Tathra Wharf is where I served most of my fishing apprenticeship, as has many a kid before and since.
I would be dumped there for the day (much to my liking) and picked up just before dark, where the famous ‘just one more cast’ phrase must have originated, all in the pursuit of the wide variety of species that can be caught from this platform.
These school holidays the trend will continue, not only for the kids but for adults and families, with whom it’s also very popular.
Let’s look at the species available here this Summer, starting at the smaller end of the scale.
Yellowtail, scad, yakkas, whatever you like to call them, are probably the one species most commonly caught from the wharf. They provide plenty of action, entertainment and bait for future excursions.
Mixed with the yakkas you will encounter slimy mackerel, which cause havoc when they turn up in large schools attacking just about every bait that hits the water and tangling lines beyond salvation.
Silver trevally will be around, as will the garfish that are becoming more numerous each day.
Closer to the rocks, luderick can be seen turning on their sides as they graze on the vegetation attached to the stones. They can be caught with cabbage weed baits.
With the heavier gear and sinkers, long casts fished on the bottom out from the north-east corner of the wharf often result in a nice bag of sand flathead, welcome for the table.
At night tailor patrol the fringes of the lights shining out over the ocean and fall victim to strips of yellowtail. Larger baits fished on the bottom should account for the occasional gummy shark, skate or ray.
With the warming water, pelagics start to appear to harass the bait schools, giving anglers the chance of luring or live-baiting these larger species which include salmon, kingfish, bonito, sharks other tuna species and even everyone’s dream, a marlin from the shore.
To sea off Tathra, most forms of fishing are consistently good. Those who fish the bottom and have a liking for tasty flathead fillets work out from Bournda in 50m for some sizeable tiger and sand flathead, with the odd shark or red gurnard.
Those hunting reef fish chase snapper and morwong east of Arragunnu, or Goalen Head north, in a variety of depths. The north-east sea breeze allows anglers a chance of some sand flathead out from Wapengo as they head home.
Game fishing is also hotting up, with plenty of schools of tuna, mostly yellowfin and stripies, although the odd albacore is hanging around.
Following them are sharks, mainly makos, with the odd whaler or hammerhead making an early appearance. Marlin have also started to show, mostly stripes at this stage – the wider you go, the better.
On the beaches, whiting are in good numbers and are being taken on light tackle and worm baits. The best spots are on the main beach adjacent to the mouth of the Bega River.
There have been plenty of bream mixed with the whiting, as well as some very large sand mullet.
Most beaches are holding good stocks of salmon and at night you can expect some reasonable shark fishing around the full moon.
Every possible estuary species is fired up in the Bega River, providing great fishing on lure or bait. Throughout the system, from bass in the fresh to flathead at the entrance, this activity is a result of many prawns in the river so its also now the time to slip on the waders and get prawning.Reads: 1943