With the shortest day behind us it can only be up hill from here, would be great if that was the case but as we all know July/August will probably bring some colder weather and a bit of that winter wind. We will however in the next month or so slowly see a return to driving home after work without reaching for the headlight switch. We will also see, once we get to August a few reports of the bigger reds showing up in the reports as the new seasons fish return. Despite a bit of winter weather to come there is no way you could complain about the last month or so with some of the best June fishing conditions I can remember since taking over the shop. July 1st sees the end of our 14th year and as we move into our 15th year hopefully one of the most challenging years in that time won’t be repeated. It’s the case for almost everyone in business around the island but the positivity and the willingness to try different things will hopefully see most still open come the summer, the local support has also going to go a long way towards them remaining open as well.
When I speak to customers and get reports from them there is a parallel with what businesses are doing, those trying different things are coming out as the most successful. The reports we are getting are far from normal and I think it has a bit to do with the year we have had. Normally this time of the year there would be ½ the amount of people fishing as there are and the weather nowhere as good.
One thing that is normal is the quality of the whiting we have seen, low in numbers but up there in quality. While the areas they are being caught are normal some of the times of day and tide and some of the methods are a little different. The best area has been from the top end of dickies bay, maggi shoal, bass river, reef island and the back of Leolia shoal. Other reports came from tortoise head, gardeners channel side and below the bridge in cleeland bight. From the reports, decide your area and spend ½ and hour then move if nothing is happening or too many todies or leatherjackets show up but don’t move too far just a couple of hundred meters or so or so. The deeper parts of these areas have been better and only berley once you catch a whiting. Be ready, spare rig or rod, baits cut up ready because if they come on you will only get a very short time to catch as many as you can before they go, or the rubbish shows up. While the average size has been around the mid-thirties the fillets are equivalent to a n almost 40cm one. Baits this week consisted of the usual pippies, squid and pilchards, sometimes all at once and at least a cocktail of a couple with one customer who has been trying different things lately using small pieces of tuna, some lightly salted and in his words it killed the other baits.
It would appear from the reports this week the pinkies have finally gone, or at least thinned out considerably. We had very few reported but nowhere the number as over the last month and from nowhere near the same number of places. As expected though we did have some bigger pinkies reported now the smaller ones have gone. It’s as if they can finally get to the baits with those who sent in the reports said the pinkies hit the baits and fought like they were double their weight. the best was just under 4kg with the rest around the 3kg mark. Corals, Elizabeth island and much further up around lang lang the best spots.
It’s not too difficult to work what time of the year it is if you are someone that targets gummies with the cooler water now bringing in plenty of draughtboard sharks and port jackons. We have seen the odd, size gummy but a little quieter than expected. Normally this time of the year we see some quality from our land based customers, but they aren’t managing a lot over just size at the moment. Maybe the gummies are as confused as everything else and will show up a little later than normal. Even the boats are struggling a little and while we did have a few better ones reported there wasn’t as many as we expected especially with the weather conditions being so good. The main target areas for land based gummies this time of the year, full or new moon, everyone has their ideas, and both produce, Woolamai surf beach at Anzacs beach, Temby point, Cowes jetty, Stockyard point and one often overlooked for the high tide is Grantville. While they are all different spots a tide change and night-time are common to all of them.
PHOTO: Quality offshore snapper caught by Duncan Firth