Predators patrol the coast
  |  First Published: April 2015

It’s a fabulous time to fish in the Tathra area, with the calm weather of autumn creating great fishing conditions for boaties and shore-based anglers alike.

When these conditions prevail, anglers can choose where and how they want to fish and, more importantly, what for. Rock fishing is excellent in the area, as is the offshore scene, and the Bega River is all fired up with fish stocks at a high.

Tathra has some superb rock platforms that can be exploited by any keen angler. The main headland, down behind the pub, and around the Kianinny Bay area are the prime spots for chasing drummer, groper, bream and trevally. Cunjevoi and cabbage weed are the preferred baits, with a small ball sinker running straight down to the hook.

Pelagics also visit the stones and it’s quite possible to catch a variety of species. Kingfish patrol along the shore, feeding on a variety of baitfish, and with them are longtail, yellowfin and striped tuna, along with sharks and a host of small species in the form of tailor and salmon.

Drifting live baits out under balloons or bobby corks is the most popular approach, although high-speed lure casting can also produce results. This method works well from both the rocks and nearby wharf, and bait can be obtained by berleying the same areas you are fishing. When gathering bait at this time of year, keep an eye out for garfish as they can provide entertainment and a good feed while awaiting the big strike.

Tathra Wharf is fishing very well, with a variety of species hanging around. This is great for families on holidays, as the kids get stuck into the many baitfish schools that are here. Yellowtail and trevally are regular captures with the visitors, along with the ever-popular slimy mackerel making up the bulk of the captures.

Out to sea, the offshore fishing has also fired up, with both the game fish and bottom dwellers on the chew. Marlin are still around, with all three species now in the area. If it’s big blue marlin you’re looking for, now is the time to target them. Tathra Canyons has seen many an epic battle in the past and probably the best way to encounter 1 is with a spread of large skirted lures, as you can cover more water to find where the fish are. Once you have raised a fish or 2 in a certain area, you then can revert to live baits in the form of slimy mackerel or small striped tuna.

There will be other species also encountered whilst chasing blues, and anglers could expect to find anything from tropical mahimahi and spearfish, through to a variety of tunas including albacore, and definitely a mixture of sharks.

Calm conditions are allowing the bottom and reef fishos plenty of scope to work different areas in a range of depths. The wider reefs out in 70f (and there are some very good ones out from Tathra), are producing nice snapper, mowies, tiger flathead and very big trumpeter. Berleying while out in this deeper water and setting baits for sharks, tuna or marlin may produce whilst fishing down deep.

Closer to shore, fishing for flathead has always been popular at Tathra. Most of the grounds, whether south of Bournda or north to Wapengo, have good schools of both sand and tiger flatties, with the odd red gurnard or gummy shark to add to the catch. The inshore reefs are also hosting a variety of species, with the most popular targeted fish being snapper. Bait fishing is still the most reliable way to catch reds off the reefs, however, the use of soft plastics in shallower water is increasing in popularity. This is now being practised in a range of water depths, and as long as you can get your lure to the bottom you’re in with a good show.

The Bega River has a very good entrance, which is open to the ocean allowing fresh stocks of fish to enter the system. Schools of bream, blackfish, trevally, and I suspect some mulloway, have moved into the river and anglers have a chance to target them.

Up around Blackfellas Lake and the rock walls in the Thompson area is proving very productive for bream and estuary perch on lures. The dropoffs and main channel down towards the entrance has seen a lot of flathead and tailor taken on both lures and live bait, with the odd mulloway also getting into the act.

Down around the flats, anglers using nippers and fresh prawns have had some exciting fishing, especially around the weed beds for whiting, blackfish and bream.


It has been an exceptional season for bream on the south coast.


There is a lot of fun to be had for the whole family around Tathra these holidays.

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