Jigging is great fun
  |  First Published: July 2007

Why is jigging with soft plastics and hard metal lures so popular? Simple – it’s great fun and the waters that surround Bermagui are particularly suited to it.

Out over the continental shelf, heavy metal jigs come into their own. Along the deep canyon walls anglers can expect a variety of species from hapuku, ling, gemfish, trevalla and some species that will take some identifying. Pelagics may get into the act, too, so don’t be surprised while when your dropping jig comes to an abrupt halt on a yellowfin, albacore or southern bluefin tuna. That’s when things start getting very interesting.

All this sounds very good but you need the conditions to fish this method successfully. Calm seas and very little current are the main two ingredients. Once you have this, 300g to 500g jigs fished on braided lines are lowered and then retrieved with short jerks. Once you have retrieved the jig, say, 10m, drop it back down and repeat the process until a hook-up is achieved. You may also need to move around a bit to locate concentrations of fish.

If the deep water isn’t your scene, try soft plastics close along the coast or off the rocks. Again, conditions dictate how deep and you can fish them effectively.

A few of the local fishos are targeting shallow water down south at Goalen Head with some very good success on snapper with a host of other species thrown in. Snapper are most sought after because of their hard fighting and top eating qualities.

However, lots of other species provide plenty of entertainment and are just as good, if not better, in the pan. The humble red rock cod is encountered often and its thick, white flesh is very tasty. Just watch the spikes all over the head and on the fins.


If you don’t have a boat, all is not lost. More anglers are discovering plastics cast from the stones are just as much fun and very challenging. Long casts with a variety of retrieves is all that is required.

You can work lures deep near the bottom for reef fish or mid to surface water for predator species like salmon, trevally and tailor. Expect lure losses, which can be high when shore-based, so I suggest you use some of the cheaper plastics. They can be just as effective as the dearer ones.

For the gamefishers, there may be some southern bluefin tuna out over the shelf. A spread of trolled skirted and bibless lures is the way to go. If they are about, don’t be surprised to have every lure in the pattern smashed with fish varying in size from rats to unstoppables.

Makos and blue sharks may be an option in berley trails and consider having a live bait out for the various tunas while shark fishing.

July is excellent for reef fishing in the simple old way of just drifting with a paternoster rig and fresh bait. The deeper Twelve Mile Reef has some very nice ocean perch, snapper, Tassie trumpeter and large tiger flathead on the fringes.

Closer to shore the Four Mile, Six Mile, Brothers Reef and Goalen Head are producing plenty of morwong, snapper, flathead and the ever-present leatherjackets. If the jackets are giving you grief, try moving into shallower water around 16m, lighten up with your gear and have some fun with a mixture of reef fish.

Anchoring and berleying will also prove effective in close, bringing fish closer to the boat. Nice schools of average-size sand flathead are out from most of the beaches in around 30m of water. Best areas are The Step up north off Tilba, Cuttagee, Wallaga and Camel Rock beaches.

The estuary scene is very quiet with only a few bream on the incoming tide. People fishing for luderick with green weed and cabbage weed are doing OK around the rock walls and the bridge but the rocks adjacent to the harbour entrance are best. These rocks are producing tailor of an evening on pilchards or casting lures, while in around the harbour wharves, schools of trevally are keeping kids and adults alike amused for hours.

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