By Jim’s Bait and Tackle
AS I write this on Sunday evening, we are open again and regional is out of lockdown.
However, as we all know by the time it gets to print in a day or so we could all be closed again, as is the nature of the times we now live in.
We are more fortunate than many tackle stores around the country to be able to open and certainly a step or two better off than the food businesses.
I can assure you that all businesses, no matter where they are, are doing the best they can with the regulations that are in place, and don’t like it any more than you do.
Many are just existing and could do without the complaining; if you aren’t happy with the current regulations, Spring Street is where the argument needs to be directed.
If you don’t mind wearing a mask, signing in or having to eat your meal a bit quicker than normal, then there are many businesses that would be very appreciative of you dropping in and spending a dollar or two.
I know we are, a huge thank you to all those who continually send us messages of support.
And especially those who have been in over the last few days, resisting the temptation of online shopping during the lockdown to spend their money in the shop when we could open, much appreciated.
The fish are out of lockdown and if you like snapper, whiting, calamari, salmon, couta and gummies, based on the reports from the weekend, now is the time to brush the dust off the rods and reels are drop a bait in the water.
The reports from the weekend, especially Friday, were very good considering there has been very little information around to get a starting point.
The water wasn’t clear at all, and the temperature was all over the place, 9 to 13 degrees, it just depended on how close to a flow of fresh water you were.
It will take a few weeks of reasonable weather, a bit of sun and little rain before it settles down and temperatures become more consistent.
Having said that if the fish are hungry, they don’t care all that much about everything else.
The whiting were excellent in size, with the average around 38cm and the best a bag of 6 over 42cm and all good fat fish.
Every report of whiting we got came from just before or just after the tide change, either high or low.
The whiting reports came from several areas and depths, with Cleeland Bight one of the better spots for numbers.
We had reports from Rhyll, Ventnor, and Dickies Bay with everyone telling us that there was also plenty of couta and calamari amongst them.
Some still had pippies from last season, but most were using squid or mussels and the odd pilchard fillet.
The calamari were ok, and I think because of so many predators a little spooked, but those who chased them were happy with what they found.
The better reports came from the boats as expected but there was a handful from the jetties and beach.
Baited jigs as normally is at the start of the seasons the better way to catch them.
It’s snapper time and it only seems a little slower than normal because there is only a very small percentage of the usual boats on the water chasing them.
The biggest from Friday was over 80cm and they were as small as undersized pinkies.
While there was several reported, no one said they were just jumping in the boat and being able to read and understand your sounder was a big advantage.
One trick that can help you catch them, once you find them on your sounder is mark the fish, drive off them and see if you can find them again then go around again.
Take note of the depth they are in and if you find them in the same areas after a couple of times over them, chances are they will be close to the bottom and feeding, they are the ones you want.
Mid-water fish that you are chasing all over the place will be very difficult to catch.
Whichever way you are heading in your boat make sure you have a couple of metal slug lures and troll them up the channels, because there is plenty of salmon around and the odd couta, both make excellent fresh baits.
Keep a rod at the ready if you are at anchor because you will see the odd school of baitfish swim by during the day.
And you can’t beat a bit of fresh bait to increase your chances.
With limited numbers of customers at the moment, we will be continuing our winter hours.
The shop hours will still be reduced and closed Tuesday and Wednesday during September.
There will be the odd exceptions to these days or hours, so just give us a call at the shop or keep an eye on our Facebook page to keep up to date.
We are well stocked and expecting plenty more new stock over the next few weeks.
Our bait freezers are now both on and are full again with all the usual summer variety, except pippies, where nothing has changed and still looking like October before we are able to get supply again.
Some stock, rods, and reels mostly, will be limited for a little while yet with supply problems.
Companies are hopeful as the other side of the world goes into winter, they will be able to stock up again.
Our hoodies and fishing shirts are selling well, stock of some sizes is getting low, so if you were after one give us a call, we can put one aside for you or post it out.
For those stuck in lockdown areas we can post almost all our stock for you to get a head start once you can fish again.
We don’t use an online shop, it’s as simple as sending us an email or giving us a call, don’t forget our Facebook auctions and specials.