Calm seas, plenty of fish and mild weather are the order for the middle of autumn. Just about all forms of fishing are at their prime, and this is my favourite time of year to fish.
April usually means good sea conditions, allowing anglers to access a lot of offshore fishing. Game fishing sees a crossover of different species; yellowfin tuna, along with albacore and many smaller species are starting to appear in good numbers. Trolling or berleying will account for tuna, although by berleying you may attract sharks like makos, blues and tigers. While berleying, don’t be frightened to put a live bait out in a trail for marlin, so use heavier traces to handle them. Conventional means of targeting marlin is also working well, with plenty of fish on the Twelve Mile Reef and along the Continental Shelf.
Dolphin fish are hanging around the fish traps and are providing plenty of entertainment, while Montague Island has its share of kingfish in various sizes. Good numbers of bonito are there to keep anglers busy too. While trolling deep diving lures is a great way to catch bonito, try a small live mackerel hooked through the nose for better results.
Options arise for both the sport and reef fisher in the calmer conditions. The use of soft plastics offshore is producing interesting results out of Bermagui. Fishing in 15-20m water out from the headlands and bommies, and working from the bottom to mid-water, will effectively produce the best fishing, with kingfish, salmon, snapper and many other species falling to this technique.
For many reef anglers this time of year heralds the start of the snapper season. Either drifting over the reef complexes (Goalen Head is the prime area) or by anchoring, both are producing good fish. Larger snapper are regularly encountered by berleying while on the anchor in depths of around 30-40m. Fishing baits like pilchards, mackerel and tuna strips at varying depths will produce the better specimens. Other reef fish are also in good numbers, with morwong, flathead, pigfish and perch coming from the deeper marks. Sand flathead are plentiful out from most beaches adjacent to Bermagui, with those to the south being the pick.
Flat seas allow anglers easy access to rock platforms, which will give them the chance to try different techniques. Live baiting for game fish is 1 option; with deep water surrounding many of the rocky headlands meaning tuna, kingfish, sharks and marlin are all on the short list. Lure fishing for salmon, tailor, bonito and the like is also very popular, while for the drummer and groper fishers activity is also hotting up.
Most beaches are fishing well, with good numbers of salmon, tailor, gummy sharks (on the moon) and the occasional mulloway. Smaller species like bream and whiting are also around, with beach worms, yabbies and striped tuna accounting for most. Use fresh berley like tuna and mackerel to keep the bream schooling close to shore.
Excellent fishing is being experienced in most estuary systems, as fish feed to put on condition for the cooler months ahead. Luderick are being encountered on cabbage weed near the bridge and around the breakwalls. Lots of southern yellowfin bream have moved into the estuary, with yabbies and striped tuna fished in berley trails being extremely effective. Live mullet and lures are taking their share of flathead, and using yabbies over the flats on high tide will account for various different species. The warmer water that pushes in from the ocean on the incoming tide stimulates these estuary fish into feeding more regularly.
Brogo Dam is starting to cool, making fishing more difficult, although live crickets for those who want to fish baits is effective. Trolling lures around the weed beds that are starting to become exposed with falling water levels is producing good bass. Humid conditions will still permit fly fishers good fishing; again, around the weed beds late of an evening.
There are still some nice flathead to be found in the Bermagui River, even late in the season.
Autumn is the time for big luderick, and Wallaga Lake is presently full of them.Reads: 869