By the amount of boats out on Friday morning it was either an RDO, sicky or maybe just a sign of the ordinary weather we have had of late and people taking advantage of one of those small windows we are having. Sunday was just as good and a little warmer but a slower start and unlike Friday, when I arrived Sunday at 6am there was hardly any out but by 10am there was a line of boats from Rhyll to Elizabeth island and a large group in front of the police station. The snapper reports were good from both days with fish coming from 2 areas Friday and a little more difficult to find Saturday. We arrive at work occasionally to people waiting for us to open to get a fishing licence, while we are grateful for the business often a licence is all that is required. What many people don’t realize is you can get your fishing licence online with the longer term ones actually cheaper to do that way. As well as being cheaper you will also get a hard plastic licence sent out in the mail instead of the piece of paper I will give you.
Over the next week or so we will start delivering our summer catalogue and if you aren’t local keep an eye on our Facebook page and web site. There are plenty of specials for you Christmas shopping and along with the catalogue we have increased our stock variety with many new products. We have increased our snorkelling gear and we are now an agent for Cressi diving and snorkelling. Because of our limited space we can’t keep everything in stock but have access to the entire Cressi range and can get it in for you.
Although most of the snapper reports came from Friday there was a couple of chances during the week for a fish and we did get the odd report. During the week those who headed out during the week targeted tides because the wasn’t all day windows and often the conditions weren’t that good. The snapper during the week were all on the bigger side and very few pinkies but I think this could be because the areas fished weren’t the areas we normally hear of many pinkies and those heading out were really just targeting bigger fish. Friday and Sunday was a different story and we had plenty of pinkies reported with a lot of boats out in the middle of the day fishing across the corals area. Some of the pinkies are respectable but the majority are very small and not fish to be able to take home. The bigger snapper from those 2 days were caught at each end of the day with the best we weighed 7kg and a couple of 8kg plus ones we were told of. The best areas were Rhyll on the start of the drop into the deep around 10m then onto the shallow mud areas later in the evening. The majority of the pinkies are being reported from the corals, 6m or so and from the mid part of the day. The pinkies are already a nuisance when they find you because there are some big schools of very small undersized ones. Cleeland bight has been very quiet for snapper this year but we have finally had a handful of reports this week and good fish at that around 4kg.
We see several school sharks every year but for bigger ones almost all the reports come from offshore and the ones caught in the bay are pups. Over the last 2 weeks we have had reports of schools shark between 10 and 20kg that have been caught in the bay. They have all come from those fishing in the deeper water and up around Elizabeth island. Gummies have been ok while nothing too special and the reports of bigger ones have disappeared. Those being reported are around the 4kg mark and plenty that are only just over size. There seems to still be a problem with people measuring gummies, by the reports with a couple of people tell me they have seen several undersized ones at the cutting tables over the last few weeks. When they have asked the question of the person filleting the gummy it was an obvious they were measuring them as an overall length and not a carcass length.
One species you don’t have to measure and this season I don’t think it would matter anyway is calamari because the size has been excellent and the average the best we have seen. The numbers have been good this week also and Saturday there were plenty caught off the San Remo jetty. If you were in the boat or kayak it wasn’t too difficult either to get a bag of calamari. There was the odd report from Cowes jetty and Ventnor beach but certainly better from this side of the bay. The water is very clear in places now and artificial jigs are a standout option over the baited jigs.
Despite the weather and the very limited opportunities the reports have been better than expected and the quality of the fish above average. Hopefully with the late spawning the snapper will stay around for a while and will lead into the better conditions for the offshore season to start. It’s that time of the year when most of us start our Christmas shopping and no matter what you are looking to buy don’t forget your local stores wherever you live. The island, San Remo and Wonthaggi have a huge variety of stores now and most are very competitive on price but also run by locals trying to make a living and there for your convivence but most importantly the money will stay in the community you live and not to an online shop run by an offshore company. As a local business we would be stupid to think that all locals only shop with us or we can compete on everything but like all local businesses all we ever ask is for a chance to compete.