Bermagui estuaries hit their peak this month
  |  First Published: March 2016

Most anglers want the most from their fishing options, so a little homework on the best locations and especially the best time to visit them is important. You can have the greatest area in the world, but if you are there at the wrong time it can be a very disappointing experience! For Bermagui, March is arguably the best month of the lot.

No matter what style of fishing you are into, we have it all at this time of year from the sweetwater of Brogo Dam to the estuaries and beyond to the deep blue briny of the Pacific Ocean.

Marlin is the big attraction for game anglers with warm water, plenty of bait and all only a few miles offshore. The Twelve Mile Reef is at its prime with all three species inhabiting this area. Lures are a popular way to find where the marlin are concentrated, however at this time of year live bait is a great option, providing a much better hook up rate.

Switch baiting is another option. By running a spread of hookless lures or teasers, you can bring the fish closer to the boat in order to pitch baits to the excited marlin.

Big blues have been predominant lately with the Canyons being the areas that anglers should concentrate their efforts on. With such warm water again this season, it wouldn’t surprise me to see some fish brought in close to that magical 1000lb mark.

Not only are marlin high on the must do list, so are sportfish like kingfish, which have been in very good numbers around Montague Island and other areas like Four and Six Mile Reefs, down to Goalen Head at Bunga. The conventional ways of catching them are working well up at the Island, while casting with soft plastics is a lot of fun near the coast.

Bottom fishing offshore is excellent with most species being abundant in varying depths. With the calmer conditions, anglers are venturing further afield to fish the deeper water of the Twelve Mile Reef where things can get pretty exciting. Large Tassie trumpeter are on the short list out there as are big morwong, snapper and kingfish. While you’re out on these wider reefs, having a live bait out under a balloon may also prove effective on game fish like marlin, just to put some more excitement into things.

Back closer to shore, The Step out from Tilba has produced the best catches of both tiger and sand flathead for years with some excellent red gurnard, and in recent times, some lovely gummy sharks.

Undoubtedly this is the best time to fish the estuaries, as all species are available with this season being one of the best for large whiting and bream. There is a lot of hype around using poppers on whiting over the flats, which has been very effective, however if you really want to get into some great whiting action and put some lovely fillets on the table, try some nippers or worms to boost up the catch rate.

In my experiences I see a lot of anglers targeting flathead in the deeper waters of an estuary, and this produces some good fish, however on the big tides I like to get up on the flats only a few inches deep. Big flatties not only like to feed there, but the warmth from the sun is also an attraction. Not only are the flathead in these shallows, so are plenty of other species like mullet, bream, luderick and garfish, as they patrol these shallow areas in search of food, which consists mostly of squirt worms. You don’t have to use worms to target these species in the shallow water as nippers will prove just as effective and are easily obtained.

Things will start to cool from here on in so for those of you who want some sweet water bass fishing in Brogo Dam, go now before the winter doldrums set in. These fish are conditioning for the cooler months ahead and are heavily feeding in the process. This is great news for anglers as these fish are very active and will generally strike at just about anything that moves, especially surface lures. The dam is still at maximum capacity, so consider concentrating your efforts around the weed beds that harbour most of the food sources bass like feeding on.

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