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Beginners Guide to the Shoalhaven River and Jervis Bay
  |  First Published: December 2014



You could spend a whole life-time fishing the Shoalhaven River and Jervis Bay and still not fish all the great spots it has on offer to both the novice and experienced angler. If you really enjoy fishing, you'll find every type of fishing on offer from freshwater dams, rivers, lakes, the rocks, beaches to open ocean game fishing.

Boat-based fishers in the Shoalhaven are likely to be rewarded with an amazing catch including marlin, tuna, kingfish, snapper, morwong, and flathead. In the region's estuaries, there's every opportunity to catch bream, flathead, whiting, tailor, luderick, tailor, Australian salmon, bonito, trevally, drummer, snapper, kingfish and crabs, while freshwater enthusiasts should head to Tallowa Dam, Danjera Dam and the upper Shoalhaven River to target Australian bass, carp and estuary perch.

The Shoalhaven River rises on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range, below Euranbene Mountain, about 350 kilometres southwest of Sydney. The upper reaches of the river flow northwards through an upland pastoral district near the town of Braidwood and the river works its way down into a remote canyon east of Goulburn. It then emerges into the coastal lowlands at Nowra where it is spanned by the historic Nowra Bridge. The river is joined by thirty-four tributaries which include the Mongarlowe, Corang and the Kangaroo Rivers. It descends 864 metres over its 327-kilometre course, making it a great river to fish.Jervis Bay

is one of the most popular fishing spots on the South Coast. This dedicated Marine Park ensures the conservation of marine habitats and species while allowing recreational fishers plenty to enjoy. The rock platforms on the northern side of the bay are world famous for the land-based game fishing opportunities they offer for species such as marlin, tuna and kingfish. Inside the bay, chase the bream, whiting and flathead from almost any of the beaches. There are several boat ramps around the bay for the boating angler, while there are kilometres of beaches, rocks and estuary shoreline to fish from.

SHOALHAVEN RIVER
Comerong Beach

To get to this point you will need to travel out along the Comerong Island Road, cross over on the ferry and make your way down to the car park at the end of the road. From here you can fish one of the many gutters that you will find here for bream, whiting, tailor, Australian salmon, dart and the odd mulloway.

If you are energetic and don’t mind a long walk you can travel south along the beach to the Training wall and fish in the gutter that forms along the edge of the wall. This beach usually holds plenty of beach worms and pipies.

Seven Mile Beach

Access to the beach can be found in a number of places. You can park on the southern side of the caravan park and walk around and through the sand dunes or you can drive a short distance up on the northern side of the park to where the life saving building is. Over the years I have caught many a bream and whiting here on beach and blood worms. You can also try using pipis, strips of mullet, whole and half pilchards.

Curleys Bay Flats

This bay and the other small bays that are situated on the southern side of the main part of the river can be fairly shallow. This is a great place to try out the canoe or kayak as you can work your way inside one of the many oyster racks that are located here. Bream, flathead, mullet, garfish and the odd luderick are caught here.

The Racks

This can be accessed at high tide by most shallow draft boats, but you will need to take care as the entrance can get very shallow at low tide. Flathead, bream, mullet, garfish, trevally, flounder and luderick can be caught in amongst the racks.

I have found that the first three to four hours of the run-out tide to produce the better catches. Boat baits and lures can be used up in this neck of the woods. If you are going to use bait I would suggest that you make sure that you have a small, but steady berley trail going and you will need to fish as light as the conditions will allow. When bait fishing here I use a ball sinker down onto a swivel with a leader of 1 to 2 metres in length.

The Canal

Travelling upstream from the township at Greenwell Point you will have on the southern side a rock breakwall which falls into the deeper section of the channel. The northern side has a number of weed beds and sand flats. As you travel further upstream the channel start to change in its character and the northern side of the channel has a mud wall drop-off that is held together by grass and trees. The water on this side is much deeper than the southern side, which has a number of shallow sand banks.

The rock continues along the southern edge of the channel and up passed the ferry and to the junction in the river. Here the currents will swirl around as two parts of the river meet. Try fishing here an hour either side of the top or bottom of the tide.

If you don’t have a boat you can access a number of great land-based spots on either side of the river not far from the ferry.

