With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

WE MUST say a huge thanks to everyone that has been compliant with the new COVID restrictions, now that it is mandatory to be double vaccinated to enter non-essential businesses like ours. Customers have been very understanding which makes our job so much easier.

They are not our rules but the ones we must operate under to stay open. We understand there are many reasons why people are not vaccinated and it’s not for us to judge but we don’t want to forget you either. We are still able to do click and collect for those customers so if you are not vaccinated, please come to the door and let us know and we can organise to bring things to you – we just ask you to be patient.

Most of our customers in this week were asking the same question: ‘What month is it?’

Apparently, it is supposed to be the start of summer in under 10 days but the frost in the air would suggested otherwise. The chill in the air also turned a lot of people off fishing as it was just too cold, but the wind was all over the place and hard to predict. Those that did brave the weather struggled to find many fish which wasn’t too surprising as they were often fishing odd times and tides. The water temp has dropped a bit over the last week and plenty of weed had moved in and with that so have the snapper.

Tuesday night’s conditions brought with it some hope and a lot of people came in mid-afternoon to sneak out for an evening fish, while the rest waited until Wednesday where conditions were very good to go out. By 8am, the Newhaven boat ramp was quickly running out of car parks, Rhyll much the same, most heading to the deep at Rhyll and the Elizabeth Island area for the reds or behind the police station to find those 45cm whiting that have been there.

Finally, a break to head offshore and some very promising signs with two Makos caught, one Wednesday and one Saturday. This is probably a little early but with so much food around it isn’t a big surprise. We also had reports of snapper off Kilcunda, flathead in the 30m to 40m line off Woolamai and Punchbowl. We had a couple of reports from those trawling lures that they sounded bait with fish under them but that was it, so they aren’t sure what fish they were, and nothing came up to look at the lures.

Whiting have fared the best through this period of weather and the reports since it has broken have been good. The usual spots and times and tides and nothing too strange there but what has been a little different is the size of whiting that are being caught. Normally when whiting fishing your first fish will give you an idea of what all your fish will be but at the moment the reports are telling us that the fish are very mixed. Customers are telling us that without moving they are getting plenty of fish, but the size could be anywhere from 20cm to 48cm, the only thing that is constant is the quality of all the whiting regardless of the length and it is excellent.

Calamari reports have been best off the land-based areas, probably because of the weather making it difficult to get the boat or the kayak out. Quality has been good and baited jigs have taken over again as the preferred rig. The water is dirty and there was plenty of weed so lots and lots of patient fishing was needed. There was nothing too unusual about where and when and it was just about being there when the calamari were. Once the water started cleaning up, we had more reports from those with the artificial jigs.

Covid has affected many things, one being charities where donations for most are a long way down. We will be doing our bit to help one such organisation, Deaf Children Australia. We have many deaf customers and a very good customer who works in the Victorian office. We will be having an auction this weekend and all the proceeds will be donated to this organisation, the winner of the auction will receive a receipt so it will be tax deductible. There will be a Jims Bait and Tackle merch pack, some fishing gear and a 700g bag of pippies that has been donated for this auction. The auction will be held on our Facebook page but if you don’t have Facebook, we can take bids in the shop for you.

The auction will start Friday afternoon and finish Sunday lunchtime.