With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

EASTER is coming and the school holidays are already here, and it’s generally the last chance for most to have a bit of a holiday while the weather is still reasonable.

With the Rhyll boat ramp still closed, remember to arrive at Newhaven or Cowes with a bit of patience because it will be busy.

The Easter Good Friday fishing competition is on and as well as entries coming in, we have had several customers come in and donate to the prize pool. We posted a list about a week ago which has changed several times since with the addition of prizes and a few categories have been added. You must catch a fish to win the category or secret weight prizes but everyone that enters goes into the hourly prize draws and with more than 100 prizes to be won, it’s worth entering just for that. Entries must be in before 2pm Good Friday and fishing goes from Friday morning to Monday lunchtime, so plenty of time to get out for a fish.

Over the weekend, we send out regular texts not only to let people know who has won the hourly draws but to give you information about the competition, additional categories, special draws and to promote our sponsors who make this competition possible. It’s because of our generous sponsors we are also able to donate 100 per cent of the entry money to the Royal Children’s Hospital. The shop will be open at 6am every day over the Easter weekend.

The reports we did get over the last couple of weeks have been good, with the quality fish mostly whiting with a handful of calamari and snapper. The quantity of fish belongs to salmon, especially in the bay, where we have had large schools chasing the even bigger schools of bait. They have been reported from most of the channels and off Cowes but also from across the corals. Mixed up with the salmon is plenty of Tailor and you just don’t know what you have got until it gets to the boat because they will both take the same lures.

Whiting reports have almost all come from the shallow water of late which could be a little to do with the southeast winds which make the deeper spots uncomfortable and difficult to anchor. With the tuna disappearing, the traffic has slowed in Cleeland Bight and we have seen more whiting from there again. The most consistent area has been under the sand hill but if it is a little quiet there and conditions allow, head over to the gutter on the other side to the back of Foots and give it a try. Don’t forget your squid jigs as the calamari are in the same spots. The whiting in Dickies Bay have been at the Maggie Shoal end then across the top around Reef Island, Bass River; we also had a report or two from Corinella. Most of the whiting were very good size and consistent size while numbers were ok.

Calamari from the same areas in the boats but more reports from the land with the ordinary weather, jetties during the day and beaches early and late. Not as many snapper during the week but several showed up over the weekend. Gardiners Channel to Elizabeth Island the best with a lot of smaller pinkies across the corals. Gummies also in the same spots but not too many of any size across the corals and only a couple reasonable ones from in the channel. The best reports from the last couple of weeks would have to be the kingfish being caught in the bay. While they haven’t been 1m-plus fish that you see offshore, several have been a respectable 70cm-plus and very close to the boat ramp, live bait or whole Californian squid.