Estuary action abound
  |  First Published: January 2016

Tathra is a great seaside town to spend the holidays and is a place that families can really explore, with many angling options on offer.

Golden opportunities

First port of call when you arrive at Tathra is the historic Wharf; if you have kids or an outspoken inner child in you then Tathra Wharf is a good place to start fishing. All kinds of species visit here during the summer months from hard fighting pelagics through to garfish near the rocks. Other species on offer will include those ever-entertaining slimy mackerel, silver trevally, yellowtail, salmon and tailor plus a host more. Don’t expect to have this platform to yourself, if you don’t like crowds then start looking at other options in the area. If you have family that like to go to the beach, then there are always angling opportunities. Most of the beaches are holding good numbers of salmon along them. The evenings have provided some excellent tailor, gummy sharks and the odd mulloway. In the shallow gutters some very nice bags of whiting, bream and mullet have been taken on beach worm. The best area is the north end of Tathra Beach, near the entrance of the Bega River. Good rock platforms are adjacent to most beaches and are easily accessed by a short walk. Using baits like prawns or nippers will land you a variety of species such as drummer, blackfish, groper, wrasse, trevally, garfish and many more. Berley will improve your strike rate, and setting a berley trail can be as simple as throwing some soaked bread into the water. Rigs are simple here too with just about any rod and reel combo doing the trick. Just as simple is to rig up, with a small ball sinker running straight to a no.1-4 hook with the bait of your choice.

River and estuaries firing up

Calm sheltered water on some of the lakes and estuaries in the area should satisfy those looking for a little variety. The Bega River is fishing well for flathead that feed on prawns in the lower to mid reaches of the system. These fighters provide some good early morning lure fishing. All through the system bream are on the chew and have been caught on lure and bait. The beauty about the Bega River for luring anglers is the diversity of the area and how you can fish them. If the lower parts of the river are not producing, or you want a change, go further upstream for bass, estuary perch, bream and mullet. Some of those big bully mullet upstream will take a small soft plastic ripped across them at speed. I don’t know whether this is out of aggression or hunger, but I do know it’s heaps of fun when one does. Don’t limit yourself to lures though, as the river fishes very well for the bait fishos too. Worms, nippers, live mullet, fish strips, and (a specialty for this time of year) live prawns. The river is full of prawns, so when it gets dark, grab your prawn gear, get out there and get into them. This season should be the best in years! Wallagoot Lake to the south has a share as well, which you may find larger than the river.

Offshore Focus

Offshore, bottom fishing is excellent with both sand and tiger flathead dominating catches. Out from Bournda is producing well for the tigers with the north grounds performing best for the sandies. While up north, you might like to check out some of the reef complexes as they are holding good numbers of reef fish. Goalen Head is the last point north coming out of Tathra and is a complex reef system running many miles to sea, hosting a variety of fish including bottom dwellers through to game fish. Down deep you would expect to encounter snapper, kingfish, morwong, wrasses, and plenty more. Up on the surface, all sorts of game fish have begun to visit.

Game fishers should try trolling a pattern of lures for marlin, yellowfin, and albacore tuna. Anywhere from 50 fathoms to beyond the shelf will hold game fish. Striped marlin hang around the edge of the shelf feeding on the many baitfish schools. For those with larger vessels, go further afield to beyond the Canyons as now is the time to chase those big blue marlin that patrol the deeper ocean.
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