Wedge Island

Calamari squid caught off Wedge Island, Steve Cooper

Wedge Island is one of a number of small islands making up the Gambier Group, about 19 nautical miles west of the southern toe of the Yorke Peninsula. Viewed from the sea it is easy to see how the island got its name with its towering red sandstone cliffs at the southern end tapering sharply down to sea level at the northern end.

The island is a long way offshore, but its sheltered bay at the northern end is popular among commercial boats taking refuge from the relentless seas rolling in across the Great Australian Bight.

The beach on the north side of the island, set in a bay, is one of the few in this part of the world that does not suffer from piles of dried out ribbon weed. It is also amazingly productive. As soon as we moored, Jim Harris decided the bay was a likely area for squid and cast out a squid jig. On six consecutive casts, he pulled in a calamari squid of about 1.5 kg. Soon more rods with squid jigs attached were in the water. The squid were hooked constantly, each one destined for use in the morning.

A snapper rod with a squid head on it was put out for bait while dinner was being taken. We weren’t even halfway through our meal before the rod bowed and line started ripping out as 20 kg of school shark took the bait.

There are several patches of reef to the west of Wedge Island and the currents are strong and sometimes require as much as 320 g of sinker to take the bait to the seabed. The fishing is hard work but productive, with a range of species including snapper bigger than 9 kg and King George whiting to 55 cm.

Thistle Island is north-west of Wedge Island, close to the south- east tip of the Eyre Peninsula. To the east side of the island, a sand and reef bottom creates an excellent area for King George whiting to 60 cm, along with gummy sharks to 15 kg, flathead to 2 kg and snapper.

When I was here the fishing was constant wherever we went. That’s what you get when you fish isolated areas that haven’t suffered the excesses of civilisation.

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