Fish feeding in earnest
  |  First Published: March 2014

Known for its table fish, Tathra has more to offer in the form of small pelagic and light tackle gamefishing than you might expect. There’s a host of small sportfish hugging the coastline, all in reach of small boats or shore-based anglers, with large gamefish only a short distance further out to sea.

It is quite possible to rack up several different species by hugging the coastline or doing some rock hopping. Species on offer include small tuna such as stripies and bonito, along with mac tuna and frigate mackerel. Kingfish, salmon and tailor often making their presence felt as well. Underneath these you may find mid-water fish in the form of snapper or trevally, which are only too willing to pounce on an artificial jigged down deep.

If you are shore based, the Wharf is a good starting point (just get there early to avoid the crowds). Both lures and live baits producing the goods at the Wharf. Between there and Kianinny Bay boat ramp you’ll find many a good rock platform in which to use simular methods, with the predators regularly patrolling the fringes in search of small baitfish. If surface action is quiet there is also bait fishing to be done from the rocks, with the area being famous for its drummer and groper fishing.

Having a boat gives you more scope to go further afield. Once you leave Kianinny there are many rocky headlands to target, with the best way being to troll. Trolling allows you to cover more water to find where fish are concentrated, which is often around bait schools. Once you’ve located the fish you have several options at your disposal in the form of whether to stay on the troll or fish with jigs, lures or bait.

Having a boat also allows you to go further afield if things are quiet in close. Autumn is a great time for billfish, with the warm currents bringing black and striped marlin in very close to shore as they follow the bait schools. Keep an eye out for showing schools of this bait, as this often means there is a predator in the area. You then can match the hatch, fishing with bait or lures. Either approach should produce some action.

Away from the sportfishing, there’s table fare on offer for anyone wishing to target bottom-dwelling species. Snapper have been in good numbers up off Goalen Head and south to White Rock, with some mid-range kingfish mixed in.

Flathead are also on the chew. There are plenty of sandies out from most beaches while the tigers are out in the deeper water, where there are also some nice gummy sharks to be found.

Back on shore, the Wharf has plenty to offer the kids with mackerel schools regularly showing up to keep them entertained. Beaches are also worth a look as there are plenty of salmon, whiting, bream and the odd mulloway to be targeted on most of the popular beaches.

Moving into the estuaries, most of the systems in the area are firing particularly well, as fish look to feed in earnest to fatten up for the cooler months ahead. This is a great time for anglers to cash in with whichever style of fishing they like best.

The Bega River is fishing particularly well for both lure and bait anglers with some excellent bream and dusky flathead being taken throughout the tidal reaches. Up in the brackish to fresh sections, bass and estuary perch are making their presence felt.

To the north, Wapengo Lake is having a great season with most estuarine species being encountered. In the lake drifting with baits or casting some plastics will produce plenty of flathead with the odd flounder thrown in. Over the flats bream are on the prowl, while in the channels on the low tides most species will get into the act. Berleying using striped tuna is a favoured way of finding fish.

Down towards the entrance have a look at high tide as salmon schools often take shelter here, providing good sport.

If you like oysters try purchasing some from the farmers at Wapengo as I can assure you they’re the best in the country.

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