For a long time now Bermagui has been noted for its big fish. The record books show most of the captures were made in the warmer season but what options have we for the cold months ahead?
It is definitely southern bluefin tuna time. These fish travel from southern waters to their northern Winter feeding grounds and come within range of Bermagui anglers.
Sea surface temperature charts make it easier to predict when these fish will pass, although sadly they can’t predict how long the tuna will stay.
Last season was short but intense, lasting only a couple of weeks, but some excellent captures were made.
All indications are that the fish are on their way and the season should be another good one but the unseasonable warm currents off the east coast have stalled the bluefin arrival. That may end up being good news because when the fish arrive, they may well stay longer.
Following the tuna are sharks – makos, blues and whalers. Most anglers become fixated on the tuna so there may well be a lot more sharks accompanying the tuna than we think.
A berley trail laced with tuna chunks will bring these sharks to you and a very big mako may become a reality.
Many anglers now use electric reels to fish the abyss while waiting for the shark shots, encountering species like blue-eye trevalla, gemfish, hapuku, ling cod, perch and many others from the depths.
There are many Winter reef fish available, with snapper top of the list. They can be found on most reefs, although are more prolific on the ones south of Bermagui.
By-catch will include morwong, nannygai, perch and those ever-present leatherjackets. There are some flathead, mostly sandies, and an occasional gummy shark.
Black drummer top the list off the rocks and you don’t have to go far to find them. The main Bermagui headland and right around to the Blue Pools is perfect.
Mixed with the pigs are trevally, bream, luderick and silver drummer and all take cunjevoi, prawns or cabbage weed.
They may also take a liking to a piece of red crab meant to stimulate the taste buds of a blue groper.
On the beaches, schools of salmon can be sighted in the calm shore break created by offshore breezes. Small metal lures and even poppers can create some spectacular visual angling.
The not-so-good news is that the estuaries have cooled rapidly and in those estuaries that are open to the ocean, most fish that migrate have done so.
Those lakes that have closed recently have landlocked stocks of fish which may offer some options. Areas like Wallaga Lake may be worth fishing for bream, whiting, luderick, flathead or mullet cruising the flats.
Lures may tempt some of these fish although baits like nippers, squirt worms, prawns or even small black crabs found under the seaweed along the shoreline may be a better cool-water option.