Grin and bear it
  |  First Published: August 2001

Unless you have a big offshore-capable craft or can take a ride on a charter boat to hunt those great southern bluefin tuna out wide, we just have to grin and bear the next month or so around here.

Despite the extremely cold Winter, on those good days give it a go and you may be surprised at the results.

Generally at this time of year we see offshore winds and bottom fishing becomes an option around the inshore grounds.

Down south around Goalen Head and Arragunnui is one area which is particularly good for this form of fishing because cliffs allow some protection from the offshore winds.

The best technique is to sound out lumps of reef in as little as 20m of water, and then anchor up and berley for a variety of species.

Cut or whole pilchards, strips of tuna or other fish baits either floated or sunk back in the burley trail often attract some of the larger snapper that inhabit these reefs.

This is good light tackle sport fishing with some of the reds occasionally reaching a solid size.

A lot of other cold-water fish respond to the berley and can provide plenty of entertainment on light tackle. Species like silver trevally, sweep, wrasse and quite often the odd school of salmon will also come into the trail.

It is not going to be thick-and-fast fishing but it’s better than staying at home and quite often you will come home with a reasonable feed of fish.

If conditions are good you can look at the outer reefs, where along with snapper will come jackass and blue morwong plus nannygai, ocean perch, leatherjackets or pigfish.

When the weather is extremely good some of the locals are making use of their electric reels and fishing the deep water from the Twelve Mile east to the canyons for Tassie trumpeter, hapuku, blue-eye trevalla, ghost cod, gemfish, ling and other gourmet species from the deep.

What also is around at present is a lot of arrow squid where a few of these are being tempted from the deep with the addition of a squid jig on the line dropped for the other species.

Back close to the shore the grounds out from the beaches are producing reasonable numbers of sand flathead within reasonable proximity of Bermagui, although you can expect several undersized (sub 33cm) fish for each legal one. Usually after a few hours you can obtain enough for a meal.


Off the rocks, the cool weather has not affected the groper and drummer. A piece of red crab will often have the desired effect on the groper while cabbage weed and cunjevoi can result in a nice bag of drummer.

There is the odd silver trevally to be found as well, while passing salmon will keep the lure enthusiasts entertained.

The salmon are also along the beaches, where they provide good entertainment for those soaking a bait or using polarised glasses to spot the schools before targeting with lures.

These fish are also filtering into a lot of the estuaries still open to the ocean. Wallaga Lake is one place where, east of the bridge, a lot of anglers targeting other species are surprised by salmon. A few tailor provide some variety.

Generally, however, the estuaries are pretty quiet although anglers working some deeper water with lures in Wallaga Lake are finding warm pockets of water where the flathead are holding, although a lot of effort is needed to extract them.

Around the bridge pylons there are some very nice schools of blackfish responding to green weed. In the same vicinity garfish provide another option.

It seems every August schools of luderick, trevally, bream and whiting congregate around the Bermagui bridge towards the latter part of a falling tide.

These fish generally bite as the tide starts to push in, when a nipper bait will often produce a strike. How long this bite lasts varies daily and the only way you will find out is to have a go.

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