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DK's Online Fishing Toolbox

Disclaimer: I am not a weather expert, but have spent and do spend a lot of time looking at weather forecasts to help me decide when will be safe/comfortable to go fishing. I thought it might be helpful to share this information (including hyperlinks to websites) but I or cannot be held responsible based on any comments or implied advice I have given here.

Many people on this site ask about where to find information on weather, current conditions etc. There are numerous resources online, and I use many of these in combination to get an idea of current conditions and forecasted conditions on the water. I get seasick at times, and I operate a smaller (15ft runabout) craft so weather conditions are very important to me when planning to take my boat out.

I have included a run-down (in my opinion) of what these forecasts mean for boating/fishing. My suggestion is to bookmark each site and visit them on a regular basis prior to your trip, and you will get a better idea of what you are to expect on the water.

The notes/comments apply mainly to metropolitan waters (from Noarlunga to St Kilda), up to a range of around 5Nm offshore. This is where 95% of my fishing is done.

Weather resources:

Forecasts/Current Conditions

BOM: SA Forecasts:
BOM: SA Wind Forecasts for Marine:
BOM: SA latest observations:
Seabreeze Synoptics:
BOM: Tides:

SA Webcam's:

Outer Harbour:
West Beach (Still Photo):
West Beach (Live Cam):

Some notes on particular links:

BOM: SA Forecasts:

These forecasts are made by a combination of meteorological information and human interpretation/experience (BOM staff). There are three sections here of Interest here in relation to weather I use regularly:

South Australian Coastal Waters: This gives a forecast over broad areas, generally larger in area than say the metropolitan forecast. Adelaide metro conditions fall under 'Gulf Waters' but this covers both the Spencer and St Vincent Gulf, so it gives you a general idea of what is happening over two very large bodies of water.
Adelaide Metropolitan Waters: This will give shorter term forecast for waters off metro Adelaide, basicially stretching from the Southern suburbs (Noarlunga) through to the Northern (St Kilda). These are generally more accurate than the coastal forecast for fishing with a 5nm range of the coast.
Table for today and next two days: This is similar to the above but gives normally one more day in advance, it will also give a breakdown of how conditions will change throughout the day at specific locations and intervals (6 hourly, ie: 3am, 9am, 3pm, 9pm). This can be handy if you are just planning a morning/afternoon session and not going all day.

BOM: SA Wind Forecasts for Marine:

This page gives a pictorial representation (maps) of wind speeds based PURELY on meteorological information and are produced by complex computer modelling. From what I can gather they use the synoptic charts to work out whether they are high or low pressure system passing over the state which in turn dictates wind directions/strength and produce a heat map like picture.

From my experience, these maps are very accurate for up to 3 days into the future, but sometimes do not factor in sea breezes (if applicable generally more prevalent in summer months). You will need to zoom in to the South Australia area to look at the areas you will be fishing, for forecast days 1 and 2 you can zoom in quite close, but days 3 to 7 can only be shown at a broader and less specific level (ie. Zoomed out).

There is a wind scale on the left hand side, I have found white and light yellow areas to be conducive to quite pleasant fishing conditions, but the green starts to get a little bumpy and may not suit all boaties.

BOM: SA latest observations:

This link gives information based on weather stations placed around the state and can give you almost live information from that site. This information is relayed graphically on the SeaBreeze site (described below) for the wind speed but this will also give you other information such as temperature, barometric pressure, rainfall etc.


Seabreeze is an independent site which was initially designed for windsurfers. This site uses information from the BoM and displays it in a graph. The conditions for a particular day appear to be a combination of BoM data combined with estimated data by SeaBreeze staff/computer modelling so may not as accurate as the 1.5 hour intervals they show, but are generally quite accurate. This site is quite useful for longer term forecasts, but once again not 100% accurate. From what I can gather they use synoptic charts to generate the forecast beyond the next two days or so, but if a particularly nasty band of weather is coming in say 5 days time, it will be graphed quite well and become more accurate as that day draws closer.

The default colour scheme is based on windsurfers, with red arrows meaning bad windsurfing but good fishing and conversely, green arrows meaning good windsurfing, bad fishing. You can reverse these if you like using the Reverse Graph Colours option below the 7 day forecast and the reverse will apply.

The 7 day forecast overlays bother wind conditions and the resultant wave height. However for metropolitan Adelaide conditions it appears the wave heights do not take into account land masses/islands and are really only relevant to areas facing the open ocean (ie. Perth). Obviously strong winds will create higher seas/swells and as the wind dies so will the swell/seas, but don't take the wave height to be 100% accurate. I use this more for the wind speed/direction than anything else. The 7 day forecast is over a more general area and not specific to a certain area (ie North Haven or Noarlunga) so keep this in mind too.

