If you’re a hunter, winter is the time to venture into the scrub and chase pigs. For the angler it’s also the time to hit the rocks and to chase pigs.
Drummer (better known as pigs to the hardened rock fisho) are in their prime in the winter months, and Tathra has some of the best fishing for them along the southern NSW coastline. There are plenty of areas in which to attack these fish, ranging from the Tathra Wharf at the main point through to Kianinny Bay, with the best area being conveniently below the pub. Through the cooler months these fish may be encountered all through the day with the prime times being early in the morning and when the shadows from the cliff faces advance over the ocean later in the day.
Lures won’t cut it; fishing for drummer is pretty much for the bait fisherman only. A variety of different types of bait will work. Some of the best fun you can have is in the bait gathering, scrambling around on the rocks looking for red crabs or pulling cunjevoi off the ledges. Other baits that will work are the common old prawn or cabbage weed.
Rigging these baits is very simple, with the easiest being a small ball sinker run straight to a no. 1 hook. Small bobby floats can be used to suspend the bait, which works well with cabbage weed. And don’t forget to berley with bread, which will bring the fish closer to the surface.
The reefs are fishing well with some very nice snapper showing up north near Arragunnui out from Nelsons Lagoon and down around White Rock. Drift or anchor using bait in varying depths with the addition of berley if you’re on the pick. Soft plastics are very popular these days for chasing snapper offshore and there are lots of shallow reefs surrounding Tathra to try. Cast the lure in the direction you’re drifting and work it back to the boat, or anchor and work an area over thoroughly.
Out from most of the beaches sand flathead are being caught in around 30m of water. Although not very large there are plenty of them to satisfy anglers and they are great table fare.
On the game scene things are very quiet. If you berley there is a chance of a mako or stray yellowfin tuna but don’t expect too much in the cooler water. Southern bluefin tuna may be an option on the troll out very wide but finding the good days to do it may be hard.
Beach fishing is good if you like chasing salmon. Most of the beaches that have good gutters on them are carrying their share of fish and all that is needed to catch them is some pilchards, ganged hooks or a handful of lures.
The Wharf has plenty of trevally hanging around keeping the kids occupied and there are some very nice sea garfish there to add to the bag. Of a night some very nice tailor are being caught. Also have a squid jig handy as there are some hanging around which can be an added bonus.
Cold water in the estuaries have fish off the chew and the Bega River is fishing tough.
Starting in the upper reaches, bass are moving throughout the system in anticipation of spawning. With a lot of hard work some fish may be taken but it will be tough going. Estuary perch are also on the move and may be encountered as far down the river as the bridge. Work the pylons over then move over to the adjacent rock wall, working your way upstream. A variety of different lures will work, with those that can hold in the strike zone the longest producing more strikes.
The rock walls and bridge are holding their share of luderick (blackfish) which are being targeted in the traditional method using both green and cabbage weed. Check out the rocks at the entrance of the river for them as well.
There are some large bream in the river but they’re hard to catch at present. Try using a hardbodied, negative buoyancy lure which will hold in the strike zone. Polaroid your bream then work your lure in their face. This may result in a strike or a follow. If a fish follows, slowly increase your speed then stop it abruptly, allowing the fish to run into it. This may not result in a hook-up but it sometimes cheeses a fish off, resulting in a second strike and a hook-up.