With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

THE rumours have started, and the usual small-town gossip has gone from fact to fiction.

There has been plenty of comment around our situation at the shop lately, much of it wrong, so the truth is: no, we are not going broke and closing down; yes, the landlord is redeveloping the site and has given us notice of this.

The exact timing of the redevelopment is unknown at this stage, but it is inevitable, leaving us at the moment with some very big decisions to be made. As you could imagine, we are running through 1000 different scenarios but for now must put our efforts into Christmas and the upcoming January holiday period to best serve our customers. We can assure you, though, we will not be closing down and Jim’s Bait and Tackle will exist into its 30th year and beyond.

It would appear that common sense has prevailed and the proposed works at the Newhaven boat ramp jetty have been postponed. Thank you to everyone that commented or contacted the council; hopefully, it was those calls or messages that changed the timing of the works.

February is probably still not ideal in regard to the boat traffic that uses the ramp through this period, many bigger boats heading offshore but the real point of our original post and emails has been missed. The proposed works at the jetty will do nothing, apart from keeping your feet dry at times, to solve the boating congestion and in fact will make the situation more dangerous than what it is now.

The major problem with the Newhaven ramp is and always has been low tide where there is not enough water to access much of the jetty for tying up; what they are doing is nothing more than putting a band-aid over a cut that needs stitches.

Every other ramp in the country is building floating pontoons while we continue to build solid jetties, this may work in a non-tidal lake but not ideal for a bay with such a big tide movement. We need to see if money is to be spent and works are to be done, it should be done for the long term, not just a quick fix that actually isn’t a fix at all.

Typically, last week was a little on the quiet side but it won’t last and will ramp up this week then even more after Boxing Day. The reports were much the same and most of the reports were from customers heading out or down to the jetty for a quick fish for Christmas dinner.

Some very good calamari were caught from the jetties and the beaches with some even bagging out on mixed size, some for bait and plenty for the table. You needed to pick your time with a bit of weed still around early in the week and small windows during the tides. This improved later in the week, and you could fish when you wanted to.

Artificial jigs took over from baited jigs this week, the first time in a long while and as usual a rainbow of colours worked. The size of the jig doesn’t alter with the 3 or 3.5 the best from the land; it’s the colour which is the hardest to work out and a variety is the best but don’t forget to keep trying different ones if it’s not working. Boats and kayaks reported much the same with the exception of the weed because they were able to move to find a cleaner spot.

We started to see some good numbers and sizes of snapper towards the end of the week as well, which is a change from the last couple of weeks with only the very small pinkies showing up.

We have had rumours of large schools of snapper towards the western entrance appearing to be moving into the bay like a second run of fish. Maybe that’s why the reports have improved a bit, either way doesn’t matter if the reports continue.

Like last year, we have started to see the school tuna show up again at this time of the year. The reports of captures are still a little west of Cape Schanck, but sightings have now started to come from the western end of the island so as the weather settles and more head out, we will see captures coming from closer to home. We also had several reports of schools of rat kingfish around both entrances.

Whiting were good again this week and from the reports, the best time to catch them was when the winds were kind, and you could actually get to the spot you wanted to. The majority though were from tide changes, high or low depending on where you were fishing.

We also had reports this week from both deep and shallow areas with the fish much the same wherever you fished. They weren’t consistent though and changed day to day and spot to spot. Slow one day, a fish every few minutes then the next day you can’t keep up and one rod is more than enough. Several of the whiting reports also had some excellent sized flathead in the esky, not a bad bycatch.

We will be closed on Christmas Day then going to our normal Christmas holiday hours from Boxing Day, opening at 6am, seven days a week.

From Robyn, Melanie and myself, have a safe and happy Christmas and again, thank you everybody for your support over the last 12 months through what was a very trying time for all. If you are lucky enough to have some time off, enjoy your time on the water or sitting somewhere on the land trying to catch that fish of a lifetime. If you are visiting from other areas and haven’t been here before, drop in as we have plenty of information sheets to help you find a feed of fish while here.