Rewards from the deep
  |  First Published: February 2011

One form of fishing is becoming more popular, and that is deep water angling for a variety of species that call the abyss home.

With more fishos with electric reels venturing out into depths of 500m or more, these fish have never been more easily accessible, with a mixture of species on offer.

These fish include hapuku, blue-eye trevalla, gemfish, alfonsin, john dory, ocean perch or red snapper and many others.

The No 1 attraction of these fish is their excellent eating qualities.

If it’s fast, furious action you are looking for then this type of fishing is not for you. It often takes up to 10 minutes for your 1kg to 2kg sinker to take your hooks, loaded with half a slimy mackerel or a generous portion of squid, down to the strike zone.

It takes even longer to retrieve the rig but the rewards are worth it.

While out on the deep blue you don’t just have to target way down deep because February is prime marlin time. So by drifting a live bait out under a balloon you may even find yourself tight to a striped, black or blue marlin.

Out wide you can concentrate on that deep fishing and then go hunting marlin along the continental shelf with a selection of lures or troll some live baits around the Twelve Mile Reef, where the marlin should be concentrated at this time of year.

A few school yellowfin tuna are also around, along with plenty of striped tuna, frigate mackerel and the odd mahi mahi.


The bait schools are the key: Where you find bait like striped tuna, slimy mackerel or frigates you will find the predators. One that is ever-present at this time of year is the prolific hammerhead shark.

Montague Island is faring well with plenty of kingfish action. Jigging, live-baiting, drifting with squid or trolling are working, with trolling producing its share of bonito.

The bottom fishing is also in full swing with plenty of the popular flathead species on the chew.

Sand flatties are hanging around places like Tilba, Cuttagee, Murrah and Goalen Head with the odd gummy shark adding to the bags. Out wider there are plenty of tiger flathead on the Four and Six Mile reef fringes after you drift off the hard bottom where the snapper and morwong lurk.


Recent minor flooding has the estuaries in top shape and fishing brilliantly. No matter where you go or what system you fish, you will find good fun whether you’re a bait fisho or a lure addict.

Wallaga Lake is still well and truly open to the ocean and is providing some of the best fishing in years.

In the main lake lure fishing for duskies is excellent with plenty on the chew, along with a tailor, bream, the odd pinky snapper and jewfish.

Below the bridge towards the entrance in the channels, a live nipper around the weed beds will account for luderick, whiting and trevally.

A well-laid berley trail will bring in plenty of yellowfin bream, mullet, flathead and of some of the largest garfish I have seen.

The Bermagui River also hosts many of these species, with the flats fishing as the tide rises a highlight. Just cast a few nippers or worms over the sparse weed areas and hang on.

On the beaches, some great gutters host whiting, mullet, bream, salmon, jewfish and tailor.

This is also a fantastic time to visit Brogo Dam, which is at 100% capacity and fishing brilliantly. Thankfully lots of fish stayed in the dam after the floods.


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