December heralds the start of the long holiday season and plenty of families visit Bermagui, mostly for the fishing.
Some of the young anglers have the opportunity to go to sea for game or reef fishing but, for most, their options are shore-based. Luckily, there are plenty on offer.
Starting inland, Brogo Dam is providing plenty of action around the weed beds as the bass patrol for food. Fly fishing of an evening is good with surface flies, while lures will work at most times, although the middle of the day is pretty hot and unproductive.
Estuary fishing is now at its best and with plenty of options surrounding Bermagui, the only problem anglers have is as to which estuary they’re going to fish.
For the kids left to their own devices, the Bermagui River has plenty of options. The harbour, whether off the jetties or in front of the cleaning tables at the boat ramp, is producing some very nice trevally, bream, blackfish and flathead through the day. At night around the lights of the harbour, schools of tailor are patrolling.
Most of those species just mentioned, plus quite a few others, are throughout just about all of our estuaries and can be taken with bait or lures.
Most of these fish are feeding on the abundant prawns so when you have had enough of catching the fish that feed on them, go prawning at night so you too can also enjoy those tasty morsels.
The rocks adjacent to the entrance of the harbour and main headland around to the Blue Pools are also seeing plenty of action with passing schools of pelagics willing to chase a lure or eat a bait. These schools are mainly salmon, with the odd kingfish or tailor, following schools of slimy mackerel and yellowtail.
Some berley added to the wash surrounding the stones will attract the yakkas and slimies and provide plenty of action on light tackle plus bait for future outings.
These baitfish have fired up the off shore fishing and when these yakkas or slimies go deep, bottom dwelling predators like tiger flathead are in their element.
Anglers who have caught tigers will know when cleaning them just how voracious they can be. These fish are quite capable of swallowing something half their size, so if you find bait schools in around 30m-plus depth, be sure the tigers and other predators won’t be far away.
There are other good reef fish around: Snapper, morwong and kingies are increasing in numbers around Montague Island. If conditions are good, try some deep reefs like the Twelve Mile, where you can drift a live bait for some bigger predators like marlin or tuna.
Recent months have seen plenty of tuna action with yellowfin, plenty of albacore and of course those tiny speedsters, striped tuna.
The tuna have mostly been taken on a wide variety of skirted and swimming lures, mostly wide from the Twelve Mile to beyond the 1000-fathom drop-off.
Following these tuna schools are sharks and marlin.
Sharks are best targeted with a berley trail which might attract whalers, hammerheads or makos. Makos will often take lures used for tuna or marlin so don’t be surprised if this occurs.
Marlin have already been taken and are increasing in numbers daily so get fit, get ready and Merry Christmas!Reads: 2050