Following good winter rains the estuaries and lakes along the coast are primed for the warmer months ahead, and the start of a great run of prawns. Estuarine fish species prey on prawns heavily at this time, which makes for some great angling in the months ahead. Hopefully there will be plenty of these tasty crustaceans around for us humans to target for a feed as well!
At this time of year the upper reaches of estuaries hold warmer water that cultivates the food source prawns need to grow. Here, fish species will congregate to feast upon the prawns and recondition after the winter chills. Expect species such as flathead, bream, trevally, whiting, and estuary perch to emerge.
Now is the time for anglers to find some exciting fishing – but how, and where to go about it? One prime area is the Bega River, where the salt water in the system reaches way inland. The Bega River is positioned with many back waters such as Blackfellas Lake that are heated by the surrounding warming land which creates a perfect nursery for prawns to grow. Even further up the river will also play host to prawns often up to the brackish and fresh water where bass seize the opportunity to feed upon crustaceans pushed up on some of the large high tides. Use your electric aids to seek the higher water temps and to sound out fish in the deep areas. Your most effective aid is your own eyesight and polaroiding fish in the shallow gravelly areas will be a good way to find them.
Now that you’ve located the fish, what can you use, and how you go about catching them? Obviously match the hatch if you are into lure or fly fishing with many artificial imitations available on the market. One of my favourites is the Z Man prawn which smells and feels like the real thing. Of course, the best way to match what is on offer is to use the real thing. If you go this way you may need to go out the night before you fish to gather your prawns for bait. They can be kept alive with an aerator in a bucket of water or use them dead as often they can be just as effective. A good tip is to shell a few of the prawns, as the scent will increase and attract fish from a further distance. If you can’t acquire fresh prawns, nippers will often work just as well as these fish are now in hunting mode.
For those who love eating prawns, get your act together, get out there, and start catching them! You don’t need a lot of gear – just a dip net, a good strong light, and a bucket. Search around a bit to find the better systems within the area that may be holding prawns like Wallagoot Lake (south of Tathra), and if you are new to this game, the more you go the greater the rewards.Reads: 440