Cape Jervis, South Australia

Cape Jervis, at the southern end of Fleurieu Peninsula 88km south of Adelaide, is a gateway to the waters of Backstairs Passage and Kangaroo Island.

The coastline here is mainly rocky, with some beaches flanked by rock, reef and seagrass beds.

Boaters will find exceptional fishing, with good grounds along the coast and in the passage.

There are excellent KG whiting grounds for those who make the 18km voyage across to Kangaroo Island.

Cape Jervis jetty is well worth fishing, with tommy ruffs (tommies) in winter and calamari and arrow squid in summer.

Shore-based fishing the relatively low energy beaches in this region produces yellowfin whiting in summer and yellow-eye mullet in winter, with salmon trout all year and the chance of salmon, tailor and mulloway.

Beach fishing is at Fishery Bay to the south and Morgans Beach to the north, which are easily accessible by road.

For those willing to walk north from Morgans, Tea Tree Creek Beach may produce larger resident fish such as leatherjackets.

Fishery Bay produces mostly smaller fish like mullet, juvenile salmon and tommy ruffs.

Rock fishing throughout this region produces leatherjackets, sweep, salmon trout, tommies, squid and garfish.

Species caught out wide include yellowtail kingfish, nannygai, tuna, snapper, harlequin, blue morwong, silver trevally, snook, gummy and school sharks.

In close, boaters will find KG whiting, squid, leatherjackets, red mullet, flathead and garfish.

Good offshore spots include grounds around Sanders Bank and south of The Pages.

Yilki Bay and West Island grounds produce whiting, sweep, red mullet, flathead and squid.

Squid are reliable when drifting broken or weedy grounds off Cape Jervis, and Wirrina to the north.

About 12km north-east of Cape Jervis, Rapid Bay has a fishing jetty, the famous old limestone-loading jetty was closed to the public in 2004but some structure remains.

About 15km north-east of Cape Jervis lies Second Valley, which has a short jetty that produces mainly squid. There are easily accessible rock platforms that look very fishy, but it is generally a busy place on weekends.

Further north-east is Wirrina, which has a large marina with extensive rock walls.

Mainly garfish, KG whiting and snook are caught off Wirrina and Carrackalinga.

Fishing sanctuaries exist off Rapid Head and north of Carackalinga, so check the boundaries before you fish.

About 26km north of Cape Jervis, Normanville has a 7km beach into which flow the intermittent Yankalilla River, Bungala River and Carrickalinga Creek.

Mulloway are a chance off the beach when the creeks flood and the sea mouths open.

The beach is otherwise good for yellow-eye mullet in autumn/winter, salmon trout, flathead, silver whiting and yellowfin whiting.

Normanville has a small jetty that fishes well at times, and Haycock Point at the northern end is also worth trying.

Boats can be launched at Lady Bay and Normanville.

Some of the beach is narrow and steep, with seagrass growing to within 50m of shore.

Backstairs Passage itself is the home of big snapper (when you are allowed to catch them).

The Passage is not easily fished, being subject to strong currents and standing waves, and big sinkers are required even when fishing the turn of the tide.

The Pages Island group in the passage includes a marine sanctuary and no-go zones.

There is a boat ramp within the marinas at Cape Jervis and Wirrina.

Here is the SA seasonal fishing calendar for various fish species.

Book your fishing stay early at

NOTE: Special snapper rules apply in South Australia – more info here.

Tea Tree Creek Beach on Beachsafe
Morgan Beach on Beachsafe
Fishery Bay on Beachsafe
Lands End Beach on Beachsafe
Cape Jervis tides
SA boat ramps
SA fishing regulations
SA marine parks

Email corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

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