NOTE: Special snapper rules apply in South Australia – more info here.
Cape Jaffa is an all-round fishing holiday destination, with an excellent marina, good crayfish grounds and easy landbased fishing.
A big boat is not needed to fish in close in good conditions, as there are relatively sheltered waters between Cape Jaffa and Kingston.
The shallow weed bottom comes in close to shore and king george whiting, garfish, flathead, tommies, snook and squid are usually easily found.
Within the marina salmon, flathead, trevally and bream can be caught.
The jetty produces most local species, including many squid for those who fish calm, clear mornings and evenings in warm weather.
For boaters, the substantial Margaret Brock Reef lies 7km west of Cape Jaffa, extending about 8km north and south.
There is broken ground inside the reef through to the cape, with species such as snapper, kingfish and crayfish.
Some reef areas break, including North Rock and South Breaker, and great care is required.
Cape Jaffa’s king george whiting are caught over a kilogram at times from weed patches in Wrights Bay and a spot called “The Pinnacles”.
Snapper, sharks and crayfish are caught at King Rock and North Reef, with anchoring and berleying each side of a tide change usually productive.
As well as bread and butter species, large mulloway are caught in the harbour and off the jetty at night but they are finicky, with livebait a must, preferably a squid or salmon trout.
Wrights Bay beach has big mulloway in summer. Fish a high tide at night on a full or new moon.
Outside the inner reefs, big snapper, thresher and whaler sharks, bluefin tuna and more are caught, but big boats are needed.
Cape Jaffa’s low-energy beaches are shallow but can fish well on big tides, with sheltered spots providing garfish and flounder at night for dab netters and spearers.
Weed is often present on the beaches, and weed worms make good bait.
Summer brings good conditions in this area for yellowfin whiting.
Autumn is a good time to visit Cape Jaffa and Kingston as there are fewer holidaymakers about than in summer, the seas are calm, and summer species are usually still around.
For surf fishos, there is 160km of high-energy beach leading north from Kingston to the Coorong, with plenty of 4WDers making the trip to find the best gutters for mulloway, salmon, gummy sharks and tailor.
If you plan to visit this long beach be fully prepared as there are no facilities after Kingston.
South of Cape Jaffa there are more good fishing opportunities around Robe.
South Australian fishing seasons and baitsThe following advice applies mainly to the two gulfs.
Black bream - All year, best in winter/spring. Use live tube or blood worms, peeled prawn or tiny lures, best dawn and dusk, often at turn of the tide.
Crabs, blue swimmer - Best in summer/autumn. Rake them or use nets baited with fish frames, fish day or night.
Crabs, sand (two-spot) - May to June. Use drop nets baited with fish frames, tide dependent, their presence is usually noted when they start stealing fishing baits.
Flathead - All year. Use baits of bluebait, whitebait, small pilchards, squid, fish strips or lures, they bite all day.
Flounder - All year. Will take tiny baits of peeled prawn, worms or squid at night tide, but the usual method is spearing in the shallows at night.
Garfish - Best in summer/autumn. Use tiny baits of maggots, prawn, cockles presented on a float or just drifted back from boat, or dab at night with a net and light, they bite all day.
Mullet - Strong run of fish in autumn/winter. Use tiny baits of mince meat, seaweed worms or cockles. They bite in daylight, usually in very close along beaches at high tide.
Mulloway - Best in summer but can be caught all year. Use live baits or fresh fish fillets or freshly caught squid. Fish dusk into the night at turn of tide.
Salmon - Best in autumn/winter but they show up all year. Use baits of peeled prawn, bluebait, whitebait, cockles, pilchards or lures. Best at high tide at dusk and dawn.
Snapper - Best in spring/summer. Use baits of squid, pilchards, fish fillets or jigs. Best at dusk and dawn and they come in close after stormy weather.
Snook - Bite all year. Use lures, pilchards or fish strips. They bite well at night under jetty lights.
Squid - Available all year but best in summer. Use artificial jig lures or baited wire jigs. Best at dawn when the water is clear, but also at dusk and night.
Tommy ruffs - All year. Use maggots, peeled prawn, cockles. Best at night.
Whiting, king george - These bite all year but often better in winter, use baits of cockles, peeled prawn or squid on the edge of seagrass beds, they bite all day, often tide dependent.
Whiting, silver - All year. Use tiny baits of cockles, worms or peeled prawns.
Whiting, yellowfin - All year but best in summer. Use fresh or live worms or peeled prawns. Some fishos do OK on tiny lures.
Fishing tackle recommendations for South AustraliaA 3-6kg spinning outfit is suitable for general estuary and light boat fishing in South Australia. See this eBay listing for a suggested spinning combo here.
The above light outfit can be used on shallow, low-energy beaches to catch SA's yellowfin whiting and yelloweye mullet, but a dedicated light surf rod would be better for this purpose.
An 8-12kg spin outfit suits fishing for large salmon and mulloway on South Australia's high-energy ocean surf beaches. See eBay listing here.
Small metal slice lures work well on South Australia's salmon trout, silver trevally, flathead, barracoutta, tommies and snook. See eBay listing here.
Use larger metal slice lures on high-energy beaches where big salmon are expected.
Soft plastic grubs work well on bream, salmon trout and tommies, and freshwater fish such as yellowbelly, redfin, cod and trout. See eBay listing here.
Jig heads are needed for unrigged soft plastic lures. See eBay listing here.
Squid jigs are an essential item in South Australia as large squid are usually abundant in gulf waters and are readily available on jetties. Baited jigs are popular in South Australia - these can be cast and left out until a squid arrives. Bait these jigs with a tommy ruff or mullet and set this under a float. If you don't want to use baited jigs, standard lure jigs such as these work well ... see eBay listing here.
The secret for successful squid fishing is to fish dusk, darkness and dawn, when the water is clear. Summer is usually best.
Floats are useful for suspending a bait, and work well when fishing for South Australia's sweep, tommy ruffs, salmon trout and trevally. The polystyrene floats in the following listing are slid onto the line and a stopper is placed above the float to set the depth fished. See eBay listing here.
Star sinkers or snapper leads are generally used on a paternoster rig for surf and boat fishing. For most other fishing, ball sinkers are used, as part of a running sinker rig. See eBay listing here.
Hooks in mixed sizes are needed. Suggest 4# to #8 for whiting, mullet and tommy ruffs, 10# to #12 for garfish, 1/0 for bream, 4/0 for salmon and flathead and 11/0 for large mulloway. See eBay listing here.
Flounder spearing is popular in South Australia. A submerged light is generally used to find the fish, see eBay listing here.
Crabbing is popular in the South Australian shallows, using a crab rake. See eBay listing here.
Check out Parsun outboard motors on eBay
Email any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.
Some external videos filmed around Cape Jaffa are featured below.
Cape Jaffa jetty fishing
Cape Jaffa cray diving
Cape Jaffa marina fishing
Cape Jaffa drone footage
Driving Cape Jaffa/Kingston beaches
Never get caught without a replacement rod tip again