Mmm – fresh prawns!
  |  First Published: December 2007

What is better in Summer than a lovely salad lunch of fresh prawns you caught the night before? It is a meal that often graces our table over the warmer months and now is the time for it to do so at yours.

The first two weeks of December will be a prime time for this activity with the dark moon phase at its best.

The Bega River where it meets the ocean at Tathra has easy access to go prawning and is now producing very well.

To the south, Wallagoot Lake has been stocked as an experimental program by DPI Fisheries with large amounts of prawn spawn earlier this year and by now the prawns should be of reasonable size.

Fifteen minutes north will put you at Middle Lake, which would also be worth a look, although a short walk is required to get to the lake.

How good a prawn tastes comes a lot in the cooking so here are a few tips in the way I like to do them.

I always take along a spare bucket or two to bring home saltwater. Use half of the water to boil the prawns in, then make an ice slurry with the remainder.

Have the water boiling before placing the prawns in, then bring it back to the boil. The prawns should be cooked once the water has come back to the boil or if you have doubts, look for a bubble of air between the shell and the flesh.

Now dip your prawns in the slurry for a few minutes to separate the shell from the flesh to make peeling easier. Drain well, then place prawns in a bowl lined with a tea towel and cover. The prawns can now be consumed fresh or placed in the fridge for later.

If kept over night I like to throw a little coarse salt over them to keep the flavour.

Another advantage of going prawning is to acquire fresh bait. When a system has prawn stocks in it, you can be assured that the fish in there are feeding on them.

This is happening in the Bega River and surrounding lakes with good flathead, bream, whiting, trevally, jewfish and many more on the chew.


Think offshore, too. If prawn stocks are coming out of the systems into the ocean there will always be predators around. There have been lots of sand flathead out of Tathra and many of them have been spewing out prawns onto the deck so find out what estuaries in the area are open to the ocean and then fish around their entrances.

Also feeding well offshore are morwong and snapper on the reefs with plenty of tiger flathead in 50m to 60m.

Game fishing is picking up. Out around the continental shelf schools of striped, albacore and yellowfin tuna are in good numbers and trolling a mixture of lures will account for them most times.

Marlin are also starting to appear but be prepared to cover a fair bit of ocean to find them.

Sharks are following the schools of tuna. Makos especially like feeding on albacore so a good berley trail laced with tuna and tuna baits bait will often succeed. The bonus of fishing this way is if you’re not too deep you can also fish the bottom while waiting for the sharks.

The beach adjacent to the Bega River is producing plenty of nice whiting on beach worms with some very good bream and a few mullet.

Salmon are there in good numbers and so are the tailor of a night. If the tailor aren’t showing interest, try the wharf, which is fishing well and the kids should have a ball there these holidays.

Schools of slimy mackerel will keep them entertained, as will the trevally and yellowtail. For the bigger kids there are likely to be salmon, the odd kingfish, tailor at night plus a host of other species.


The author’s wife, Jan, and daughter, Steph, with a double hook-up on bream in the Bega River.


The result – Steph got the bigger fish


Scenes like this have been repeated for decades. Father and son on Tathra Wharf.

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