Metre-plus flatties still about
  |  First Published: May 2015

Metre-plus flathead, well that is nice!

Well they’re on offer in the Bega River at the moment. These fish will often congregate in the lower parts of the system before winter falls, mainly to gain condition before the waters cool, and this is when anglers can cash in. These big fish are now not uncommon in the river, and for best results fish with lures (hard or soft plastics), or fresh baits like live mullet, prawns or nippers.

Mulloway are also another fish that prospers under these conditions and are now a regular catch. Around the bridge or the adjacent rocky shoreline are prime areas, as is the rock walls up around Thompsons. Again, most are being taken on lures, although there are plenty that are partial to a live mullet or fresh strip of tailor.

One of the true benefits of what has happened to this system has been the estuary perch. These fish have bred up in good numbers since the nets left, providing 1 of the best fisheries for this species along the coast. Lure fishing is good for them, although if you want some exciting fun, try drifting an unweighted live prawn around structure and hang on.

There are plenty of bream on offer, along with some nice blackfish around the bridge, whiting over the flats, tailor smashing baitfish on the surface, or travel up to the brackish water for a bass.

Along the coastline around Tathra, the fish are migrating and providing good beach fishing. Anglers fishing adjacent to rocky platforms will quite often encounter a variety of species. This is best done by the use of bait, where variety is the spice of fishing. Beachworms and nippers are likely to produce fish like whiting, mullet, bream or drummer, and these fish can be captured in relatively shallow water with light tackle.

The more common beach tactics will produce salmon, some nice tailor, the odd mulloway, and gummy sharks on the moon. Pilchards or strip baits will account for most, however, to enhance your chances, berley with oily fish like tuna or mackerel.

The wharf at Tathra is always a popular place and at present there are plenty of fish to be found. Garfish are in good numbers and easily berleyed up close to the rocks. Slimy mackerel are prolific, providing plenty of entertainment for young and old alike, while the ever-present yellowtail and trevally will add to the catch. With so many smaller fish in this area, you can be sure predators are not too far behind. At present, you could expect tuna, kingfish, sharks, bonito and salmon.

Of an evening or at night, start thinking of nice golden calamari rings, as squid will often show up in good numbers and are easily caught on a jig.

Out to sea, snapper have showed on most reefs, and are of a good size. Lures are working well on them nearer to shore, while bait is best in deeper water. Out deeper, you are likely to encounter plenty of morwong, ocean perch, and as you drift off the reef, the tiger flathead start. Closer to the beaches, sand flathead abound, providing many a tasty meal and quite often gummy sharks will be an additional bycatch.

It is tuna season, with plenty of yellowfin out wide towards the shelf. These are being taken on trolled lures, cubes or live baits in berley trails, and albacore tuna will often make an appearance and provide plenty of action. Have a shark trace handy for that stray mako that may turn up in the trails, as these fish can be one of the most spectacular game fish an angler can encounter.

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