Jamie Crawford from Seamaster Port Lincoln reports.

Overall, it’s been a good quarter of fishing for the recreational and commercial sectors here on the lower Eyre Peninsula. Although on the smaller size, our school bluefin tuna were around in good numbers this season. They have now continued their eastern migration and have vacated our offshore grounds.

Winter catch

Nice yellowtail kingfish and samson fish were also caught around our offshore islands over the past 3 months by recreational fishers. These two popular species are also moving away from these autumn grounds. Some big samson fish should start showing up a bit closer to Port Lincoln soon. Heavy tackle is needed for these reef brawlers, with quality gear capable of fishing 50 – 80lb braid needed for these tough fish.

For those chasing a feed of tasty table fish, King George whiting has been on the bite in Proper Bay and along the North Shore in Port Lincoln. Late in the day, especially coinciding with high tide has been the peak bite time. Lightweight threadline outfits of around 6’6” are perfect for our shallow water King George, matched with a 2500-sized reel and 10lb braid.

The same outfits can be used for chasing garfish in the shallows and fishing for calamari. Calamari have been around in reasonable numbers of late, with the size improving at this time of year. Our range of Croatian DTD jigs has been super-effective on these tasty critters. Try using the smaller 2.5 to 3.0 size jigs for land based locations. The larger 3.5 and 4.0 models ideal when fishing from a boat.

Commercial fishing

Our local Marine Scale commercial fishers have been catching a feed calamari in our local waters. With our west coast bays starting to offer reasonable catches of winter King George whiting as well. Demersal longlining for gummy and school sharks is popular at this time of year, with some of the best catches of gummy sharks for the year reported over the following couple of months.

Local prawn fleets has been plugging away fishing around the dark of the moon here in Spencer Gulf, and they are preparing to do their last trip of the season at the time of writing. While the overall tonnage has been lower than expected this season, the price has been good from most reports. We hope our local fleet can finish their season with a good final trip, and then it’s maintenance time until the first trip of the new season in October.

The local pilchard vessels have been busy, catching their Gulf and West Coast quota when the conditions allow. The majority of this locally caught bait is used to feed the caged bluefin tuna which are being ranched and fattened for the Japanese market. Tuna harvest is expected to start in early June, with the arrival of the Japanese freezer boats not too far away.