Sight ‘em and catch ‘em
  |  First Published: August 2013

We all know that August is probably the worst month for fishing in our part of the world, but like most anglers we still like to try, so what options do we have?

Well, when we have these offshore winds blowing, sea conditions are usually calm along the beaches or rocks where anglers can find a vantage point either on headlands or sand dunes where you can look for fish. If you can sight them, you can catch them!

Most commonly sighted are schools of salmon as they patrol the coastline in search of small baitfish. Along the beachfront, they may hold in gutters, however they are more than likely to be on the move following bait schools. Anglers will need to anticipate which way they are travelling to intercept their path so be prepared to be on the move.

Areas well worth a look would be Tilba, Wallaga or Camel Rock beaches to the north or Cuttaggee, Barragoot or Bunga area also hosts some good rock platforms for salmon and a host of species that call the stones home.

Focusing on the rocks, it is not a bad time to wet a line in these areas. Not only does the Bunga area produce, there are also a lot of areas close to Bermagui also worth trying. The clear water anglers can observe species like drummer, bream, trevally, wrasse, leather jackets or those hard pulling blue groper in the calm conditions. Baits like cunjevoi, crab, peeled prawn or even cabbage weed are often all that is needed to produce a fish or two and by using berley, anglers can often enhance their chances.

On the game scene, things are extremely quiet so don’t expect anything great. If you are one to go wide seeking those succulent deep water table fish, then have some game gear with you as mako sharks will often follow hooked fish coming up from the bottom, so it may pay to have a rig ready. Also, look up here as birds high in the sky will often give away a schools of bluefin tuna that will unexpectedly show up so once again, it pays to be vigilant!

Out at sea, there is plenty of activity for anglers wanting to acquire a feed of juicy bottom fish. Snapper are definitely on the short list and are a winter specialty. You can choose many different ways in which to target these fish from anchoring to berley, soft plastic jigging through to the standard drift fishing. Other species around on the reefs at present include morwong, ocean perch, nannygai, pigfish or out on the deeper reefs ling can be caught, blue eye trevalla and tassie trumpeter.

Those wishing to put some decent flattie fillets on the table may find sufficient numbers of sand flathead out from most beaches. Tilba, Camel Rock, Cuttaggee and the Murrah area are the best places in water depths from 20-35m. There have been a few gummy sharks in these areas along with some red gurnard while out wider on the tiger flathead grounds, things are a little quiet but are poised to improve with the onset of Spring.

With the cool cold winter water in the estuaries, using height to your advantage will see you tied into fish you may normally miss. The main vantage points for anglers around Bermagui are the northern rock wall upstream from the bridge, off the bridge, both sides of the break wall and the main harbour wharves. Most of the winter species encountered in these places will include luderick, bream, trevally or a few whiting where a well-placed nipper may obtain the desired result.

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