Tune up with salmon
  |  First Published: October 2012

Bermagui is renowned for its sport and game fish but one often overlooked Aussie battler provides plenty of entertainment year round. Even when the big fish are not here, there are always plenty of great salmon.

For a few more weeks there is not much happening on the game fish front although anglers can tune their skills on the salmon.

The beauty of these fish is you don’t need a mega-expensive game boat to catch them, a small tinny will do. Or you can find them from the shore, off the rocks and along beaches and lately they are often in the estuaries open to the ocean.

They take lures, flies or bait, can be cast to, trolled up or taken on a set line, in all sorts of weather and sea conditions.

You don’t have to travel far offshore to find them, either. Adjacent to the river entrance, Horseshoe Bay or along the rocks around the bommie out from the Blue Pool or trolling along the rocky coast south to the Three Brothers is about as far as you need to go.

Once you’ve found them on the troll you may cast lures or flies for more excitement.

Most of the beaches and rocks in the area are holding salmon and Wallaga and Wapengo lakes have plenty around their entrances on the high tide.


The other highlight at present is the amount of bottom fish.

There are all sorts of reef fish available, with snapper the main prize. They are common around Montague Island, the reefs just south of Bermagui like the Four Mile and Six Mile and further down to Goalen Head and right out to the Twelve Mile Reef.

With them are a few kingfish, plenty of perch, morwong, nannygai and leatherjackets while out wider, Tassie trumpeters are available.

Tiger flathead are most sought after at this time of year and some of the best areas are just off Bermagui in about 60m.

Tigers usually hang just off the reefs so start on the hard bottom and catch reef fish and then drift off for the tigers.

The locals are still cashing in down deep in the canyons with those delicious blue-eye trevalla, ling, perch, jewfish, hapuku and ghost cod. The Bunga Canyons are producing most.

Have a shark trace handy because they often eat your fish before you can.

Makos are starting to follow some of the early season tuna schools. Albacore, yellowfin and striped tuna are showing and there is always a chance of some bluefin or big eye.

Get out over the continental shelf beyond the 1000-fathom line. With the water temp rising, we should start seeing more of them.


Back in the lakes there is plenty of movement as things warm up.

Wallaga Lake is holding lots of flathead willing to attack a lure. Plastics are working well around the weed beds of the western shore while blades are producing in the deep.

Trolling hardbodies will work when times get tough, while live mullet will always produce for the less active angler.

Fishing the flats at high tide with nippers, worms or prawns is good for flathead, bream, whiting, mullet, trevally and luderick.

Also look for the luderick around the bridge pylons, where they can be targeted with weed.

In the Bermagui River anglers will find blackfish in the harbour, along the rock walls, around the bridge and upstream adjacent to the weed beds, where they will move over the flats at high tide in search of small prawns, worms, nippers or other crustaceans.

Many of the other species join them on their quest for food and warmth. One of the main foods for these fish are prawns and there are plenty to share with us humans.

Now is the time to start searching for prawns. Cuttagee and Wallaga are primed for one of the best seasons for a while, so drag out those nets, waders, lights and enjoy.

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