The Blue Silo

There is no shore-based access to this stretch of the river. You can try working either side of the river or just slowly drift down the middle of the river. This is my son’s favourite spot to catch bream, flounder, luderick and flathead while using pink nippers for bait.

Fishing Platform

There has been a new fishing platform erected here which gives the land-based angler great access to the main channel. The current does move very quickly here so I would suggest that you limit your fishing time to an hour and a half on either the top of bottom of the tide.

Blood and squirt worms, pink nippers and mullet strips are the go. You could also try catch a few poddy mullet and using them live for a big dusky flathead or two.

Nowra Bridge

On the upstream side of the bridge there are a number of rock retaining walls that will produce bream, flathead, whiting, mulloway and even the odd estuary perch or two. Further upstream you can also chase bass. During the summer months this area will be very congested with wake boards and water skiers so I would suggest that if you are bait fishing anchor close to the shore. There are a number of land-based positions along this upstream side of the bridge.

As you travel downstream of the bridge you will come across a fairly large reef that you need to take care when working your way through the channel makers as it can be very shallow. Once past here you could try anchoring for bream, flathead, whiting and flounder while using either pink nipper, worms and strip of mullet.

JERVIS BAY
The Cliffs

There are a number of listed spots along this section of the coastline that will produce bream, snapper, tailor, salmon, bonito, kingfish, drummer and luderick. The main thing is that you will have to pick the right conditions to fish here and when it is coming in from the south it’s not one of the best.

Hyams Beach

When I first walked down to Hyams Beach many years ago I thought to myself that this was just one of those long flat beaches with very little in the way of features. Boy, how wrong was I! It may not look much at first, but on closer viewing there are so many little drop offs and gutters it’s not funny. Yes, they may be as shallow as the depth of a good sized whiting, but they are there. You just need a good set of polarized sunglasses to spot them.

Earlier in the year Leanne and I were walking the beach from Hyams to the Naval waters at the south end and I couldn’t wait to get back to get a rod and start chucking a few lures and soft plastics at the bream and whiting that were swimming within five metres of the sand.

Cabbage Tree Point

Try drifting along this stretch of shoreline for squid, flathead, whiting and bream. Trolling minnow lures for salmon, tailor, bonito and the odd kingfish works here during the early and late parts of the day.

Plantation Point

This is a great land-based spot for bream, whiting, flathead, flounder, squid and the odd paned size snapper.

Currambene Creek

There are a number of land-based and boat spots in this small, but very productive creek. The best baits that I have found are beach, blood and squirt worms, pink nippers, peeled prawns and pillie tails. Bream, flathead, whiting, luderick and flounder can be caught here. Every time I come through Huskisson I will always visit the Lady Denman Museum. You will be surprised what you see there.

Callaha Bay

Bream, whiting and flathead from the beach. Plus bream, whiting, squid, flathead and tailor off the rocks at Callala Point. Early morning or late afternoon seems to work the best.

Currarong

Currarong is surrounded by 14 white sand beaches, many of them deserted, even in summer. Most notable are Warrain Beach and sheltered Abrahams Bosom beach. Currarong is also famous for its rock pool, and for the many protected beaches a few minutes drive away on the other side of the headland in Jervis Bay, including Long Beach, Cabbage Tree Beach and the perfectly horse-shoe shaped Honeymoon Bay.

Currarong has world class fishing - rock, beach and ocean. A spot down the cliff from Point Perpendicular is one of the few land based locations in Australia where yellowfin tuna and marlin can be caught. In 2011 a new boat ramp was completed that allows for launching two boats at a time. The area is also renowned for its scuba diving and snorkelling.

ACCOMMODATION

Huskisson Beach Tourist Resorthttp://www.holidayhaven.com.au/Huskisson-Beach-Tourist-Resort.html

Hyams Beach Seaside Cottages (we stayed here)http://www.hyamsbeachseasidecottages.com.au/

Shoalhaven Beach Tourist Parkhttp://www.holidayhaven.com.au/Shoalhaven-Heads-Tourist-Park.html

FISHING GUIDE/CHARTER

Bay and Basin Sports Fishing – Greg Reidhttp://www.bayandbasinsportsfishing.com.au/

ATTRACTIONS

Lady Denman Museumhttp://www.ladydenman.asn.au/

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