Jim’s Bait and Tackle Fishing Report: 23/2/2020

Tuesday 25th February, 2020
Craig Edmonds

What a difference a bit of sunshine and light winds makes with plenty of people taking advantage of the first good weekend for some time. There were plenty of boats heading offshore looking for the elusive tuna or a mako but there was also plenty just after a feed of flathead. There were a few planning to do an overnight boat fish in the bay on Saturday, but the wind didn’t play its part, and most were in but late afternoon. Sunday morning it was just a steady possession of boats from the ramp heading to all points of the bay. It was also good to see plenty of people fishing from the jetties and beaches, also taking advantage of the fine weather.

Because it has been a few weekends between fishing trips in the bay for most it was like going back to the start of the season and a lot of looking was needed to find the fish. Sunday was a little better with the reports from Saturday giving a few starting points. There has been plenty of activity offshore over the last few weeks but with the ordinary weather we have had much of it has been during the week when the majority of people are at work, frustrating most and the reason it was so busy over the weekend. The ordinary weather has forced people to fish in some areas they normally wouldn’t and even try a bit of fishing they don’t normally do. We have had plenty of people trying calamari for the first time off the jetties where they would normally fish from a boat and some heading to the rivers to simply to fish out of the wind.

Over the last couple of weeks we have seen some quality out of the rivers, Bass and Powlett and decent quantity as well. While not all were take home size we had several fish of mixed species from the Bass River and it was mostly from families that just wanted somewhere to spend a day. They reported small pinkies, flathead a couple of banjos and even toadies. From the Powlett there were a few more reports of size fish but just Bream and Perch. Almost every report we had was from those using lures and not bait and typically of the reports from the Powlett when we ask where we are told “in the river” there was some quality with 2 bream we know of that were over 40 cm.

In the bay the results from the whiting fishermen was from “we feed toadies for the day and didn’t even see a whiting” to “ we drove away from them” Which is really typical of a normal days reports, especially with whiting. We had some good reports from foots and in Cleeland Bight on the change of tide and they were good fish, averaging the 40 cm mark. Most fishing in the Cleeland Bight area reported good fish but not huge numbers and 8 to 10 was the numbers we were told often. Those fishing in Dickies bay had more luck with numbers but the size was smaller and still a lot of undersize or very small ones showing up. There is also a lot of other fish in Dickies bay that don’t normally show up too much in Cleeland Bight, toadies and leatherjackets. Everyone fishing for whiting are also still reporting a large number of very small pinkies.

Pinkies of the keeping size were a little harder to find this weekend but we did see a quality 5.5 kg snapper from off Elizabeth island. Those fishing on the corals reported plenty of fish, if you didn’t mind small flathead, small pinkies, small gummies and schoolies but plenty of mackerel and yakkas. They weren’t all too small and we did get several reports of respectable bags of table fish of all the species above. There were no real surprises or stand out fish in size, unless you count the handful of whiting and calamari caught on the corals area, but these species are almost expected now.

Offshore produced the most fish and the best quality reports but in fairness there was more boats offshore than in the bay. We had a lot of species reported from quality table fish like flathead and gummies to the more sporting bluefin to kingfish. There was lots of bait and if you were on a drift you needed plenty of berley to get past it at times. The tuna reports came from lots of areas from seal rocks to Harmers Haven and a couple of things mentioned in most of the reports, 30m to 50m and find the edge of the dirty water or temperature change which was usually the same. The other thing that most of the successful customers reported was don’t stress about searching the ocean for birds working simply tune the sounder in and work between those two depths watching for fish. There have been a lot of kingfish picked up the same way and not necessarily over the usual areas of structure. We get asked everyday “what is the best lure to use for the tuna” and while we, like everyone has ideas of what we think is the best to use, from the reports, use it all even those you don’t think will work. We have been told of so many different colours, shapes and types of lures that people have caught the tuna on that I really just think put out a pattern of everything and see, we even had a report of one caught on a fillet of mackerel that was dropped down on what they thought was kingfish.

The flathead showed up in good numbers and a few quality bags came back to the ramp but don’t head too deep was the message from the reports. There is also some good numbers of silver whiting in the same areas and plenty of baitfish, yakkas, mackerel and the couta, both big and small have showed up  in numbers. Reports also of gummies and schoolies and some quality pinkies down around the Powlett and windmills.

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