Jim’s Bait & Tackle Fishing Report: 22/12/19

Thursday 26th December, 2019
Craig Edmonds

Hopefully you are lucky enough to have some time off over Christmas and can get out for a fish and let also hope you are only battling the crowds and not the weather as well. With one of the strangest seasons so far for weather we must really put it into perspective and be thankful the only thing we haven’t been able to do is fish or in our case it means our figures are down. There are plenty of people, not that far north or west that won’t be celebrating Christmas day in their own home, if they are lucky enough to still have one and businesses that are going to lose the chance of any income through what should be their busiest times. The fires will eventually go out and that is the time when everyone in those areas will need the most help. Maybe you are planning a holiday in the new year and not sure where to go, I am sure the businesses in the bushfire areas will be grateful for anything you spend while visiting or passing through.

Looking for something to do on Boxing day, drop into the shop as we are having a sale and there will be plenty of time to still use a new rod or reel coming into what is hopefully an extended autumn season. The sale will start from 6am and is for one day only, check out our Facebook page for details and for extra special deals on the day.

Christmas holidays brings plenty of visitors to Phillip island and it also brings plenty of new people to fishing. If you want to get started or need some help with the local area we are more than happy to help where we can, we do ask for a little patience as it does get hectic at times, but we will pass on all the information we can. For those new to the area, myths we need to put strait and ones we hear often, “Westernport bay is dangerous because of the mud banks” it is no more dangerous than any water way, follow the channel markers and seek out some local advice. “you only fish 1 hour either side of the tide” while this is the easiest time of the tide to fish, especially land based it certainly isn’t the only time you catch fish in Westernport, and you find different areas are better on different parts of the tide. “It is much too dangerous to fish offshore” again no more dangerous than any other water way in the wrong conditions, it can be some of the best fishing in the area on the right day. Another one is “I fish offshore all the time in up to 10m swell I know what I am doing” unlike the deeper areas on the east coast we get very short and sharp swell and if it was around 2m plus you better have a big boat. Offshore winds, north east is best and can be fished in moderate winds whereas light south east on a moderated swell can be horrendous, give us a call if you aren’t sure. “GPS marks will put you exactly on the fish” If only it was that easy. GPS marks are a guide you then need to use your sounder and look around. “We can tell you exactly where the fish are” we can tell you where they were from our latest report, but fish do this strange thing called swim and because they were there yesterday there is no guarantee they will be there today. “We don’t expect you to give us the best local spots” Our business relies on people catching fish whether they are local or visitors so it is in our best interest to tell you all we know, yes we get customers ask us not to advertise exactly where they caught something and we respect that but will still give you the general area. “I read your report in the paper but the guy next door to me in the caravan park says it’s all made up like most of these reports” If I was going to make it up I would be adding a lot more catches to the reports and wouldn’t be putting in fillers like this.  There are many more and we could write a book, but one we always get a bit of amusement out of is the question, “we only have a couple of hours and need to catch fish, can you tell me where I will be guaranteed to get something” don’t think I really need to comment on that one just needs to go in the same basket as the phone calls during the whale season when people ask what time the whales will be going past today.

There have been a lot of people down for Christmas already, sadly the weather has let them down a bit with it too hot to step outside one day then the chance of frostbite the next. Being on holidays generally means making the most of small opportunities and that’s what people have been doing so while the boat might be out you can still fish from the land. The other thing we find is reports will come from areas, as locals we don’t normally think of fishing and the success can be surprising. For the moment most of the reports have come from the more traditional spots and haven’t been too bad for the opportunities that we have had.

If you are heading out in the boat be prepared to be plagued by small fish with plenty of undersized whiting and pinkies around. Those fishing over the corals have found by the 100’s pinkies down to as small as, how did that even get on the hook to 30c. Those who did put up with the small pinkies eventually found some bigger ones and we were being told the later you fished into the evening the better you did as the small ones just seemed to disappear and the reasonable ones came out. We didn’t see too many snapper and some were probably just on the limit of being called either. From the reports many were on the corals but several from other areas as well and it didn’t matter if you were shallow or deep the story was almost the same. Then of course we still had plenty that couldn’t find anything at all.

Whiting are similar to the snapper in that there are plenty of very small fish around and not just I  length. Customers are telling us that they are catching whiting around the 30m cm and easily size but second guessing themselves and measuring them because they are so skinny. The numbers of keepers has been good though with several people getting their bag. Anybody catching good numbers were also telling us they caught well over their bag by the time you count the undersize ones thrown back, some even saying they were catching one small one for every keeper. With the weather it’s hard to pick a best spot because people were fishing all over the place to find some shelter.

Calamari just continue to be reported both land and boats and haven’t really slowed all season, even the size has been consistent. This week the reports contained several genuine 2kg plus models and the rest of the esky from the boating reports contained 1kg or better ones. Some caught from the land this week were on the smaller side but not the tiny ones we have seen in the past. Overall artificial or baited jigs didn’t make that much of a difference although we did get a couple of reports from boats that the calamari would follow up the artificial but not take it and they switched to a baited with a pilchard on it and it took it every time.

Not sure where to fish or want to keep up with the latest reports just drop into the shop to see us or keep up to date by following us on Facebook. If you want an early start we will be open every day at 6am from Boxing Day.

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