For over two decades now I have watched people come to Bermagui in pursuit of golden glory, and this gold has fins.
Yes, it’s yellowfin tuna season and these gold nuggets can have the same effect as the precious metal, bringing grown men to their knees with plenty of tears as well.
Bermagui is abuzz with trailer boats jostling on the bait grounds before venturing wide to tackle the mighty yellowfin.
It is important to gather fresh bait to be used live or as cubes in berley trails. Once this has been achieved, boats head in different directions and employ several methods to catch these fish.
Most anglers will start their day trolling lures, trying to find where the fish are concentrated.
Sometimes, when fish are up on the surface chasing sauries, lures may be the only way to go. When tuna feed on these baitfish it can be very frustrating because their focus is on those small fish and they refuse all other offerings.
Thankfully a berley trail will often have the tuna up and willing to eat a live slimy mackerel or a drifted cube.
There are bonuses in the form of albacore, striped tuna, sharks, mahi mahi and marlin. Makos, blues and whaler sharks regularly visit berley trails so if you don’t already have a bait in the water, have one ready to toss once they arrive.
Albacore definitely turn up in trails so have some light 4-6kg gear handy to play with these little speedsters. They will often respond to surface poppers cast on spin gear, providing plenty of entertainment while you wait for the larger yellowfin.
Marlin often show their bills as well so use heavier 200-250 lb mono on your live baits to prevent any break-offs from them. You are probably more likely to see the marlin busting up on schools of sauries, when trolling lures or live baits produces the strikes.
Around Montague Island, large kingies and bonito like to feast on the sauries as they pass by the island. Slowly trolling of live slimies may interest them, as will trolling skirted or diving lures, and casting poppers will attract aggressive strikes.
Snapper are starting to show in good numbers and are being targeted in many ways, from drifting to berleying or the now much-practised soft plastics.
Morwong, flathead, gummy sharks and perch are all there and Tassie trumpeter can be found on the Twelve Mile Reef.
On the beaches, salmon can be in any decent gutter on the high tide and at night tailor and gummy sharks will join them. Bream are still in good numbers but the whiting are starting to taper off.
Around the rocks, drummer have returned in size and numbers. These can be taken on cunjevoi, weed or crabs, which are also favoured by the many groper patrolling the shore line.
Now is also the time in the estuaries to start chasing luderick, which are in big schools in most systems open to the ocean. Green weed is preferred further up the tidal reaches, while cabbage works well around the rock walls at the entrance to Bermagui Harbour.
You will also find plenty of luderick over the weed beds on the flats at high tide, where you can target them along with bream, trevally, flathead and whiting with nippers or worms.
On the first of the run-in tide, concentrate in the channels in the lower sections by berleying with tuna or slimy mackerel. Bream will be the mainstay while mullet and tuna can attract a lot of attention from flathead.Reads: 596