Water warms up at last
  |  First Published: November 2012

After a frustrating few months of some of the coldest water ever recorded along the South Coast, the warm water has returned, firing up all forms of offshore fishing.

Game fish are definitely on the minds of anglers and tuna are on top of the list. There are schools of striped tuna around keeping the action happening. These tough little speedsters can be found from a mile or two from shore all the way out beyond the continental shelf.

Light to medium tackle is all that is required with some small skirted trolling lures. A light to medium spin stick is also handy when the schools come to the surface, where a well-placed metal lure retrieved at speed will often result in a spectacular strike.

Out in the deeper blue are albacore, a regular catch on trolled small to medium skirts along with bibbed or bibless lures like Halcos, Rapalas, Yo-Zuri or River 2 Sea.

Have some cut pilchards ready to throw overboard when strikes occur on the lures, the berley may hold a school under the boat and then cubing or jigging may become an alternative to trolling.

Those swimming-style lures are also attractive to yellowfin in the area and pilchards will work on these fish, too.

Make sure in your pattern of lures that you include a large skirt because there is always a chance of an early season marlin.

Where there are tuna there are sharks and makos love the taste of albacore and have often brought an abrupt end to a fight with a hooked tuna. It pays to have a shark trace handy or to berley trail, especially if you have kept quite a few stripies. If you want makos, use plenty of tuna berley.


Following a few good seasons the kingfish are also starting to fire up. Montague Island is the prime spot but over recent years they have started to show in different areas.

Close to Bermagui, kingies are appearing not far off the main headland, south around the bottom ends of the Four and Six Mile reefs, down further south out from Goalen Head and deeper over the Twelve Mile Reef.

If the kingies are not on the chew, try the abundant bottom fish in those areas.

Flathead are a specialty now with tigers and sandies plentiful, along with some reasonable gummy and whaler sharks and those tasty red gurnard.

On the reefs are some pan-sized snapper with the odd larger one and the regulars like nannygai, ocean perch, morwong, jackets and some reasonable trevally.

Out in the abyss blue-eye trevalla, hapuku, alfonsin, cod and gemfish will be on the shortlist.


The warm weather and warm water have the estuaries fired up. Floods early in the year opened a lot of these estuaries to the ocean to allow good prawn stocks to enter, providing plenty of tucker for fish and humans.

Some of the better prawning lakes are Corunna, Tilba or Wallaga to the north, while Barragoot, Cuttagee and the Bega River are all worth a look south.

Flathead are responding well to lures in Wallaga Lake and the Bermagui River. Getting out at first light is prime time for these fish and a well-worked lure, particularly some of those soft plastic prawn imitations, will often secure the desired result.

Working poppers over the shallow flats at this time of day is effective on whiting, bream, trevally, tailor and flathead patrolling these areas for a lazy prawn that has not settled back into the sand.

And for the best action in the estuaries, try gathering some live or fresh prawns, nippers or squirt worms, fish them over the flats or around weed with light tackle and hang on.

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