Action on the high seas
  |  First Published: March 2012

It has been a very good marlin season already this year and they are still around in numbers.

There is action on the high seas with most crews returning to Bermagui with stories of marlin fought, lost, captured or tagged.

They’re all here – blacks, blues and stripes. Nothing is more spectacular than a mighty blue carving up the water or a stripe greyhounding over the surface and blacks, well, they are just spectacular.

The Twelve Mile Reef has been the prime spot, especially for striped marlin. Blacks may be encountered close to the coast and those big blues are patrolling out around the canyons.

Lure fishing is probably the simplest way to encounter a billfish, with many being hooked up and a lot more raised.

A good spread of lures working the deep water out beyond the shelf will attract any willing blue, often with spectacular results. The bonus is the by-catch of tuna and short-billed spearfish.

As good as lures are, when marlin congregate around bait schools, live baiting becomes the top option. Slow trolling live slimy mackerel or small tuna will tempt any marlin and there’s always a friendly mako willing to sample it, too.

For the most spectacular form of billfishing, try switch-baiting. Run hookless lures, often sweetened with a belly flap from a striped tuna, and once a marlin comes up, allow the fish to grab the lure briefly before removing it from the water and replacing it with a bait.

Offshore reef and light tackle fishing is excellent.

Flathead, snapper, mowies and gummy sharks are plentiful with most areas producing.

Kingies are in good numbers around Montague Island and off the headlands, with bonito, salmon, tailor and other small pelagics taking trolled or cast lures.

Jigging soft plastics is still very popular for kingies to snapper and a host of other species. Light spin or baitcast outfits are all that ‘s required.


There is no doubt in my mind that March is the best month for fishing the rivers and lakes. Fish are feeding vigorously to gain body weight before the cooler months.

Those tossing lures will do well for bream and flathead while the bait fishos are in their element for most species.

Try using rubber prawn lures now – prawns in the estuaries are good-sized and plentiful. Early morning is the prime time as predators look for stragglers from the night prawn activity.

Berleying is a great way to attract fish in the estuaries or from the beach.

Striped tuna, slimy mackerel and pilchards are very good for this and can be used in various ways.

Pillies and tuna can be cut into small pieces and thrown into the water or punched through a berley bucket.

If you don’t have a berley bucket, use a fine mesh keeper net and make some cuts in the fish to allow it to break apart. This works very well on the beach where the waves help to break up the fish and to dissipate the particles.

The insect life and warm water in Brogo Dam have the bass hungry and aggressive. It’s that time when black crickets are emerging and anglers can use them as bait or imitate them with lures and flies.

Fishing is best late afternoon and into the night, with early mornings also accounting for plenty.

The balmy, clear weather, the multitudes of fish and, of course, the variety make this time of year special.


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