Something in the Eyre?

Hearing names like Cape Catastrophe, Point Avoid, Thorny Passage and Coffin Bay doesn’t exactly wet your appetite as a place you would like to visit. Particularly when your primary focus is to take to the water and go fishing! Matthew Flinders gave these less than appealing names for these points of interest on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula in the early 1800s. We can’t exactly blame him; he lost a party of 8 from his crew whilst in the area, including his shipmaster John Thistle.

Nowadays the Eyre Peninsula is well known as home to some of the world’s most sought after seafood delicacies including, Bluefin Tuna, Southern Rock Lobster, Crayfish, Abalone and Oysters. The seaside towns of Port Lincoln and Coffin Bay sit at the helm of the region and provide the land based infrastructure required to keep this world-class commercial fishery going. As the largest commercial fishing fleet in the Southern Hemisphere and producing highly sought after seafood species on a large scale, it’s hard not to sit up and take notice of the recreational fishing opportunity that this place presents.

The Eyre Peninsula’s geographical location is it’s biggest fishing secret. Both Port Lincoln and Coffin Bay reap the rewards of the Great Australian Coastal Upwelling System. This natural event occurs annually during the summer months where the prevailing winds shift parallel to the coast forcing the coastal waters offshore. This movement in the ocean causes nutrient-enriched waters to the surface near the edge of the continental shelf. During this time the Southern Ocean’s ecosystem awakens providing fantastic fishing. Coffin Bay’s renowned oysters also benefit from the increased level of nutrients in the water.

As one of Australia’s most diverse fishing grounds, anglers have the opportunity to catch a large variety of highly sought after species including Bluefin Tuna, King George Whiting, King Fish, Snapper, Blue Morwong and big Trevally. Local knowledge of this area is critical to successfully fish these waters. Time of year, target species, weather conditions all play a key role on what your fishing itinerary should look like.

Port Lincoln Fishing – When to go

In terms of timing, from June to January the fishing off Port Lincoln around Wedge Island, Thistle Islands and Thorny Passage is where the best action generally is found. February to May normally sees the best fishing move to the waters off Coffin Bay where both Greenly Island and Rocky Island are regularly visited.

If you’re interested in an Eyre Peninsula fishing trip around certain target species, here is a brief outline on what to expect and when:

Bluefin Tuna: Late Summer and early Autumn

King Fish: Late Spring and Summer

King George Whiting, Snapper, Salmon: All year round

N.B. a statewide Snapper fishing closure applies from midday of November 1 to midday Dec 15th annually.

To lean more about our Eyre Peninsula fishing experiences, please see here.

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