Reef’n them up
  |  First Published: September 2014

Spring is a great time for offshore bottom fishing, with flathead from the gravel and a mix of species from the reefs all on offer.

Leaving Kianinny boat ramp, the first dilemma you’re faced with is whether to go north or south! Both directions have good reef fishing, so it pretty much comes down to what direction the wind is going to come from so boaties can get a smooth ride home.

Another alternative is to try some of the grounds straight out in front. Travelling some distance north to the last point you can see will put you off Goalen Head and some of the best reef fishing along the coast. Slightly south of Goalen Head at Aragunnu is a scattered bottom of gravel and mud which will continue down the coast out from Wapengo. Closer to home out from Nelsons Headland is some great reef structure that produces regularly.

South of the ramp out from Bournda in around 50m of water there’s a sandy, gravely bottom which is a good area to drift. North of there back towards the ramp, White Rock area has some lovely reef structure which produces excellent bags regularly. Often overlooked is straight out from the ramp where there is a mixture of reef, gravel, sand and mud which holds a variety of fish species.

On the reefs at present you can expect to encounter schools of morwong, both blue and jackass, with reasonable amounts of snapper, ocean perch, nannygai, wrasse and plenty more varieties. Moving over the sand and gravel, flathead will be on the short list, both sandies and tigers. Gummy sharks are most sought-after here, and they’ll be found among the flatties, with some of the best red gurnard along the coast mixed in.

Around the wharf, trevally are dominating catches. This action should continue right through to the school holidays, keeping the kids entertained. Ever-present schools of yellowtail provide plenty of fun, with salmon passing on a regular basis to add a larger variety to target. Tailor are present of a night with barracouta also lurking around the pylons. Squid will be encountered here too, with night time producing best.

Moving around onto the rocks between the wharf through to Kianinny Bay, anglers are getting good bags of drummer on cabbage weed and red crabs. Free floating baits and fishing with a small ball sinker are producing best, and weed suspended under a float is taking its share.

Schools of salmon are moving along the coast, providing anglers with some good beach fishing. Some of the best beaches are south at Bournda, the main beach adjacent to the river and Gillards Beach north of Nelsons. Simple paternoster rigs fished on beach rods with pillies or cut baits will account for any number of salmon but if you want excitement and exercise try walking the beach with a light spin rod, a handful of lures casting in the deeper gutters. It’s lots of fun.

Now is a time to look up! Upstream that is, in the estuaries as the water and land start to warm. Further up these systems like the Bega River you are likely to encounter schools of bream lurking in the shallows warming in the midday sun. Lures or bait will work, and don’t be surprised if you encounter other species like flathead, tailor, whiting or estuary perch.

Travel further up to the sweetwater and you’re in with an excellent chance of finding bass that are still concentrated in the area after spawning. Choose your days carefully, looking for the warmer ones, and if you find some insect activity on dusk it could be happy days.

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