Historical wharf damaged
  |  First Published: August 2016

June this year provided one of the fiercest east coast lows to hit our coastline in many a decade, and it’s not since the 1970s that a storm cell has had the wave force or flooding rain that this one did.

Waves were recorded along the coast with the largest at Eden going a whopping 18m, with most averaging around 16m. Sadly this had damaging effects on the historical Tathra Wharf, where foundations and structural damage is of great significance. The Wharf has been deemed as unsafe and unusable to the public, however being an icon in the area, locals are rallying behind having it repaired and back in use in the future for both anglers and tourists to enjoy.

It’s all not bad news, the floods coming through the Bega Valley down the river to the ocean at Tathra will definitely keep the system open to the ocean for some considerable time, and this means fresh fish stocks will be able to migrant in and out the river system and also allow fresh water species like bass easy access to the salt water sections for their breeding cycle.

Estuary perch will also benefit from this while many of the other estuarine species like bream, flathead, whiting and many more will allow their offspring back into the system, where a nursery is in better shape than it has been for many years.

Many of these estuary species breed offshore, meaning their offspring come back into the system to grow, and this is why it is important to have these estuaries open to the ocean.

The big benefit is that after the devastating storm, the season to come should offer some fantastic fishing in the rivers and lakes.

Already we are seeing luderick moving in around the bridge and adjacent rock walls, even as far up as Thompsons. With the river system being so open, the water is clear but cold, and it allows anglers an opportunity to see these fish along with many others, where they can be targeted with different methods.

The luderick will respond to weed along with nippers or worms, whereas most of your other species are happy to take a well-presented nipper. For those who wish to target these fish with lures, you will have to be prepared to put in a fare effort to get a response, however, the rewards may be worth it.

Offshore, you can expect things to have changed, and new reefs may have been exposed by the wave forces along the coast, giving anglers access to new fishing grounds. You will need to be vigilant, and work your sounders to find these areas. Some of these places are likely to be closer to shore, and if you like using soft plastics on the reefs, fish like snapper, the odd kingfish and a variety of oddballs are likely to oblige. This season is going to be an interesting one if you are fishing the reefs after the storm, but the positives should be more fish for the future.

Beaches are another area that has suffered from the weather cell gouging them out, however they have created some very deep gutters. The beaches within the Tathra area are now hosting large schools of salmon, a few tailor and the odd mulloway. The salmon especially can be targeted simply by walking the beaches with a handful of metal lures, just make sure you cast to the deeper holes. A good set of polaroid sunglasses will also go a long way, allowing you to see these fish before you cast to them. On a cool winter’s day, strolling a beach and catching a few salmon is not a bad way to keep warm.

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