The bluefin challenge
  |  First Published: July 2011

The one thing that I have always enjoyed about game fishing is the challenge in finding fish, especially at present with those big southern bluefin tuna likely to be somewhere out over the continental shelf.

One key is reading the signs, like the quality of the water, where the bird life is concentrated, even the fish themselves that come to the surface to feed on schools of sauries or other baitfish.

Learning this part of the game all contributes to the hunt for fish, which is something I like almost as much as catching the fish themselves.

The best areas for the bluefin are out over the continental shelf, over the 1000-fathom line and beyond to the seamount.

Mixed with the blue fin are a few reasonable albacore, the odd yellowfin and striped tuna.

You can be assured that wherever there are tuna there are likely to be mako sharks and there have been some exceptionally large ones around.

For bottom fishos there is plenty to be had on most reefs with rubberlip and jackass morwong and snapper dominating catches, with a few pigfish, ocean perch and leatherjackets.

Out from most beaches there are plenty of sand flathead.

Calm conditions also allow anglers with the gear to pursue deep-water fish out on the Twelve Mile Reef and over the continental shelf.

The Twelve Mile produces Tassie trumpeter, plenty of perch and some exceptionally large tiger flathead, while out in the real deep water hapuku, blue-eye trevalla, gemfish and alfonsino make up the bulk of the catch.


Off the rocks it’s drummer season with plenty of lovely black drummer, the odd silver, quite a lot of luderick and silver trevally and bream taking a liking to cunjevoi floating around in the suds.

Those wishing to work a lure or float a pilchard should encounter reasonable numbers of salmon and the odd decent tailor.

The salmon provide good angling from the rocks and for those fishing the beaches or trolling along the shore.

There are also a few bream off the beaches and, in the deeper gutters, gummy sharks and jewfish are an option around full moon.

The estuaries are pretty quiet with an already exceptionally cold Winter. The mainstays around Bermagui at present are luderick around the rock walls, the harbour and the bridges at Bermagui and Wallaga Lake.

Some of those salmon have moved into the estuaries, providing thrills especially in Wallaga Lake, where tailor also are feeding on whitebait.

Don’t expect anything sensational in the estuaries until spring starts to warm them.

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