Only an hour south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, Victor Harbor has cemented itself as a go-to fishing destination for many anglers in SA after a quick escape and productive options.
One of the real plus points of the area is the family-friendly and low-fuss land-based fishing on the doorstep of Victor Harbor, that doesn’t require you to own a boat, or a huge financial outlay to enjoy. You can easily sneak a line in between shopping and sightseeing while in the area, or make a day of it, and still reasonably expect to catch your tea and have a fun time – it’s extremely convenient!
From jetties, sheltered shorelines and rivers, through to high energy beaches, you’re well catered for at Victor Harbor if you don’t have a boat. Let’s take a whirlwind look at where to start.
A fishy focal point for visitors to Victor Harbor are the jetty structures of the area, which provide safe and easy access platforms for anglers of all experience levels.
The Screwpile Jetty on Granite Island is probably the most productive Victor Harbor jetty, and has produced some remarkable captures of mulloway, big sharks, kingfish and snapper in the past. It’s probably most noted however for its consistent catches of squid when the water is clear, to go with trevally, mackerel, tommies and salmon of mixed sizes. At night various shark species are also likely for mad-keen anglers, and it is a spot that can truly provide the odd surprise capture. The nearby rock ledges can also give up similar species, albeit they’re trickier to fish.
The lengthy and newly updated causeway that you walk across to Granite Island to reach the Screwpile Jetty is also fishable for squid, snook, tommies, garfish and other species. A good tip is to try using floats for squid and others here as the weedy bottom can be unforgiving if you fish too deep. The causeway is long enough to ensure you travel light when fishing on Granite Island, and it’s not uncommon to see local anglers using trollies to transport their gear to the island – take only the essentials if you can.
The other option is the Bluff Jetty, which is reached by driving up the short unsealed road just past the local boat ramp, and Whalers Seaside Dining restaurant. The Bluff Jetty fishes much the same as Screwpile, although is considerably smaller in size. It’s a case of first in best dressed for the best position on this small but productive structure, that’s ideally tucked inside the point to offer great wind protection. Big squid and tommies are a specialty here, but again a spread of species are possible.
Sheltered, family-friendly beach fishing can be found in more sedate waters of the Victor Harbor foreshore. The foreshore beach extends from the boat ramp, right through to Chiton Rocks, offering both sheltered water through to the medium intensity conditions closer to Chiton.
The Victor Harbor foreshore provides shallow water fishing for garfish, salmon, mullet, the odd whiting and flathead, plus a mixture of other species. Try using a little berley to bring the fish to your area and you should rustle up a feed here.
As you head out of town towards Chiton Rocks, the extra wave action and water depth will encourage bigger fish closer to the beach. Gummy and elephant sharks, rays, mulloway, salmon and many other fish are caught along here. It can be worth fishing at night if chasing bigger targets in the area, but daytime is productive for many of the smaller species.
Kings Beach regularly appears in fishing reports from the area, and is located to the right of The Bluff and Petrel Cove just outside of Victor Harbor, and is accessed via a short dirt road that ends at an obvious car park, with a lookout that you can use to spot whales over the cooler months or simply absorb the stunningly rugged coastal vista before you. From here the walk to Kings Beach is around 10-minutes or so along the Heysen trail.
While the beach can be productive, it’s usually the lagoon that’s the centre of angler attention given it provides calm water and consistent fish. The lagoon is actually a fish trap constructed by the Ramindjeri Aboriginals, and is a classic example of an intertidal fish trap. By building up the outer edge with rocks, on a low to medium tide fish are largely bound inside the confines of the lagoon. It works too, with schools of mullet sometimes stuck inside making for easy pickings, with garfish, salmon trout, tommies and various rock species typical catches as well.
Surf fishing is a crowd puller to the Victor Harbor area, with the most high profile beaches being Waitpinga and the nearby Parsons. Conveniently they’re only 15-minutes away or so from Victor Harbor, and both have reputations for great salmon fishing.
Boardwalk access is possible to Waitpinga at several points, including both ends of the beach. Parsons and Waitpinga have a mutual carpark, where you can look over the respective beaches, and sometimes even spot salmon schools. Thankfully there’s access points here if you do happen to spy some!
Both beaches, but especially Waitpinga, are known for their dependable gutter formations, and in season (roughly April to September) you’ll catch salmon of all sizes more trips than not, with yellow-eye mullet also a regular (and tasty) catch. Sharks after dark, and the odd mulloway are possible also. Even if you’re not fishing these beaches are spectacular locations to visit and admire.
A great contingency for the beaches and offshore fishing in the area when it’s windy is chasing black bream in Victor Harbor’s rivers and lakes.
The Hindmarsh and Inman rivers, both of which are quite narrow, are easily found in town and have populations of bream of all sizes and yellow-eye mullet. The fish here can become quite wily given the tight water, and minimalistic rigging and stealthy bait and lure tactics are best.
Encounter Lakes is a manmade lake system basically in the middle of Victor Harbor located at Encounter Bay as you head towards The Bluff, just past the local hospital. The lakes are lined with residential properties, reserves and the odd public park and beach. For anglers there are multiple access points to the water around the lake, with the two public parks having beaches that are used regularly by those launching kayaks.
Black bream are a popular catch in the lakes, and are caught around any artificial structure in the system and from the sandy flats, and it’s a sneaky little option to consider. All fish in the lake must be returned however, and not kept.
All in all, Victor Harbor is perfectly positioned to offer you a diverse shore fishing experience within easy striking distance of the city. When visiting call into Tonkins Sports and the BCF store for all your bait and tackle, with other select service station outlets also providing supplies – happy shore fishing!
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