126km from Adelaide
Boat launching – Beach ramp
Very similar in coastal geography to the opposite side of upper Gulf St. Vincent, Port Clinton is a tiny settlement with a permanent population of 260 and is within a comfortable 90 minute drive of Adelaide. Surrounded by an 1850 hectare conservation park, Port Clinton is rich in birdlife and is the ideal location to explore from a car-topper aluminium dinghy.
There is small boat launching available, but unless you have access to a tractor, it’s a bit tricky when the tide is well down, so it’s best to plan both launches and retrievals around high water. Salmon trout and mullet are the two fish varieties that are easiest to locate and there are usually plenty of blue swimmer crabs about in the warmer months. Garfish can be prolific around the top of Gulf St. Vincent at night and dabbing them with spotlight and long-handled net is a popular activity at Port Clinton.
Offshore there are plenty of snapper ‘drops’, many of which are man-made from derelict car bodies, old boats and building refuse. However, most of these are well-kept secrets and are guarded closely by their creators. Some enormous snapper come from this region, a few topping 14 kilograms, and it is well worth exploring with an echo sounder if you have the time and patience.
King George whiting are taken regularly from Port Clinton, but many are undersize and must be thrown back. Those who persist can generally pick up a feed of bigger whiting, along with snook and plenty of small bronze whaler sharks in the summer months. Wading crabbers do pretty well between Christmas and Easter time, although the average size of the blueys can vary from season to season. Drop netting for crabs from small boats is also widely practised around Port Clinton.
Note: A Marine Park Sanctuary Zone lies just to the north of Port Clinton, so make sure you don’t wet a line in the wrong area!