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Flathead on the move
  |  First Published: October 2016



The estuaries are heating up nicely and starting to produce some very good fish. In the upper reaches of the Bermagui River, fantastic dusky flathead are being taken on lures. Some of these fish have been in excess of 70cm, providing good sport.

Look for them over the flats at high tide, where they warm themselves in the sun’s heat. Up on these flats, schools of luderick will graze over the ribbon weed. Mixed in with them are bream, whiting and mullet. All can be taken on nippers or worms. At night, the bridge will produce all those species and more, as they feed on what’s washed down with the current.

Prawners should also start to look on the dark of this month, out at Wallaga, Cuttaggee and Barragoot lakes. These systems were open to the ocean at the right time and allowed stock to enter the system, so both should prawn well. Out at Wallaga Lake, things are heating up at the fringes, especially around the western edges or around the creek entrance. These are producing well for flatties, as they feast on prawn – match the hatch.

Out at sea from around 30m in water depth and right out to the Continental Shelf, tiger flathead are moving along the coast, as they do around this time of the season. They’re relatively easy to target and the best way is drifting. Sounders are important when fishing this way, as they allow you to find the edge of the reefs or muddy bottoms, where the tigers lurk. GPS is also valuable here as it allows you to track your drift, so you can concentrate your efforts on more productive areas.

Keep in mind, these fish have fins. If you’ve been catching a lot of fish in a particular area and return to find little activity, it’s more than likely these schooling fish have eaten the area out and moved on. It will pay for you to move around in this case to find them. In some cases it may be several kilometres.

Other benefits of drift fishing out from Bermagui are the amount of scattered reefs ranging just off the main headland south for many miles. If you crack a good southern drift, it’ll be possible to cover many of these areas in one continual long drift, saving you moving a lot. Flathead are going to be in between these reefs. You’ll know when you find harder structure by the assortment of reef fish including coral cod, snapper, hard pulling morwong and many other odd balls thrown in.

October generally heralds the start of the game fish season, with school run tuna, sharks and the remote possibility of an early marlin. Albacore will be on the short list for sure, while striped tuna and yellowfin will also be encountered. Trolling is best at this time of year, as you can cover more ground. A variety of small skirts and diving lures will account for most strikes, but I always like to have a large pusher out the back, for a marlin or larger tuna.

Where there’s tuna, there’s likely makos. If you’ve caught plenty of tuna, use the frames of strippies for bait and berley and start your trail where you encountered the tuna. It may take a while or not happen at all, but when it does it will be spectacular.

The FSCBSA is hosting its 18th annual bass comp, at Brogo Dam on the first weekend of December, and you’re invited! This fun-filled family event is designed to raise funds for the ongoing stocking program, to keep this dam the fantastic fishing impoundment it’s become.

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The kids are on holidays having fun.

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These anglers caught a flathead on a lure and a luderick on a nipper, in the shallows of the estuaries.

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