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marion bay

Marion Bay September 2023 Trip

The wind had been at its worst and blown most of the winter, usually it’s a great time of year to fish off the southern end of Australia.

The boat hadn’t had a decent run for a few months and when a break in the weather made Marion Bay fishable for a few days, and the fact that a couple of Barrels had been caught, we took the chance.

Crew for this adventure was Skip, Sharky, Manz, and Maria who came over from Melbourne. It was Maria’s first Team Justagirl trip, she had been on a Fishing Trip with Skip adventure and was keen to join the crew when she could. Melbourne is only a 50-minute flight so it was an easy commute.

Skip, Ren, and Mr Skip had fished Marion Bay often years ago, so Skip knew the lay of the land, but none of the Justagirl crew had fished it before. It’s a scary launch and retrieve off the beach and many a skipper and crew had come unstuck.

We arrived late on the 7th, a nearly 5 hours drive towing the boat with stops. The narrow country roads are always a bit slower to travel.

We had booked into a cabin at the Marion Bay Caravan Park for the weekend, the weather was still a bit too cool to sleep in the boat.

After dinner at the Marion Bay Tavern, which was amazing, we tucked up for an early night. We wanted to launch at first light, we knew it was going to be a bit lumpy but hoped it wasn’t going to be too bad. Over dinner Skip walked the girls through the launch procedure so that there was no confusion on the boat ramp, the locals love watching the visitors launch and retrieve, it becomes an event. In peak summer they have been known to score your ability (lol).

Day One

Day one launch went with ease, as did the pickup from the Jetty; no crew went swimming on day one.

We got to Althorp’s and set up the trolling gear, Manz had found out where the Tuna had last been seen and caught, we knew it was looking for a needle in a haystack, several other boats had been trolling the area for a week or so with no joy, but hey you need to have a go. There wasn’t any bait, birds, or Tuna activity after 3 hours, so a team decision was made to do some bottom bouncing.

We headed out to a spot at the bottom of Spencer Gulf. Its always a bit doggy anchoring in the waters around here as its nearly all reef, the chance of losing your anchor was probable. We however have a new anchor, and this was its first outing. A Boomer All Terrain anchor – If you get caught on the bottom a pin pops when you drive her forward, the anchor then folds up, an amazing, ingenious product and yes we did get stuck and it worked exactly as instructed.  Thanks Duncan.

We found a lot of activity in around 30 meters of water; we dropped the anchor. We had made a heap of rigs up prior to the trip, Skip likes us to learn to do all our own rigging etc. We baited up and settled in. The Nannies and Ghost fish (Snapper) were on from the first drop, and it wasn’t long before we knew we had to move, we were all hooked up with double snapper, not good. They were everywhere and some were stonkers.

Next drop we were on with Manz managing not 1 but 2 nice Blue Morwong. Skip loves being on anchor as she gets the opportunity to fish and was having a great time.

A dark shadow appeared in the water off the Starboard side, a white pointer about 4meters long.

The fish were still on the bite, but we didn’t want to hook him on a live bait, so decided to move.

The esky had a heap of table fish in it, the wind was coming up, so Skip called it, we headed into a place past the islands that skip had as a gummy shark spot of years ago, it also held the odd King George Whiting.

Sharky was the first to hook up, a Wrasse and then a huge KG, hooked through the tail. These KG were caught on size 7’0 circle hooks with pillies as bait, after all we were after Gummy sharks not KG.

3pm was pull up time, we still had at least a half hour trip the boat ramp and didn’t want to get there smack bang on a low tide. We also had a heap of filleting ahead of us.

Back at the caravan park we set up to fillet our catch. The facilitates there are awesome, a nice big stainless filleting bench with water, scalers, bags and even a measuring device and scales. Even a person to help fillet, Thanks Nikki. The best I have seen ever.

Day Two

Day 2 fishing was just as good; however, it was lumpy and snotty out wide, so we tucked in behind Althorp’s and did some bait fishing first up, a bucket of Tommies was the go.

We could see the swell coming down as the wind backed off so about 10am we did a runner. This time we headed out to a spot around Suzanne shoals. We had marked it the day before when trolling, we didn’t want to go back to the marks from yesterday in case Mr pointer was still in the area. This spot however meant Skip wouldn’t get to fish, we were drifting in 70 meters of water, yes, we could anchor but there were to many factors against us getting on the mark, depth and wind and the pinnacle not being that big.

First drop and subsequent had all 3 lines hit the bottom and bang they were on, this happened time after time, we had a huge school of big nannies under us, and they were loving those tommies. Fish after fish were coming on board. Maria after a few hiccups with to much bait on her hooks became the double header queen.

Manz had wrecked her rig and in the end was too tired to re rig so took on camera duties while Maria and Sharkey caught the last few fish to make up the bag limit. We had a 1.5-hour trip back to the ramp; the girls were all spent.

Dinner again was at the Tavern with a few celebratory drinks, we had had an amazing fishing trip. Thanks to Jarrad and Nikki at the Marion Bay Caravan Park, they are awesome hosts, and we will be staying there again as soon as the weather permits. Nikki is joining the Fishing Trip with Skip to New Zealand adventure in October.

The Marion Bay Tavern has amazing food and a great selection of drinks.

Best coffee is at the Caravan Park, they also have ice, bait and fishing gear including Micks Jiggers squid jigs.

The video for this trip is on our YouTube Channel or watch it below.

Skip’s Tip

When drifting at depth have someone in the skipper’s seat and keep the boat backed up so lines remain straight up and down. All lines need the same size sinker – we use an 8, drop them at the same time.

Use Circle hooks be careful not to jam them up with bait – just a little bait works best, don’t strike just a gentle lift. If your fish keep coming off its because there is to much bait on the hook.