A bit of a long story here – it’s a bit hard to put a week of great fishing into a small article! Anyway, myself and 3 other keen kayak fishermen headed to Fowlers Bay for a week of intensive fishing – the plan being to try catch a decent mulloway at dog fence beach and when the opportunity arose to try a few of the inshore spots around Fowlers for a feed of whiting.
The first night we camped at Davenport Creek, approx 40km west of Ceduna. For those of you that haven’t been there, Davenport Creek is an extensive mangrove lined estuary that provides great protection from any wind from the south. You need a 4wd to get in there as there are some sand dunes that you need to go over to get to the creek proper. This is the spot where we camped – great spot, with the only downer being the mozzies that came out in force at dusk.
We launched at dawn and meandered towards the mouth of the creek which is probably 1-2km away. The mangroves reminded me very much of the Torrens Island area – this photo is of a small creek entering the main channel…
There was a deep hole at the base of the small creek, and we had a bit of fun on some nice salmon trout and a couple of snook that were waiting to ambush small fish coming out of the creek….
There were a lot of very small whiting within the main creek, so we headed out of the mouth to some deeper water. There is a lot of nice broken bottom at the mouth, but it was double header trumpeters from anywhere that had a resemblance of weed. So we went further offshore again, this time finding a deep channel. As mentioned Davenport Creek is protected from the south, but not from the north – unfortunately this day the wind sprung up to around 25 knots from the north which made the fishing difficult as the wind and tide were against each other – which also made me feel like the kayak was going to roll. We pulled several nice KGW from the channel along with some plump salmon trout before the wind made it too difficult. Heres a photo of Richar persevering in his outback….
Between the four of us I think we kept around 20 nice KGW – all in the 37-38cm range. We packed up and headed to the shack we’d hired at Fowlers – and a great shack it was. It had a separate living area with full amenities (beer fridge!, bbq, toilet, shower, double sink, dining table) and it even had its own separate fish filleting room which got a lot of use during the week. This meant we could be as grotty as we wanted in the undercover outside area and keep the shack (relatively) clean.
The outdoor living area……
Once we settled in we thought we’d go over the dunes and try for one of the big Scotts Beach salmon. The last couple of times we had been there the dunes had been impassable, but this time the going was great.
When we reached the beach we could see half a dozen fishos all hooked up to BIG salmon that were in close. This photo does not do it justice, but here is “snoop doggy dog” (don’t ask) about to tackle the sambos. There was an elongated school of fish, which was maybe 100m in length, and only 50m or so offshore….
So we rushed around like mad things getting our surf gear organised and then got amongst them. These were big fish – I didn’t see anything less than 8 pound landed. The biggest I got was approx 8lb, but Scupper managed a great fish on his new outfit that went 9 pound on the scales….
There had been a lot of reports of these big fish at Scotts, so we released plenty with the view that we’d hit the beach later in the trip to take a couple home for friends that had ordered some. Unfortunately, the schools disappeared and we didn’t see another salmon taken from Scotts for the remainder of the week.
With a great day of KGW and salmon behind us, we decided to launch the kayaks at Clare Bay. Clare Bay has a couple of shallow protected lagoons (see report from Solatree a couple of years ago) and is a spot that we’ve always wanted to try. Here is a photo of us about to launch at Clare Bay….
Conditions were ideal, so I did a bit of searching and eventually settled on some broken bottom, and managed to score several of these…..
Scupper was scoring plenty of nice KGW in a particular patch, so I cast in that direction and immediately had a great bite, and thought I’d hooked the mother of all whiting, but it turned out to be a nice salmon………
It kept me busy for 10-15 minutes – 68cm and 8 pound on 6 pound line in shallow water – I was stoked to land it. Unfortunately the long fight took its toll and it wouldn’t revive, so onto the brag mat it went. The other unfortunate thing was that Scupper lost his rod over the side which put a downer on things.
But conditions were so good that all four of us ventured outside of the protected area of Clare Bay searching for some bigger whiting….
We did get several nice whiting, but nothing much over 40cm. Overall I think we ended up with a couple of dozen whiting between us, so another good session and we decided to head in. It was very fortunate that we did come in when we did, as the distant thunder and lightning that was originally heading out to sea was now coming in our direction. We had just started unloading the kayaks on the beach when the wind went from 5 knots to 50 knots in 30 seconds. I’ve never seen anything like it – the kayaks were getting blown down the beach and we had to shelter behind the cars to avoid the sand being blown by the wind. And then the rain started which turned into a huge downpour coming in sideways. Once it had moderated (after 20 or so minutes) we recovered the kayaks and remarked how fortunate we had been in getting off the water when we did. The tide had dropped significantly, and when cracking the first beer whilst inflating the tyres Scupper decided to go for a wade and see if he could find his rod and reel – which he did! Twice that rod and reel has been lost overboard on a far west fishing trip, but no matter how hard he tries he can’t lose the darn thing!
I think this photo is of the fish I got when I first went out at Clare Bay. I reckon I got 4 inside the reef before and another 4 outside the reef after lunch. The others got around the same…..
The next day the wind really picked up from the south-west, forecast of 20-30 knots. There would be no kayak fishing this day, but we still headed out to the ledge on Point Fowler,
but ended up fishing a protected beach where we managed 20 or so KGW amongst the four of us.
We then headed to dog fence beach for an overnight session on the mulloway – but things were decidedly slow….
although snoop dog scored this nice 18 pound mulloway (90cm)
and a couple of salmon approx 8 pound. Scupper got one small mulloway and I got a salmon trout, but things were very slow, so we pulled the pin and went back to Fowlers. Here’s the entrance to dog fence beach – we’re inflating the tyres after having to drop them to around 12 PSI to get out of some soft stuff at the far end of the beach…
Upon our return to Fowlers we decided to spend a day in the yaks in the Western end of Scotts Beach…..
and what a great decision it was. Bag limits of KGW all round – well at least I thought it was – I ended up one short!
My biggest was approx 41cm, and the others got a few around 42cm.
With the fishing so good at Scotts, we went back the next day (our last day of the trip), with the others getting their bag in short time (Scupper got his bag before I managed to catch 1 fish– how embarrassment) ! Nevertheless, despite me letting the team down we still ended up with a decent bag of fillets….
Even though I didn’t contribute much in the whiting on the last day, I did bag 3 nice flathead (by SA standards), all carbon copies of this one….
The Fowlers Bay jetty also produced some of the mega tommies it is renown for, and we also witnessed a 50cm KGW taken in the shallows.
So there you have it – we ended up with a heap of whiting, some nice salmon and one mulloway. There are lots of kayak options over that way if you’re willing to invest the time to get there. We’re starting to plan next years trip already….