Kangaroo Island fishing report | Beach mullet, wharf whiting

Here we are in the thick of winter in mid August and we thought a fishing report might be appropriate.

The yellow-eye mullet run on KI's beaches this time of year, and you will invariably get a few salmon trout and Tommies, which are all very tasty.

Old timers once told me steak was the go for mullet, but any bait will do.

King George whiting are around this time of year but tend to stick to the cork weed, which makes them harder to find and catch.

We have heard of good catches of KGW, even bag limits being reached, by the regulars on the Kingscote jetty, but an early start is a must.

There are also squid around both off the jetties and in Nepean Bay, just keep an eye out for the whales reportedly sighted at Red Banks last week.

Locals have been launching at the new Emu Bay boat ramp but we hear that you need to pick your day when the swell is down and there may be some weed to clear off before you launch too.

Good news for the future is that we have heard reports of good numbers of small snapper on the north coast reefs.

There have also been good catches of whiting for those who head out into Investigator Strait from Emu Bay.

While those fishing in deeper water off Emu Bay and also on the Drifts out of Kingscote have been catching gummy shark.

NEW BOAT: Sean Pearce from Emu Bay Fishing Charters and his new charter vessel "True Story". He already has multiple bookings for the rest of year and he has joined other charter operators lobbying against a closure.

NEW BOAT: Sean Pearce from Emu Bay Fishing Charters and his new charter vessel "True Story". He already has multiple bookings for the rest of year and he has joined other charter operators lobbying against a closure.

Snapper continue to be hot topic around SA. Local KI fishers have confirmed any closure of snapper fishery in Gulf St. Vincent would take in the north coast of Kangaroo Island.

The first option is a three-year statewide closure taking in both the north and south coasts of KI, while allowing snapper fishing in South East.

A second option or Option B would limit the three-year snapper closure to waters of West Coast/Spencer Gulf and Gulf St. Vincent regions, including Investigator Strait

KI commercial fisherman Mike Fooks just retired after 20 years as the chairman of the Marine Fishers Association SA.

He confirmed the Option B closure would also take in KI's northern shore and impact on rec fishers, two pro marine scale fishers and two local charter boats.

But there had been a "bad culture" around snapper for years with all sectors targeting spawning snapper, ignoring rules and releasing fish to die, and perhaps there did need to be "a reset", he said.

"The management has been bad for years and there needs to be more resources for research and compliance."

Sean Pearce from Emu Bay Fishing Charters said a three-closure of snapper fishing would have devastating impact on his and other charter businesses.

And the entire tourism economy on the Island and rest of SA would suffer, he said.

He had just upgraded his charter vessel and already had multiple bookings for the rest of year for his new boat True Story.

"Customers have an expectation to catch SA's iconic species - snapper and whiting, and they are not going to want to come all the way to Emu Bay to catch snook," he said.

He said his charter licence fee had just increased 21 per cent and he was already restricted from catching King George whiting during the annual Investigator Strait whiting spawning closure in May.

Shane Murton from Fishing SA magazine said the impacts of a closure would be drastic but some hard management decisions had to be made, with Option B preferred.

Sticking on the snapper theme, the South Australian Research and Development Institute have just released a paper on the impact of seals on fish.

The debate about the decline on South Australia's snapper stocks has seen some blame fur seals. But the study found that sea lions and fur seals only take a very small percentage of fish.

And counter intuitively or opposite to what one would perhaps expect, the more fur seals there are the more fish there are, with a healthy population of predators leading to more prey.

The study was mentioned at the recent Science Week talk about sea lions and The Islander will be chasing up SARDI for more details.

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