With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

WE ARE settled into the new shop now and have had many of our customers through to have a look.

Mel and I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone for all of their positive comments that they have been making. Such positivity gives us confidence that we are heading in the right direction and giving our customers what they need.

With the end of the holiday season so close and a bit to do over the next few weeks, there won’t be a huge number of changes or additions to what we have already done but we will be planning the season over the winter months; come the start of the season, you will start to see plenty of additions.

One addition that will come on board over the next week or so is our long-awaited – and the thing we have had the most requests for over the years – a coffee machine.

Those who have been in will know about the drinks fridge and that we now have ice. Eskys are back in and we have a small wall of hardware/tools and stainless-steel nuts and bolts for those emergency repairs.

Next season we are looking at stocking Daiwa again and there will be an increase in our Cressi diving lines as well.

Camping stock is on the agenda over the winter, and we will be agents for Bushman Fridges for your 4×4 or caravan so lots to come as well as plenty we are still working on. If you have suggestions, feel free to let us know next time you are in.

Our Good Friday Easter Fishing Competition is ready to go with very few kids’ showbags left for the kids and about half of the ladies’ showbags gone already. Entries can be downloaded off our socials or just pick one up in store.

There are 12 categories across three age groups, more than $14,000 in prizes to be won, and 100-plus prizes spread over 30 hourly random entry prize draws you can win just for entering.

But the best thing is 100 per cent of your entry will go directly to the Good Friday Appeal.

The competition runs all weekend, but entries must be in before 2pm on Good Friday.

It had to come sooner or later, the tuna have moved on for another year so now it’s time to concentrate on other species.

Having only had a couple of reports and the odd sightings over the last 10 days or so, and similar reports from along the coast, they got what they came for and now have gone to find it somewhere else.

It was the best season we have seen and had been building from the last few years. Will they come back? That question won’t be answered for another 10 months or so but the next target will be to see if the barrels show up around August again.

In the meantime, if you still need your fix of a good fighting fish, don’t forget the forgotten kingfish. Just remember you probably won’t get away with the same gear as kings; no matter what size they are, they will fight hard all the way to the boat.

Personally, I think the kings are a much better fighting fish and they taste a whole lot better than tuna anyway.

With the perfect autumn weather conditions bringing the north-easterly wind patterns, it has opened up offshore to more of the smaller boats chasing a feed of flathead. The pattern hasn’t changed a lot and if they aren’t in 30m they will be in 50m.

While most of the reports are from the eastern side, a few reports are now coming in from those chasing flathead and pinkies from the western side of the entrance towards Woolamai.

Heading much further the other way towards Powlett River/Cape Paterson, and we have had some good reports of bigger pinkies and excellent gummies.

There is plenty of bait fish to fill the freezer offshore as well with salmon, couta, yakkas and slimmeys – all of them not that hard to find.

Snapper are back customers are telling us and, judging by the photos, I have seen it’s worth breaking out the heavier gear and heading to your favourite snapper mark to try your luck; at worse, you might pick up a gummy as a by-catch.

The snapper we are seeing are different and this happened about five years ago where we had the normal snapper run then the pinkies over Christmas with a second run just before Easter.

The snapper around now are very bright silver 4kg to 5kg and when you put them side by side with our pre-Christmas snapper the body shape is different.
I have been told 100 different theories, south/west coast v east coast, Australia v New Zealand, resident v new fish. Whatever they are, they fight the same and have shown up in reasonable numbers with some sounder pictures I have seen looking like a November picture.

Whiting continued their up and down season with the reports not a lot different now than three months ago. Sometimes deep, sometimes shallow, sometimes all big, sometimes mixed, numbers good and numbers just ok.

I was reading back through diaries looking for something else and it is noticeable how the whiting have changed over the last 10 to 15 years.

Early reports were all of very good numbers and bagging out was almost expected (fish between 27cm and 34cm) and if you didn’t catch some then basically you weren’t fishing for them. Shallow water was the go and if you were over 3m you had no hope and the thought of fishing in 12m was almost laughable.

What we sold in the shop was very different as well. Circle hooks were for snapper and there wasn’t much small enough for whiting on the market.
The only size longshank we sold was size 8 and with pippies at $6kg you didn’t even consider other baits.

Now pippies are way too expensive; we hardly sell size 8 hooks, 10 companies make whiting circle hooks and there are as many reports from deep as shallow.

While the bag numbers are probably down, the average size is considerably different and the expectation is 40cm-plus fish with a 1kg whiting now considered just a good fish not front page news.