One of our state’s best kept Whiting secrets is Port Clinton, down to Price and across to the Proof Range. I have fished these waters for 20 years, and without a doubt it’s my best King George spot in winter.
I’ve fished Streaky Bay, Smokey Bay, Kangaroo Island, Coffin Bay, Sultana Point, Black Point and Corny Point. In actual fact, I’ve fished every Bay, Point or Port on the York Peninsula at some stage, but I keep going back to Port Clinton.
Now I know you’re all thinking, “local knowledge, you have your own man made marks and locals tell you where the King George are biting.” And you’re right, but above all that, you need local knowledge, and a tractor to launch off Clinton. Out of Price on one of my favourite whiting marks, there are no other boats within cooee. It’s never over-fished, and the pros tend to stay away because the King George are never over 40 cm, and in the summer months, baby snapper and shitty trumpeters are everywhere.
I have 10 - 12 marks within a three nautical-mile radius, and fish the incoming tide two hours before high, and then for an hour or two after.
If I can’t find Whiting in the first two or three casts, I pull up the pick and move to my next mark. Without question, moving and fishing in the right tides is the big key.
But getting the boat spot on the mark is of vital importance. I have mates that jeer me for picking up the pick and dropping it five times to make sure it’s smack on the mark.
So it’s happy days with plenty of King George in the boat. Although mind you, with no wind and a good tide I can drop right on the mark. However if there is wind against the tide, or any Easterly breeze, it takes a couple of cracks, but it’s worth it.
I have 10 metres of chain and then 60 metres of rope, and in the waters of Port Clinton, I fish in depths of five meters, up to 25 meters.
A cobber of mine, Ashley, the Mayor of Port Clinton, gave me a great tip a while ago. His advice was to have a red line at every 10 meters of rope, so when I set myself to drop the pick I know exactly how much rope I need to let out and how far off the mark I need to be to drop back. Then it’s Keeeeeerbang time!
Big fish are exciting to catch, there is no question about that. Trawling for tuna in the Southern Ocean, hooking up, fighting the sucker into the boat, it’s all bloody good fun.
Even getting on a snapper mark and reeling in two or three 10 - 14 kg big reds is bloody brilliant. But NOTHING beats reaching your quota after having the King George on the bite for an hour.
So there’s my tips. Good luck and happy fishing.