Wallaga bream firing in the shallows
  |  First Published: May 2016

Since Wallaga Lake reopened to the ocean back in 2009, fish stocks have thrived, especially the bream. The reason for this? It’s the food that’s available there. All sorts of shellfish can be found like cockles, oysters, pipis or mussels around the shores of the lake or over the tidal flats. Along with these are the many species of worms, nippers, crabs, prawns and shrimp making up a smorgasbord for not only the bream but most other estuary species like mullet, luderick, whiting and those tasty garfish, along with a host of other species.

Surface lures imitating prawns have been working well in the shallows, but for the best results you should use fresh baits like nippers, worms or prawns. They are guaranteed to catch fish, you just have to sit back and wait.

Bermagui is abuzz with trailer boats jostling on the bait grounds before venturing wide to tackle the mighty yellowfin tuna. That’s how most days start here in Bermagui at this time of year, as it’s important to gather fresh bait to be used either live or as cubes in berley trails. Once each boat has their bait they all head off in different directions to sea.

There are several methods that can be employed to catch yellowfin. Most anglers start their day trolling lures trying to find where the fish are concentrated. Sometimes lures may be the only way to go when fish are up on the surface chasing sauries. When tuna feed on these baitfish it can be very frustrating as their focus is on those small fish and they refuse all other offerings. Thankfully they don’t read the script, and a well-structured berley trail will often have the tuna up feeding in the trail, only too willing to eat a live mackerel or a drifted cube.

As a bonus, albacore, striped tuna, sharks, mahimahi and marlin are also around in numbers, and can be caught in many different ways. Makos, blues and whaler sharks will regularly visit berley trails, so if you don’t already have a bait in the water, have one ready to toss once they arrive.

Albacore will definitely turn up in trails, so have some light 4-6kg gear handy to play with these little speedsters. They will often respond to surface poppers cast on spin gear, providing plenty of entertainment while you wait for the larger yellowfin.

Marlin will often show their bills as well, so use heavier 200-250lb mono on your livebaits to prevent any break-offs from them. You are probably more likely to see the marlin busting up on schools of sauries, where the more conventional method of trolling lures or live baits produces the strikes.

Around Montague Island, large kingies and bonito like to get in on the act, feasting on the sauries as they pass by the island. Slow trolling live mackerel may interest them, or you can troll skirted or diving lures. Casting poppers can attract aggressive strikes as well.

It’s not just the pelagic activity that’s good – so is the reef and bottom fishing. Snapper are starting to show in good numbers, and anglers are targeting them in many ways, including drifting, berleying or using soft plastics. Morwong, flathead, gummy sharks and perch are all there to be taken, and out wider Tassie trumpeter can be found on the Twelve Mile Reef.

On the beaches salmon can be found in any decent gutter on the high tides while of a night tailor and gummy sharks will join them. Bream are still in good numbers however the whiting are starting to taper off.

Around on the rocks the drummer have returned in numbers, and the average size is good as well. They can be taken on cunjevoi, weed or crabs, which are also favoured by the many groper patrolling the shore line.

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