It seems like only a few weeks ago that we were clearing out our bait freezers to close the shop during the first lockdown when in reality it has been over 6 months. With the exception of the war years it would be difficult to come up with a stranger year than the one we have had so far. While every year has its challenges, they are generally only short term and quickly forgotten about. Not only will this not be forgotten quickly it isn’t even over yet and no one knows how much longer it will go for. From all the happenings overseas and even in Australia it is fairly obvious to most that eradication will not be possible and even with a vaccine it appears we will have some type of restrictions for a long while yet. With the current restrictions it makes it difficult for everyone but a little thought and patience we can all make it work. We have had a few people in the shop over the last couple of weeks that have taken offence to us asking them to put their masks on or to wait outside a second until people in the shop leave. We are not the ones making the rules just simply following them. Once you enter a shop doesn’t mean you can remove your mask because you are inside, and we are currently restricted with customer numbers due to social distancing. Hopefully, these restrictions will all be over soon but until then, while there is a fine for not adhering the regulations just keep in mind the fines for business are 10 x as much.
We are going to be coming up to a busy time at cup weekend and these regulations will make for some testing times for all businesses and there will be inconvenience for all. Business is doing all it can to accommodate its customers but there is a couple of things that customers can do to help business. With the restrictions on numbers in the shops, instead of the whole family going in to take up numbers just one person go in and get what you need and if you think the mask wearing is unnecessary or have a problem with Covid 19 restrictions it’s not the person behind the counter that is making the rules. We will be trialling a few things as we come to the busy time to speed up the time people need to spend in the shop so as people don’t have to spend too much time waiting on the footpath. We will be posting changes as we go on our social media and through signage on the window. Over the next couple of weeks we will come up with a list of times/days that we are busiest/quietest so those who want more help to get started or maybe some advice on new tackle could time their visit when we can spend maximum time with them. Hopefully, none of this will be necessary but until that time we will continue to look at different ways to help all of our customers.
The spring winds have dominated again this week but there has been a couple of those spring days we all enjoy, sunshine and warmth in the air and fishable conditions. Like other months through the year, early spring is one of those times that you just have to be ready to go to take advantage of the small windows that come along. Several did this week and while still patchy the lack of traffic on the bay has made for some very good fishing. Snapper of course have been the main target with plenty of bycatch like gummies, whiting and freezer filling bait fish, couta, yakkas and salmon. Land based as well has shown some improvement with a handful of reports, snapper, trevally, salmon, couta and even a few calamari off the jetties.
While I am a little reluctant to say the calamari are getting better the reports lately have shown an improvement. The boat and kayak reports were more promising than the land but still not too many getting into double figures. Some of the better reports of calamari have come from offshore in the deep water and not over the shallow weed beds. Those caught offshore are all on the bigger side with mixed sizes in the shallow. We also had a couple of reports of arrow squid but not from offshore but in the bay in cleeland bight. The best of the land reports is still off the beaches for calamari but a few more reports from the jetties will see more fishing when the tides are right.
Snapper reports are just continuing along as you would expect and about the same as normal with only the weather holding most people back. The size of the snapper and where they were caught came back to what and where you would expect this week. Even the reefs of Kilcunda where they have been quiet so far produced as you would expect the quality sized pinkies. Still haven’t had reports from below the bridge in cleeland bight and although the other reports are getting somewhere near normal in the areas and snapper size the numbers are still a little low with most only landing a couple for the boat.
Several good gummies caught this week from those chasing snapper and most were around the 6kg to 8kg mark. There were the usual 100’s of undersized ones swimming with the 100’s of undersized pinkies and while it kept the kids busy it soon depleted the bait supplies. The gummy reports came from along French island, more towards Elizabeth Island and from offshore. We also had a report of a school shark caught offshore that tipped the scales to almost 30kg.
There is plenty of bait in the bay, salmon, trevally, couta and yakkas and its always worth the effort to head out a little early for fresh calamari. We are now back to opening 7 days a week, 9/5 Mon/Fri and 8/5 on weekends. As the weather improves, we will start to open earlier during the week and weekends.