Sharpen your skills for spring
  |  First Published: August 2014

I have to be honest – fishing in August along the south coast isn’t very good. So what to do? Well, it’s the perfect opportunity for anglers to sharpen their skills. Not all fish have their heads buried under rocks or in the snags. They have to feed some time, after all, and this is when anglers have their chance to find a fish or two. If you can get it right now, your skill level will improve so when the warmer weather comes you’ll really cash in.

Areas I am talking about are places like the Bega River and surrounding estuaries. Those anglers wishing to sharpen up their lure skills are confronted with clear, clean water, allowing for sight fishing. Bream will hug structure where they are in holding zones, generally venturing out to feed in the shallows where the food sources are. You may tempt them when they are in the structure with a well-placed lure, and hardbodies are often the best. Out over the shallows where the bream are feeding on the likes of worms, crustaceans or small baitfish is where the plastics are likely to produce, but don’t expect cricket scores. Big catches will come later in the season as a result of what you have learnt now.

Keeping this in mind, use your time now to gather knowledge for future outings. If you like to chase flathead you can now sight these fish easier in the clear water, and you can use this to your advantage to get to know the area better. You may be still able to tempt some fish at this time of year, however the best results will come later on when the water heats up, when your knowledge will give you an edge.

If you like to pursue bass, I recommend travelling upstream on the Bega River to the sweetwater where you can suss out future fishing trips by locating structure or other holding zones for when the bass start to fire. You often may find bream here too, where they may be even more responsive to lures than further down.

Towards the entrance of the river there are some interesting rocky areas on the northern side. This area attracts luderick, where they can be easily sighted by anglers. Fishing with green or cabbage weed under floats is what is required to get some action here, usually towards the bottom of the tide or when it first starts to run in. Another cool water species often lurking in this region is tailor. Although not large they will often make up the difference in numbers.

Slightly south of Tathra is Wallagoot Lake which is known for its landlocked winter snapper. These fish are of reasonable size, around 30-40cm, and are a lot of fun on light spinning gear. Soft plastics worked along the bottom to schools of these fish located with a sounder in the deeper holes is the go. Don’t expect amazing catches – you’re there to sharpen your angling skills first and foremost.

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