Any structure, whether man-made or natural, will attract fish. In this instance the historic Tathra Wharf attracts not only fish, but also us anglers, and it is the place to be these holidays.
Let’s look at the species available here this summer, starting at the smaller end of the scale. Yellowtail, scad, yakkas, whatever you may like to call them, they are probably the one species most caught from this structure, providing plenty of action, entertainment and bait for future excursions. Mixed in with them will be slimy mackerel, which cause havoc when they turn up in large schools, attacking just about every bait that hits the water and tangling lines beyond repair.
Trevally will be around, and garfish are becoming more numerous each day. Closer to the rocks, luderick can be seen turning on their sides as they graze on the vegetation attached to the stones, and they can be caught with cabbage weed for bait. With the use of some heavier gear and sinkers, long casts fished on the bottom out from the north east corner of the wharf often results in a nice bag of sand flathead. It’s not very sporting, but effective for the table.
Of a night, tailor will patrol the fringes of the lights fading out over the ocean, and will fall victim to a well-presented strip of yellowtail. Larger baits fished on the bottom should account for the occasional gummy shark, skate or ray. With the warming water, pelagics will start to appear, harassing the bait schools and giving anglers the chance of luring or live baiting these larger species such as salmon, kingfish, bonito, sharks, various tuna species, and everyone’s dream catch — a marlin from the shore.
Out at sea from Tathra, most forms of fishing are consistently good. For those wanting to fish the bottom and have a liking to put some lovely flathead fillets on the table, out from Bournda in 50m of water will account for sizeable tiger and sand flathead, with the odd shark or red gurnard thrown in. For those wishing to target reef fish, snapper and morwong are abundant east of Arragunnui or Goalen Head to the north, in a variety of depths. With northeast winds prevailing at this time of year, it will allow anglers a chance to score some sand flathead out from Wapengo as they head home.
Game fishing is also hotting up, with plenty of schools of tuna, mostly yellowfin and stripies, although the odd albacore is hanging around. Following them are sharks, mainly makos, with the occasional whaler or hammerhead making an early appearance. Marlin have also started to show their beaks, mostly stripes at this stage, with the wider you go the better.
On the beaches, whiting are about in good numbers, and are being taken on worms fished on light tackle. The best spot is the main beach adjacent to the mouth of the Bega River. There has been plenty of bream mixed with the whiting, as well as some very large sand mullet. Most beaches are holding good stocks of salmon, which are providing plenty of action, while of a night expect some reasonable shark fishing around the moon.
The Bega River is in great shape following early spring rains, with a host of species only too willing to chew. Those throwing a lure will no doubt encounter flathead, bream, tailor, estuary perch, the odd mulloway, and even bass further up the system. For those who choose to bait fish, they will also encounter those species already mentioned, along with others like luderick, whiting and mullet.
To everyone out there, have a happy and safe festive season, with many a tight line.
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