The crowds have gone
  |  First Published: February 2014

The Christmas holiday period around Tathra is a good party time for all to enjoy, but if you’re after serious fishing in a quieter environment, now is the time to be here. Things go pretty quiet around here in February but the fishing is great. Whether you like going out to sea, bobbing around in an estuary or fishing from the shore, now is a perfect time to capitalize on the warm weather and water temps.

In the Bega River, all throughout, the system is firing. The upper reaches towards and into the fresh are producing good bass as well as estuary perch. Some days it’s so good that just about every lure placed to a snag will get smashed, while on other days when the barometer is down, your only reward may be exercising that casting arm. That’s why it’s important to choose your day carefully when targeting these fish.

In the mid reaches through to the entrance of the river you’ll find that most estuary species are only too willing to feed. Lures will do the job on most species like flathead and bream although for best results fresh live mullet, nippers and prawns will attract the most attention.

Speaking of prawns, the river is holding good stocks for those who want to go chasing them. With the dark being in early February, go and enjoy.

Beaches around the area are also fishing well, with the highlight being whiting on beachworms adjacent to the Bega River. These fish are of a good size and there is plenty of them. Mixed in are some sizeable southern yellowfin bream and big sand mullet. Salmon and tailor are prolific on most of the beaches in the area, and are being taken on strip baits, pilchards and lures either side of the high tide.

Tathra Wharf is well worth a visit now that the crowds have departed. A whole host of species are available, from pelagics in the form of tuna, kingfish and sharks to the lessor bonito, frigates, salmon and tailor. Live baits or lures will both perform for these speedsters.

Mackerel and trevally are playing havoc around the pylons, and there are sand flathead on the bottom plus luderick and garfish closer to the rocks. Lots of these species can be caught from the adjacent rock platforms, especially the gamefish. Live baiting is by far the best approach, drifting them out under a float or a balloon. Time can be spent chasing groper, drummer, leatherjacket and wrasse while waiting for that big bite, or you can cast lures to passing schools of salmon.

Out to sea, warm water has provided the right conditions for both bottom fish and gamefish. Small tuna schools and baitfish have been attracting large predators like marlin, sharks and large tuna in very close to shore. Using live striped tuna has been accounting for some large hammerhead sharks plus the odd marlin, particularly blacks.

For better results, go to lures to cover the water more effectively, and target a greater range of species. Blue marlin are more likely to be captured this way, hitting large skirted pushers with gusto.

Around the reef complexes the bottom fishing is also excellent, with a variety of species gracing anglers’ bags. Flathead are the most highly prized table fare here, with grounds both north and south producing tiger and sand flathead with the odd red gurnard thrown in.

North to Goalen Head, this complex system is providing anglers with plenty of fun with nice snapper, morwong and some excellent kingfish. Be prepared here as gamefish like marlin will come close to shore.

And a visit to Tathra wouldn’t be complete without a day trip to Brogo Dam chasing Australian bass. Evenings are providing good surface action for both fly and lure anglers. Casting to snags or weed beds will also produce, or you could just lay back, soak a worm and enjoy the beauty of this picturesque waterway.

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