Another handy function of this site is the graphical representation of live weather data, this information is streamed directly from the BOM site so is very accurate and sometimes easy to understand in a graph than the raw format delivered on the BOM site. A lot of my fishing is from North Haven, and luckily there is a BOM weather station located at the Black Pole located in the Outer Harbour/St Kilda region actually at sea. This will give you a good idea of conditions within around 15 minutes of the time you are looking. I find it very useful to check SeaBreeze after a days fishing to see what the exact weather conditions were when I was out in the boat and this will help me relate a forecast to actual boating/fishing conditions. There are other locations with weather stations, including Edithburgh, Noarlunga, Parafield etc....but do remember that inland conditions do not always reflect at sea conditions and the Outer Harbour data is more useful than say the Sellicks Hill data.

There is also a link for synoptic charts which can give you a more accurate idea of long term conditions if you know how to read them...
And there is even a handy link explaining the basics behind wind and synoptic charts
And remember comparing conditions you have experienced on the water will help you a lot when you compare them with a synoptic chart for the same time period.

Notes on Wind/Seas:

Winds coming from different directions caused different conditions for boaties particularly. Below is what I think of particular winds, and how they affect my boating. Remember when a wind direction is forecast, it is the direction that the WIND IS COMING FROM, not the direction it heading...VERY IMPORTANT! Regardless of your location it is a good idea to get your bearings in terms of which way north is (maybe using a compass/gps?), and this will help you with wind directions.

As described above, wind direction is determined for the most part by low or high pressure systems passing over the state. Put simply, low pressure systems cause winds to generate clockwise from the centre of the low pressure system and a high pressure system causes winds to generate anticlockwise the from centre of the high. It is best to read this link to help you understand more specifically what high pressure systems/low pressure systems, cold fronts etc look like and what they do to the weather.

Once again, these are my opinions and please draw your own conclusions based on experience. Comments are also based on fishing in the Adelaide Metro area.

Northerly (N) 
North winds in SA come from the land, in summer they are normally consistent with very hot days and cause water conditions to be bumpy depending on strength, especially when opposed to a tide. Up to 10 knots is comfortable.

North Easterly (NE) 
These also from the land, but generally a more friendly wind and consistent can be comfortable up to 12 to 14 knots with a NE'ley. But once again, opposing tides can be an annoyance and expect some chop on the water still if above 10 knots. NE winds can also negate a SW afternoon seabreeze in summer, resulting in calm conditions.

North Westerly (NW) 
Similar to above, but stronger low pressure systems can whip up some strong NW'ley and above 15 knots Id stay at home.

Easterly (E) 
Easterly winds are also from the land, and can be the most friendly of all in terms of 'on the water' conditions but if they have much strength, they run perpendicular to the tide, but in my experience you don't see a lot of true easterlies and if you do, they don't last long. Comfortable up to 12-14 knots.

Westerly (W) 
Westerly winds come across land and water, they blow across the Yorke/Eyre peninsula and travel some distance over water too. True westerly winds are also uncommon, but can make for a bumpy and uncomfortable session if over 12 knots.

South Easterly (SE) 
These come predominantly off the land depending on your location, these are quite common winds, and above 12 knots can make for uncomfortable fishing.

Southerly (S)  
These are not very pleasant, normally consistent with nasty weather and rising swells. They blow up the gulf from the Southern ocean and can be very strong. You will encounter these more in summer in the afternoon (afternoon sea breeze) and in stormy winter conditions. Comfortable up to 10 knots and beyond 12 knots it can get choppy.

South Westerly (SW)   
The true work of the devil and normally means that fishing is not going to be pleasant and I wouldn't bother hitching the boat up, SW blow straight up the gulf off the Southern Ocean and cause large swells, bumpy conditions....these are very common in summer due to our metro coastal orientation and normally start to blow from the lunch onward. Big SW'leys are conducive so hot salmon fishing off PNJ jetty in the winter at times, so not a total loss, but as I said, the work of the devil. Beyond 8 knots the sea will chop, above 12 knots and whitecaps start, at that speed and beyond that forget it.

Sea level:
In addition to wind speed/directions, the BoM will also give a figure for sea 0.5m rising to 1.5m. In my experience, sometimes forecasters dont take into account the previous days conditions, a strong SW'ley blowing for several days will create residual swell that will be around for a few days after even though winds are weak in the days following.

For my craft,
<0.5m: is perfect, it normally means flat seas.
0.5m: is comfortable but if it is forecast to be rising to much higher, say 1.5m, then I would plan to be back at the ramp before that (either a change or strong sea breeze will cause this).
1.0m: and I will be sticking close to shore or hang out in Port river or around the breakwaters for example.
1.5m: and beyond I'll be staying home.

As stated, conditions 'normally' deteriorate during the day, especially in summer, so conditions can go from 0.5m to over 1.0m with the aid of a stiff sea breeze or other wind changes. You need to keep an eye on wind changes during the day, and if a sea breeze is forecast (or likely), try to head back before lunch time if it will affect you.


Many thanks goes to dkerr for running with this initiative 
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Important Contacts
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PIRSA Fisheries
  Phone :
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  Internet :
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SA Tide Predictions
  Phone :
1900 969 975
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Bureau of Meteorology
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SA Coastal Waters
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Adelaide Forecast
1900 926 144

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