WITH SHANE MENSFORTH
THERE can be no doubt that winter is truly upon us. Frequent north-westerly fronts should now dominate weather patterns for the next couple of months, bringing both positives and negatives for local anglers. On the plus side of the ledger, regular storms should keep the bottom feeders like whiting and snapper on a constant hunt for food. However, heavy onshore winds also will restrict access and keep most boats on their trailers for longer than normal.
Winter fishing in SA is about planning around the weather. There are plenty of sheltered areas, such as the Port River for small boats, the Onkaparinga, West Lakes and the Murray, which is firing at present for callop and the occasional large cod. The bottom line, of course, is not to pack the gear away and give up. There are countless winter options if you think about where and when to head out. Before the wind started on Monday there were still good numbers of mullet to be caught along most of the metro foreshore. Some of the better locations include the beach directly in front of Edward St at Brighton, both the Glenelg and Brighton jetties, Tennyson Beach and from the rocks on the southern breakwater at North Haven. You can also expect mullet inside the Patawalonga, West Lakes, the Onkaparinga estuary and from the beaches further south.
This week’s strong onshore winds will undoubtedly stir the shallower water along the coast, which may temporarily upset the mullet schools, but I doubt it will have any longlasting effects.
A few better bream are now beginning to appear in the Onkaparinga River’s lower reaches, and an injection of stormwater into this system certainly won’t cause any harm. Bream don’t mind a bit of fresh, particularly when they are looking to put on condition prior to springtime spawning.
Whiting action should be worth checking out once this current series of cold fronts clears away and conditions settle. Reasonable catches were reported from the grounds off Minda Home, the Broadway and Marino, all of which should be worth a visit as soon as sea conditions permit. Softened squid and Goolwa cockles will get the job done if the KG’s are on the job.
Salmon trout continue to move through the Port River system, although average size is still down. This is a good time to be looking for mulloway, their main predators, but you’ll have to rug up and be prepared to sit out the cold nights. The slower tides are definitely better for live baiting, so plan your evening sorties accordingly.
I haven’t heard much salmon news from Port Noarlunga, but it’s a fair bet this recent bout of strong wind will stir them into action shortly. The first genuine “barrel” bluefin tuna was caught this week off Beachport, a lovely fish of 90kg.
Smaller tuna are still available in unprecedented numbers offshore from Port MacDonnell, but getting out to them looks a bit tricky until the weather has settled and ocean SATURDAY TIDE TIMES Port Adelaide SUN & MOON TIMES Port Lincoln swell abates. Ten-year-old angler, Sam Whan, boated a potential junior record mako shark of 99kg on just 10kg line last weekend wide of Port MacDonnell, which is terrific effort for one so young.
There are still plenty of school sharks out wide in this area too, many of which are better than 20kg.
Shore-based anglers are pulling plenty of nice gar at Livingstones and Cape Douglas, along with mullet and the occasional salmon. Cape Banks is probably the mullet hot-spot down that way at present, and most are of excellent size.
Mulloway reports from the Glenelg River have been very encouraging. Fish to over a metre have been taken in several locations, including the jetty at Donovans Landing and the stretch between Taylors Strait and Nelson. Reports have been thin this week, except for a few squid from the jetties at Second Valley, Rapid Bay and the Bluff at Victor Harbor. There are tommies at Cape Jervis in the evenings, but their average size isn’t great.
Bream are still active in the Hindmarsh River at Victor, particularly from late afternoon into the darkness. Surf casters are now finding salmon action far more consistent, from Locks Well all the way through to Coffin Bay National Park. The Locks Well fish are in the 2-3kg bracket on average, while those on Almonta and Gunyah Beaches are a bit bigger. The same applies in Lincoln National Park, with Wanna, the Salmon Hole and Millers Hole all firing.
Port Lincoln’s yellowfin whiting run is now in full swing, from the Axel Stenross ramp all the way to the yacht club. Live clickers are the best bait, but you can also expect to catch some on seaweed worms and pieces of peeled prawn. Squid are still in good supply along Lincoln’s North Shore, and there are some nice flathead for those using soft plastics or pilchards. Ardrossan jetty has squid, tommies and the occasional school mulloway, but crabs have now thinned out. Most jetties on the eastern shore remain consistent for calamari, but those on the opposite side have shut down due to dirty water. This is prime time for squid around the Peninsula, and finding an area of clean water is definitely the key.
YOU BEAUTY: Phil Radley from Port Pirie caught this massive 50cm King George whiting while out on the water with a couple of mates at a Port Victoria fishing trip. Send us your fishing picture for the chance to see it in YOUR WEEKEND on Friday. Email...