It has been a very strange Christmas holiday period so far, not only on the fishing front but with all the events of the last few weeks. There are plenty of mixed emotions from those visiting and even locals, some guilty that they are out fishing while others have nothing left and an uncertain future and feel they should be putting their efforts into helping out. There is a lot of the keyboard warrior stuff on social media, mostly written by those who have no idea what they are talking about or not even involved playing the blame game. You get a much better idea of the situation when you actually speak to those who have been directly affected, which we have had several families through over the last week, their attitude is often not what is expected. From those we have spoken to and are directly affected, there is certainly the emotion of loss and uncertainty in the direct future but for now as one family told us, the safest place for their family and the best place for them to be is away from the area, enjoy their holiday as much as they can for their kids and when safe to do so go home and pick up the pieces. They also said it’s the best thing anybody can do until the area in deemed safe to keep clear access for emergency services. Another couple also said its the minority that are playing the blame game are not necessarily representative, in their experience of the greater communities. Retrospect is a marvellous thing and there will be lots to come out later to see why but for now concentrating on what should have, is taking away focus from what is needed right now. It’s happened, that we can’t change but once it’s all over we need to make sure it won’t happen again, one family told us. Speaking with our customers that are members of the fire service and ses their suggestion is if you want to get involved contact the local services or charity organisations who can give you the contact numbers you will need. Also, when donating do it through registered organisations or those people you trust or know and not a plea over social media or a door to door collector. Unfortunately for as many that are doing good on social media, and there is some great work being done, there are those who are not so good but have very convincing stories and your money will get nowhere near where you want it to. San Remo businesses and many other businesses around the BCS has already and is continuing to organise fundraisers and where possible we will share posts on our Facebook page and that of the San Remo Traders Facebook page if you wanted to get involved.
Fishing, and finally several good days in a row to get in all types of fishing, boating in the bay and offshore, land based from the jetties to the surf and even the rivers. We had reports coming from all over the place and they were very mixed for quality and quantity. Some were satisfied with a feed while other were disappointed with not bagging out. Overall with the majority of the reports coming from visitors, many first time, the expectations weren’t as high as it is sometimes with regular fishermen to the area and they are satisfied with something for the table that night. As there always is, plenty missed out altogether despite their best efforts but there did seem to be a bit of a pattern from the reports. Time and perseverance was the better option over the last week and not moving around to look for the fish. Successful customers told us that they picked a spot and just sat and waited and said the fish would come on for a short time then go away for enough time to have a cup of coffee, one customers told us then they would come on again. The other option for the better reports was from those who found a quiet section of the bay where there was no one else fishing.
Whiting reports were good, if you managed to find the bigger ones straight up otherwise you were going through a lot of bait fattening up the tiny ones. We didn’t see too many over the 42cm mark and the average was closer to 32cm when you add in the small ones. If you managed to find a good patch on your first stop a dozen 36cm to 42cm seemed to be the popular number and one to be satisfied with. Those who tried for more at a new spot or same spot didn’t report much improvement to their bags as if they had their quota and the sea wasn’t giving you anymore. Those who found the small ones first up then chased all day for an average bag and reported a lot of whiting that were around the 30cm or less and very skinny. The best spots for the better fish again was the deeper sections around tortoise head and the shallower areas from reef island to coronet bay. We did have several mixed reports from below the bridge in cleeland bight but almost all from very early in the day or on sunset. The common trend to all the whiting reports this week was there was no guarantee of catching the same size fish in the same spot the next day or even the same afternoon.
Offshore we are starting to get plenty of reports and no shortage of quality with those reports, makos, kingfish, snapper, flathead gummy and school shark and some very big seven gill sharks. If you drop a squid jig down to the bottom you will also find some of those big arrow squid and if you drop a jig down mid-way there have been several calamari reported. We haven’t seen a lot of salmon schools yet or schools of the pencil mackerel, but the odd school of much bigger blue mackerel have been seen, one customer telling us they were very flighty and difficult to catch. Those chasing kings there is plenty of live bait, mostly yakkas around the headlands. The flathead reports have come from close to land and a max depth of 40m with one report containing over a dozen 50cm tiger ones. the makos have varied in size, 30kg to 150kg but all come from similar area, 30m to 40m of water off Kilcunda. Gummies, school shark and snapper all from two areas, 25m to 28m on the reefs off Kilcunda/powllet area and 40m off the nobbies. Kingfish reports have been in several spots but usual spots from cape Patterson to the nobbies and while almost all we have seen has been rats, just size and the bigger ones won’t be far behind as conditions continue to improve.