Normally by this time of the year with business we are well into planning for the season ahead, would have most of our season’s orders sorted and even have a large amount of stock instore already. This year is very different with no one knowing what is happening tomorrow let alone next few months and companies reluctant to release their seasons offers with the stock uncertainties. It’s not just affecting us and if you have been out shopping anywhere lately you will have noticed very empty shelves through no fault of businesses, stock just isn’t available. Our shelves are a little empty from what they normally would be, but we do have a couple of orders coming in through August to help with our stock levels. As a customer I would expect lower than normal levels for the entire season and also expect to pay a bit more with all companies telling us of price rises.
I write this reports on Sundays to make deadlines for the papers and currently as I write are waiting for the update from the government. By the time this makes the papers no doubt things could be much different, can we still fish, can’t we fish, are we open, are we closed. We will digest what comes out of the daily reports as we always do and make a decision after that as to what we are allowed to do. For now, the direction from the government that we all need to follow is you must wear a face mask when outside your property. This is a direction we as a business owner must follow and a condition of entry to the shop will be asking that you wear a mask. To answer the question of a few on Saturday, yes even if you park directly outside the shop and just want to quickly grab some bait you need a mask, business hasn’t been good enough we can afford a fine for you being in the shop without a mask, unless of course you have an exception.
The forecast suggests that the week will be on the colder side and a bit wet but there is no way you could complain about what we have had over the last couple of months. The virus has slowed down the amount of people fishing and the reports, patchy at best, have still come in and probably more than we would expect for this time of the year. Its bait collection time and early season snapper time and those who fish for either would be reasonably happy this week. Offshore the whales are slowing down, no tuna for a couple of weeks so focus is turning back to flathead and other offshore species.
We have had a handful of snapper reports already from as low as tortoise head to as high as spit point and fish around the 5kg mark. The reports have all come from different spots and each person only caught one. There was a couple of other reports of smaller fish but none of the tiny pinkies so it would suggest the bigger fish are making their way in and give it another month or so will be regular reports. If you want to head out for an early fish the channel along French island would be the place to put in some time. The only other place we had any snapper reports came from was on the close in reefs offshore towards Kilcunda.
We had several reports of draughtboard sharks which are a waste of time but the reports were favourable because they all came from towards the bay entrances, whereas in previous weeks we have had reports from all the way up in the bay, so hopefully means they could be on their way out. Several reports from in the bay and offshore of couta but all small ones and nothing much bigger than bait size. Some yakkas from the jetties and several bait balls of unknown bait on sounders offshore from those looking for the tuna.
Calamari reports are very slowly getting better, still not good but better and a bit more consistent. The size is still on the better side from wherever they are catching them and we haven’t seen too many of the very small ones this year. Again we have been getting the question of what colour is the best when people come in to purchase jigs and our answer will always be the same, if you are going to get a couple buy contrasting colours and do that each time you buy jigs so as you eventually build up a complete range of colours. Then when you go fishing you will have all colours covered and just keep trying different ones until you find the right one for the day. Don’t stand there and have 100 casts with the one colour and not catch anything, a dozen casts then change colour.
Whiting have dropped off again everywhere and if the boat gets to double figures you have had a good day. There are still fish around and the quality is good it’s just a problem finding them first and then trying to get them to bite.