A lot of people hit the water in summer right across Australia and SA is no exception. With the warmer weather and school holidays, a lot of families head away to seaside locales to kick back, relax and catch a few fish. Although fishing in summer isn’t always an easy time of year to go fishing – well not in SA anyway.
Summer is often windy in SA, with south easterlies dominating our weather pattern. The water is often clear through lack of decent swell and storm activity, and there is a lot more boating activity and fishing pressure. Some species of fish are about in decent numbers in SA during summer, but other species become quite wary in these conditions, and can be quite challenging.
The most popular form of summer fishing in SA is targeting our humble KG whiting. Summer is not our peak period for this species, so you will need to have a game plan in place if you are hoping for regular success. Being on the water early, fishing deeper drops and over hard bottom, and not berleying too heavily (as summertime sees a lot more rubbish fish entering out bays) are keys to better whiting catches at this fickle time of year.
Blue swimmer crabs would be the next biggest targets for the summer fishos in SA. These delectable crustaceans can be targeted from a number of shallow bay systems and Gulf waters during summer, and makes for a really enjoyable day on the water.
Shallow seagrass meadows in the 3 to 6m-depth range see the majority of blue crab action. We prefer dropping baited hoop nets for crabs, but other people enjoy raking and also snorkelling for them. We have 6 nets (baited with fish frames and old scraps of bait), and we spread the nets until we find a concentration of crabs. Remember that berried females must be returned to the water ASAP, and it’s been encouraging to see lots of berried females so far this season.
Southern calamari are another popular summertime target here in SA, although their numbers are generally lower in our bay systems during summer than what they are during the cooler months. We’ve been enjoying some reasonable squid fishing over the past few weeks, and interestingly we’ve found better numbers away from the hard bottom and over weed beds in slightly deeper water, in the 5 to 7m depth range. As usual Shimano Egixile jigs have been working really well, with the Olive Gold and Keimura white standout performers.
Snapper are also a hot target during summer, and it’s a good time of year to target them. Once some fish are found they are prone to shying off the bite with the summer boating traffic, so if you do find some good fish keep it to yourself! Our deeper drops in our Gulfs hold some good fish at this time of year, and there are smatterings of larger fish feeding through our shallow regions too. The shallow water fishing is generally tougher during summer with clearer water often putting the fish off, so it is better to concentrate on the deeper drops.
Summer marks the beginning of the offshore season for us here in SA, and at the time of writing some good schools of SBTs have been making their way down the western side of the Eyre Peninsula and through to the north coast of Kangaroo Island. These are mainly school-sized fish in the 8 to 12kg category, but some better fish of 25 to 30kg have been landed.
As well as the arrival of SBTs in our local waters, some good kings have made a showing around some of our offshore islands and reef systems. Running deep divers in the 120 to 160mm size range has been accounting for a few fish, but also jigging and live baiting has claimed some quality fish up to around 18kgs.
Picking the weather is the hard part of the offshore equation at this time of year, with blowy conditions dominating our weather pattern. I always try to head out in tandem at this time of the year, as the weather can be unpredictable.
Beach fishing is another popular summer avenue here in SA. Along our Gulf beaches yellowfin whiting are the main target, with a few mulloway and some gummy sharks taken from our surf beaches for those prepared to put in the time.
There are still some salmon around on our local surf beaches, but not in the numbers seen during winter. And we don’t get as many northerly winds at this time of year (preferred wind for surf fishing in SA) – and when we do get the northerlies at this time of year they’re normally a stinking hot wind.
There is some good fishing to be had during our summer months here in SA despite the increased boating activity and fickle weather. However it pays to be on the water early to maximise that bite period and to avoid the crowds. Summer sees a new wave of species move into our inshore waters, so it pays to know what species to target, and how to target them for best results.