had no hope.

The tuna this weekend took everything once they decided they were hungry – even larger skirts and hardbodies. Reports came from Cape Paterson to Cape Schanck, in close but also a little deeper, possibly because of the ordinary weather we have had offshore last week.

There were plenty out chasing kings and while we were told of lots of take-home size, we didn’t see any that were big. Several caught on the lures being trolled around for tuna, but the most successful over the weekend was live bait and the large 10” soft plastics dropped around the various headlands and offshore reefs.

There is no shortage of bait which is the reason the tuna is still here. A tackle shop’s best friend, the couta has shown up in bigger numbers – reliving several people of their favourite lures.

Although conditions weren’t perfect, we still had some good reports of flathead from offshore and as many pinkies as you wanted from off the reef at Kilcunda. Gummies were a bit light on, but conditions weren’t that good to get where you needed to for them.

In the bay, the whiting were considerably better than the last couple of weeks, in number anyway, average size was a bit small and closer to early 30s with the odd 40-plus showing up.

Most of the usual spots produced, but a couple of the better spots were Boys Home channel and around the top light in the Newhaven channel. Other good reports came from Tortoise Head and Corinella with dozens in Dickies Bay you could see in the water but the problem was the leatherjackets were quicker than them to get to your baits.

With a lot of new people here, the undersized pinkies and undersized gummies had someone else to play with and they had fun from the reports we got. One customer from northern Victoria asked if we had the undersize fish on a retainer so as people had to buy more bait.

It can be frustrating and impossible to get away from at times, but perseverance will pay off and did for many over the weekend who managed to eventually find numbers of quality-sized pinkies. There were some good flathead in the bay. Calamari were a struggle as they have been all season but still some caught and nothing too special in the gummies.