Diversify as the seasons change
  |  First Published: May 2014

It’s that time of year where land temps start to cool but water temps offshore stay relatively warm, and with this comes the fish. Out from Tathra schools of tuna like yellowfin, albacore and stripies are starting to congregate out towards and over the continental shelf through to the Tathra Canyons. These fish can be targeted in a few different ways, with the best options being trolling lures and cubing in berley trails.

The continental shelf is quite a long run out from shore here, so trolling lures is a good option for targeting the tuna. It allows anglers to cover the ground and find out where the fish may be congregating. With this comes the added bonus of encountering a late season marlin, spearfish or mahi mahi (dolphinfish).

Once you have located some tuna, stop and berley. This can have the fish coming up to the boat, making them easier to catch. Sharks will also respond to the berley so have a rig handy or out under a balloon. It’s also a good policy to have a live mackerel out under a balloon rigged on heavier trace for tuna and also any marlin which may be attracted by the activity.

Closer to shore, small species such as bonito, kingfish, salmon and the occasional striped and yellowfin tuna are patrolling the many rocky headlands surrounding Tathra. Feeding on small mackerel, yellowtail and pilchards, these fish can be taken simply by running a variety of bibless and deep diving lures close to shore. If you encounter some good schools, have some spin sticks handy to cast to the feeding fish, and if they’re up on the surface try casting surface poppers for some spectacular action. This style of fishing works particularly well on some of the large salmon schools.

Leaving from Kianinny boat ramp gives anglers access to some of the finest reef and bottom fishing grounds along the coast and it’s now at its best. Large tiger flathead are a regular catch out wide of Bournda, while good sand flathead are being taken closer to shore in close to the beaches. These areas may range from Wapengo north to Wallagoot south. As mentioned, berleying can also work on the snapper as well as the tuna, and the White Rock area south of Kianinny is a prime spot for this. Anchor up in various depths until you see what depth is producing better, and fish as light as possible and vary how deep you fish your baits. Fresh mackerel, pilchards and striped tuna are the preferred baits, but don’t be scared to throw some soft plastics around. Many other species will also visit your berley trail, with some of them being a bit of a surprise package.

Right in the heart of Tathra the rock platforms are fishing well, with plenty of action for those casting lures to fish like salmon, bonito, tailor and kingfish, while those who wish to chase drummer are having some of the best fishing in quite a while.

Around on the wharf, everyone is having fun. Large schools of mackerel are here at present, as are trevally and garfish. Blackfish and drummer are being caught closer to the rocks with some nice tailor at night. Frigate mackerel, bonito, salmon and kingfish all take their turns harassing the resident baitfish along with the odd shark and yellowfin tuna venturing in to check the scene out.

There are some good beaches here, which at present are producing nice salmon, tailor, bream and gummy sharks at night. The best areas are Main Beach next to Mogareeka Inlet, Bournda Beach south and Gillards Beach north. Try walking these beaches with a handful of metal lures that you can make long casts with and fast retrieves. This works very well on both tailor and salmon.

Water temps in the estuaries are starting to chill, however there is still plenty of activity to keep people enthused. In the Bega River bream are around in good numbers, and anglers are doing well on both lures and bait. Mixed in are estuary perch that are now moving down the systems towards the entrance in order to breed. They have been taken along the rock wall adjacent to the boat ramp and around the bridge pylons.

Flathead are in the lower part of the system in anticipation of migrating to sea with the onset of the cooler months and are feeding regularly. Tailor are hanging around the bridge area and are a good option on lures, while over the flats blackfish and whiting are regular catches for bait anglers using nippers and worms.

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