Coffin Bay on the lower Eyre Peninsula here in South Oz has long been a popular destination for bluewater fisho’s. Located on the south western tip of the EP, Coffin Bay boasts some great bay and inshore fishing in its own right, but it’s not until you venture wide of the shallow bay and into the bluewater that the options begin to broaden.
We have several offshore islands and a plethora of reef systems and bommies which house a long list of southern heavyweights, including Bluefin tuna, Samson fish, yellowtail kingfish, blue groper, queen and red snapper plus several species of sharks.
I had a session on the water the other day with good mate Ash Smith (of Arno Bay Fishing Charters). Although Arno is Ash’s home base, he ventures to these offshore locales when the weather permits. We headed wide of Coffin Bay and fished some reefs around 100km to the south west of the bay.
This area sees good fishing for southern Bluefin tuna during the summer months and early Autumn, so we opened our account with a few feisty Bluefin. These fish were just in the school category of 15 – 20kg, but provided stacks of fun nonetheless. We were running 4” skirts and 160mm diving hard bodied lures off Saragosa 6000 and 8000’s. The tuna were not balled up on the surface so we had to do a bit of scouting to find some fish.
We were fishing a reef that rose from 90m of water up to around 30m from the surface; a fairly extensive mount. There were a few patches of bait sitting around the pinnacle, and as the morning wore on, the tuna became more aggressive in their feeding.
After playing with a few blueys, we switched our attention to Samson fish and kingfish, and Ash started looking for signs of life sitting deep along the drop-offs to these reefs. We were jigging Shimano butterfly flat fall jigs and Ocea wing jigs in 80 to 160g sizes. We were picking up a few fish on the sounder but they were slow to bite. We plugged away and we eventually picked up a few samsons and couple of nice kings on the smaller 80g jigs. At any size, kingfish and samsons pull hard and are fantastic southern sportfish.
I was jigging with one of the new Socorro SW 10000 matched to a Revolution Offshore 150-250. First impressions with the reel have been good. The drag was smooth, the reel didn’t flex under load, and it had plenty of cranking power. They should prove to be a popular reel for those looking for a well-priced theadline that can handle some serious fish.
The three-hour steam back into the bay that evening was pretty smooth. That was just a small sample of what the waters wide of Coffin Bay can offer. As with most offshore locations, the weather dictates the accessibility and the fishing, and Coffin Bay is certainly no exception here. The offshore waters collect the full brunt of south west swell, but that helps to preserve this fantastic fishery.