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Seamaster Branch Manager, Port Lincoln Jamie Crawford’s fishing update from the Eyre Peninsula

After one of the wettest years on record here on the Eyre Peninsula we’re finally starting to see some breaks in the weather. We’re still seeing winds from the westerly quarter, which is unusual for this time of year, but in the water, the seasons have shifted and we’re starting to see our summer species arrive.

Our local bays have been fishing well for King George whiting, with the sand holes in Proper Bay, Spalding Cove and along the north shore returning some nice whiting, especially around the bigger tides and late in the day towards twilight. There have also been some nice garfish coming from these grounds too, and it’s been good to see these tasty inshore fish pushing into our bay waters already.

The whiting have tapered off down the Passage, but some nice fish have still been caught around Thistle Island. There has been a white pointer visiting boats along the north of the island so be careful if you’re fishing from a smaller vessel in this area. Bronze whalers have started pushing into our inshore waters, with marine scale operators catching quite a few bronzies for the local fish processors. We have the full range of longline equipment in stock for the summer shark season, with wire trace, circle and sports hooks, tarred polyester mainline and mono branch line plus associated crimps and snaps.

Both the recreational and professional fishers have been finding the calamari fishing slower than usual over the past couple of months but let’s hope they improve over the coming month or two. Over the Coffin Bay side of the peninsula, King George have been caught inside the bay system along with salmon trout and a few garfish. The fishing in the bay should improve as the water warms over the following month or two.

It’s a similar story past Point Longnose with plenty of whiting caught over the tape weed meadows along with a few nice snook. The whiting will start to get a bit patchier through these grounds, but it was a good Spring for King George through these grounds for both the recreational and marine scale fishers. It was a similar story up the coast at Venus Bay where the whiting fishing has been pretty consistent through the spring months.

Some nice gummy sharks up to around 15kg have been caught through the deeper grounds out from Frenchmans Bluff and into the bay itself at Coffin Bay. Quite a few gummies have been caught by whiting fishers who set a bigger bait out the back at the same time as targeting whiting, so it’s always worthwhile setting a bigger bait out the back. Up the coast from Coffin Bay at Krause Rocks there have been some big salmon up to 5kg patrolling these rocky bommies, but no signs of tuna as yet. We should hopefully see the first reports of school bluefin pushing down our west coast in the coming weeks.

On the commercial front the tuna fleet have been preparing for the coming season, with the first vessels expected to head to sea in the middle of December. At present the fleet are busy readying vessels and cages (tow and static) ready for the tuna to arrive.

The Spencer Gulf prawn fleet have completed their first trip of the season for a modest catch. With the early October trip and cool water temperatures the catch rates were below average. At the time of writing (end of November) the fleet is currently on the second trip of the season. Let’s hope for improved catch rates on this current trip.

The oyster industry has been quite positive in SA of late with good demand on product and no health issues reported. The recent SAOGA conference was a good opportunity to catch up with farmers and industry partners, and to keep updated on new PIRSA regulations. There has been a lot of development with Hexcyl baskets and FlipFarm in Coffin Bay of late. We keep the full range of Hexcyl products on hand at Seamaster Fishing Supplies in Port Lincoln, so if you need any new or replacement components feel free to drop in and chat to our friendly staff.