I’m back in Australia for the Christmas holidays. Ahead of the barbecue-based festivities of the 25th, I’m booked into a beach house on the Yorke Peninsula, near the attractively named Foul Bay. My dwelling for the next four nights has its own private beach, but the fishing looks tricky here: big waves and rocks. At the tip of this remote peninsula the wind often blows strongly, as is the case today, so I’m looking for an easier location. I hop in my rented vehicle and make for the nearest town, which lies ten miles away down a dirt road.

I avoid the ‘roos, sleepy lizards and a surprising number of non-native hares, and arrive at Marion Bay. This small seaside town has just one shop, the General Store. During a reconnaissance trip yesterday, I found the shop stocked an excellent range of tackle and bait. Anglers are just so much better provided for in Australia. I buy a bag of frozen ‘cockles’ and head out onto the town’s jetty.

The wind had picked up. Yesterday, I’d been able to see large stingrays flapping across beds of weed. The waves now hide all sub-surface activity. Squid and crab fisherman are exiting the jetty, leaving me alone to face the windy conditions. This isn’t what I expected from Australia in December.

I walk to the far end of the jetty and set up my borrowed rod. I bait up a size-1 hook with the cockles. This is a very soft bait, and even when semi-frozen, I find it difficult to keep the bait on the hook under a float.

Moonta Bay Jetty
Marion Bay Jetty
“Cockles” a popular local bait, albeit one that is soft which I struggle to keep on the hook

The choppy conditions mean I quickly abandon the float and switch to bottom fishing, straight down the side of the jetty. I don’t have to wait long for a rattling bite. I reel in a fish I recognise, a small brownspotted wrasse. I’d caught a few of these before on a trip to the nearby Kangaroo Island.

I catch one more wrasse and decide I’ve had enough of the wind.

Total Catch:

  • 2 Brownspotted Wrasse