Despite all the rumours and suggestions of major changes it would appear that little has changed in the new 2020 fishing guide and sizes and limits for species caught around here stay the same. There are a couple of minor changes that you will need to be aware of but have a good read when you pick up your copy to be sure. You can also get the guide online and on the fisheries app. A couple of things that will be relevant to here are,
# The use of barbed flying gaffs (with a hook) for game fishing will be allowed.
# Hand-held spears with more than 2 prongs and barbs will be allowed to be used (in locations where hand-held spears are currently permitted).
# The daily catch limit for bass yabby (shrimp) (currently 100 bass yabby) will be replaced with a volume limit of 0.5 litres per person, per day.
With a couple of ok days and a couple of not so ok days this week the reports were all over the place and so was the size of the fish. In the bay it was a bit of a struggle, although we did have a few quality reports but offshore it seems to be just starting to fire up. The surprise in the bay this week was the size of the pinkies, they have grown up overnight and plenty were reported around the 36cm to 38cm mark. The only problem was there was also 100’s still around that would be lucky to make 20cm. It appears that we have a second run of better quality pinkies and ones well worth taking home. Most of the reports of the bigger pinkies came from the corals area, around 6m of water. Apart from the undersized pinkies there was plenty to keep you occupied in the same area with lots of very small gummies and flathead. We did have a report of a 5kg snapper from the channel off Elizabeth island and a couple of 45cm ones in amongst the smaller pinkies.
The whiting reports were ok this week and most of the customers we spoke to managed to find some, not always plenty to take home but at least something for a meal. No doubt there would have been those who missed out and the ones with the better of the reports were again fishing in the deep water. We also had a couple of whiting reported from very deep water, for whiting anyway, 15m off Elizabeth island in the middle of the channel taking 5/0 hooks and pilchard baits. The same customer also managed 2 calamari in the same spot.
Offshore always produces plenty of rumour’s, but when they are directly from people you know and have photos they quickly become fact. There have been a lot of Bluefin caught again this week and the more caught the more chasing them, so I guess naturally more reports. The rumour’s started a couple of weeks ago and of course the weather turned, and no one could get out to see how many or how big they were. As the conditions improve more are heading out armed with an assortment of lures. There has been some big bait schools off Cape Shank, in close and its where most of the reports have come from. The fish being reported are all around the 10kg to 15kg mark but a couple of customers have reported hooking up to some much bigger, on the lighter gear and just unable to stop them. Rapala x-wraps and small skirts in a variety of colours has done the trick with one customer catching them using pilchards stripped back to the bait balls. Hopefully the bait travels further to the east and we start to see the bluefin caught off the eastern entrance.
Kingfish have also been very good but not a lot of bigger ones as yet with the best we have been told about in the mid 90cm’s. There is an abundance of bait fish with the main problem being the baitfish is too big for live bait. If that’s the case I wouldn’t panic this year because we have had reports on everything you can imagine, Live bait, strip baits, jigs, hard body lures, metal slugs and very small skirts. Just be sure they are kingfish and not very big salmon, as was the case during the week with one customer who thought he had 2 kingfish just over size but when he showed us the photos it was clear they were salmon. There is the other way to identify them according to one of our very young fishermen that was in with his dad over the weekend. His dad was telling us about the kingfish he had caught when his young bloke told us they were tuna not kingfish, then giving us the very simple explanation that if they were kingfish they would have had crowns so they must have been tuna. Nothing beats the innocence and simplicity of youth and definitely the line of the season.
This Saturday see the annual San Remo Channel Challenge swim which means the main street in town will be closed for a period of time during the day. The swim is early this year and the street should be open again by lunchtime and will be closed from around 9am. If you are heading out early I will be here from 6am and you can also drop the boat in the water and head over to the San Remo jetty then walk up to the shop for your supplies. During the summer period you are heading down on a Friday night and running a little late, just give me a call at the shop because there is every chance I will still be here.