It’s just that time of year; the holidays are on, the weather is warm, and wherever you want to try there is a fish waiting.
January is just too easy. You don’t really need a boat, as estuaries in particular are very accessible from the shore. One of my favourite methods is to wade, throwing lures or bait around in the shallows.
The Bermagui River and the surrounding lakes are full of fish and you will be rewarded whichever way you target them. Up over the flats at high tide is producing some lovely bream and whiting, with that odd good flathead thrown in. Bait fishing with nippers or worms is a sure way of filling a bag, and some very nice fish will be taken this way.
If you get out early before the wind gets up, polaroiding the flats can be spectacular. Identify your quarry and cast ahead of it and a little beyond its line of travel, allowing for the angle of sight. As the fish comes within range of your bait or lure, twitch it and then allow it to sit. Just remember, not every fish will respond, in fact you will probably spook most, but it’s the ones you don’t spook that provide all the fun.
Good tailor are in Wallaga Lake chasing mullet in the shallows towards the entrance, and following them are some nice duskies. There are plenty in the lake around the edge of the weed beds. Luderick are in good numbers and responding well to weed baits around the rock walls, the bridge, and in the harbour. An added bonus, especially for parents, is the harbour fishing, where the kids are having a ball with trevally, yellowtail and small tailor. It’s a great area for them to learn.
Offshore for the boaties, reef fishing is very good, with most species available. Great catches of flathead are common, with anglers bagging out regularly. Tigers are being caught in the deeper water out from the Four, Six and Twelve Mile reefs. Sand flathead are available from The Step up off Tilba, with Cuttagee and Murrah areas also producing their share.
Goalen Head is holding good numbers of morwong, plus other reef dwellers and the odd kingfish. With the kingies in mind, there are nice schools around Montague, although varying in size. These fish are being taken in varying ways, from jigging and live baiting through to trolling and downrigging. Don’t expect to catch them every day, but when they’re on the chew it’s very exciting.
The game fishing scene is heating up as well, and it’s looking like a very good marlin season. Already some nice fish have been encountered and as history shows, many a big blue marlin has been caught in January. Lure fishing is probably at its best presently, and using this method will allow you to cover more water and find where the fish are. If you find concentrations of marlin, this could be the time to start live or switch baiting to maximise your chances.
The beauty of running lures at this time of year though, is the variety of other species that try to eat them. Various tuna species will definitely be around, along with mahimahi, kingies, and don’t be surprised to see a mako shark eat a lure. It happens regularly here. Speaking of sharks, those who wish to run berley trails will certainly attract them, if not some tuna as well.
Salmon are in abundance on most beaches and you really don’t have to try hard to have a lot of fun. Mixed in are some very good tailor, bream, mullet and whiting. With the warm weather, get out there at night and try for a gummy shark or maybe a mulloway.
A passion I have had for many years now is campaigning to keep Brogo Dam stocked with Australian bass. This year’s release of 15,000 fry should see the efforts of the Far South Coast Bass Stocking Association maintain a fishery for all to enjoy. Now is the best time of year to fish Brogo. Fish it early and late evenings for best results, and if you’re into fly fishing you’ll enjoy some great evening surface action. If the drought continues, water levels could be down, so look for fish patrolling the weed beds pushing small native fish up against them.
Often all you need is fresh bait like these nippers to produce good estuary action.
Look for luderick around rock walls, the road bridge, and in the harbour itself.
Drifting and berleying offshore may produce sharks and tuna at this time of year.Reads: 627