As a kid, I spent summer holidays hanging around Conjola, Berringer Lake and Cunjurong Point. I didn’t do a lot of fishing, but even back then I knew it was a good spot because I would often see locals and tourists returning from the lake or the beach at dusk with a mixed bag of whiting, bream, snapper and flathead.
Recently, I visited Cunjurong Point and took my kayak. I hit Berringer Lake and found that the flathead fishing, if possible, is even better than it was when I was a kid.
Berringer Lake is located right next to Cunjurong Point on the South Coast of NSW, which is just down the road from Lake Conjola. The town of Milton is close by and has all the usual amenities, including a small tackle shop, cafes, a supermarket, petrol station and a bakery. The tackle shop is only small, so it doesn’t have a lot of options. If you want something specific, it’s best to stop in Ulladulla before making your way to Cunjurong Point and then on to Berringer Lake.
Berringer Lake doesn’t have any public amenities and is located in the middle of a national park, so come prepared. If you’re spending a day on the kayak, you’ll need plenty of water, food and all the usual safety equipment. It’s a tidal lake, so the wind can whip up quickly.
I should stress here that the lake has had a number of toxic seaweed outbreaks. If you decide to fish the lake, do so for sport and put everything back. Wash your hands after fishing.
Berringer Lake contains healthy populations of bream, snapper and mullet along with the odd mulloway. There are enormous numbers of good-sized tailor and huge numbers of flathead.
Small cranks work well in the deeper sections of the lake and so do surface lures if targeting mullet. However, I like the flathead fishing and mostly stick to soft plastics. The flathead go absolutely nuts for them and it’s not uncommon to catch 20-30 on a bank using these cost-effective lures.
I position the kayak off a point and cast towards the bank. I then hop the plastic down towards the bottom. If the flathead don’t hit on the drop or the hop, you can just let the plastic rest on the bottom. Provided it has a lot of scent on the lure, the flathead will pick it up. I’ve found this method works well on the larger specimens. Minimal movement in the current along with an attack trigger drives them crazy. Grubs in 2-3” work well and I find the StrikePro Enticers to be the best plastics for this type of fishing.
Hot tip: if you are getting a lot of smaller flathead, size up the plastic. A Squidgy Mongrel works well, as do other plastics of 100mm or more. Plus, you will have a shot at one of the lake’s resident mulloway. Don’t forget to increase your leader size if you decide to do this though.
I used my Native Slayer Propel 13 and it handled this type of fishing with ease. Cruising the points looking for strikes is a lot of fun in this kind of yak, because you can stand up and really target your casts. There is plenty of storage in the Native, which is great for a full day on the water, but make sure if you’re using a pedal yak that you give the propel drive a good hose down afterwards. Use plenty of fresh water.
You will catch fish anywhere on the lake. That is a guarantee. The place is teeming with fish. However, during the warmer months, water skiers frequent the area. It pays to move up the lake towards ‘the steps’ for some peace and quiet, where you’ll find good concentrations of every species available. The boat traffic on the lake doesn’t really affect the action if you decide to stay in the main area, but the larger fish may prove elusive.
I use two rods when fishing Berringer Lake – one for lighter plastics and the other for heavier offerings. My Daiwa Freams 2004 matched with a 6’10 Team Daiwa X (light) rod proved perfect for throwing lighter plastics while my Daiwa Heartland 7’0 (medium) rod matched with a 3000 sized Certate worked well with the heavier 100mm plastics.
I used 6lb braid and fluorocarbon leader with my light combo and 20lb braid and leader with my heavier combo. Don’t skimp on the braid and the leader. Flatties sheer through the cheap stuff with ease.
Berringer Lake fishes well all year round. September is great if you want to run up a cricket score of fish. March and April represent the best time to target the larger specimens. Cloud cover seems to affect the lake in a good way and fishing at dawn or dusk is the most productive.
Berringer Lake is a great place to introduce a novice kayak angler to plastics fishing and a great place to hone your skills. There are so many fish and it never switches off. If you’re after a good day’s fishing for light tackle sportfish, Berringer Lake is perfect.Reads: 2019