‘Bega on the go’ was a catchy little jingle to advertise Bega cheese but you could certainly apply it to fishing in the Bega River this season.
It has been an exceptional time all the way from the headwaters, carved deeper by last year’s floods, right down along the saltwater reaches and into the ocean.
Those deeper fresh sections have produced some of the best bass fishing in the district in many years and their size has been exceptional, with many over 50cm.
Nearly all are being taken on lures, with spinnerbaits the standouts in the deeper holes.
These fish also filter into the brackish sections, mixing with the bream that are ever-present under the overhanging she oaks, anticipating the fate of the abundant cicadas.
This is a fly fisher’s dream with any cicada imitation producing the goods. A little tip for the bream on fly is to pause for several seconds before striking; the fish you hook is often not the one that first takes the fly!
Moving into the saltwater through to the entrance, whether you use a lure, fly or bait, you can expect to encounter all the popular estuary species, led by prolific bream.
Some anglers have notched up cricket scores of these by casting nippers over the worm beds upstream around Thompsons.
The success of the Bega River this season is simply due to the previous floods, the warm water and the amount of food, especially prawns.
On the beaches around Tathra whiting, bream and mullet are biting on beach worms in the shallow gutters, while in the deeper water there are salmon, tailor and the odd jewfish.
At night around the full moon you are likely to encounter sharks, with quality gummies top of the list.
There is action aplenty at the wharf with abundant baitfish like slimy mackerel and yellowtail that can be recycled into cut baits for trevally or tailor. A live bait sent out into the bay under a float can produce kingfish, salmon, tuna or sharks.
Closer to the rocks, berley is likely to attract garfish, while anglers fishing with weed are having success with luderick and drummer.
The usual rock species like groper, luderick, drummer or wrasse are ever-present.
Berley is likely to attract bream, trevally, garfish, slimy mackerel or yellowtail with the latter two good bait for a passing pelagic.
Kingfish are hot on the list along with some very nice tuna and an occasional hammerhead shark. Small black marlin are also possible.
Out at sea there is plenty for all with the bottom fishing excellent for flathead off beaches in around 20m to 30m, with tiger flatties in 45m-plus. There has been a very good run of gummy sharks.
Blue and jackass morwong, ocean perch, kingies and snapper are feeding over the reefs.
The game fish are starting with marlin mostly taking trolled lures around the continental shelf. Those towing live baits have also found the odd mako or hammerhead shark.
The lures have also attracted school yellowfin and striped tuna. And January has produced more big blue marlin in our part of the world than any other month.