171km from Adelaide
Boat launching – Dual lane, all tide, boarding pontoon
Few anglers visiting Yorke Peninsula for any length of time drive past Port Hughes without stopping off to check out the fishing potential. Located just north of Balgowan around the other side of Cape Elizabeth, Port Hughes is one of the most popular all round fishing venues on Yorke Peninsula.
It has a long jetty, small boat harbour with dual lane ramp and a wide range of accommodation options. Once again, it is snapper and King George whiting that most visiting boaties want to catch offshore, but there are plenty of snook, gar and squid as alternative species.
Few other locations in this region can boast such a variety of charter fishing options. Most of the local operators run big, seaworthy boats, as catching snapper in the summer time often involves lengthy trips to far-flung grounds. It’s not unusual for an experienced charter skipper to cover 100 kilometres in a single day, depending on where the fish are located.
Cape Elizabeth to the south-west produces some of the biggest whiting, along with salmon up to around two kilograms in late winter. The salmon can be caught in close to the reefs south of the Cape, with trolled lures the best option. There are some really big snook in this area as well, so a trolling session can be quite rewarding.
The Port Hughes steamer channel, some 20 kilometres offshore, is where many of the area’s truly big snapper are caught between October and April. This is big boat territory only, as it can become quite rough out wide under the influence of summer afternoon sea breezes. The channel is an area of heavy tide run, so snapper trips need to be planned to coincide with the turn of either high or low water.
Tiparra Reef, west of the Port Hughes jetty, is a reliable area for squid, snook and big garfish. The best way of catching snook in this area is to anchor and set up a steady berley trail of cut fish pieces or crushed pilchards. The snook can then be hooked on either lures or unweighted baits.
Blue swimmer crabs, garfish, tommies and squid are the regular fare from the long jetty, which attracts thousands of anglers over the course of a year. Early morning and evening are prime times for jetty triers.