Reasons to head offshore in May
  |  First Published: May 2017

Offshore is the place to be at present, as there is a host of fish on offer that are only too willing to feed. The big question is: what to chase, where and when?

Out wide it is tuna time with plenty of yellowfin to be found. These fish are falling to a well-presented pattern of lures, both skirted and swimming. Mixed in are plenty of striped tuna, the odd albacore, mahimahi or a stray marlin. For those who wish to berley, tuna will respond to cubes or live baits. Sharks, especially makos, will also venture into the trail, so a shark bait in the water will account for them.

Closer to shore there is a lot of light sports action around the rocky headlands. Bonito have been around in some of the largest numbers I have seen in years providing plenty of action. Mix in salmon, kingfish, frigate mackerel or striped tuna and you’re in for a lot of fun. Jigging plastics or blades is popular now within the area. They are producing those species mentioned above and plenty of bottom dwellers. Snapper take a particular liking to these methods and are increasing in numbers all the time.

Expect some decent flathead to be taken around the fringes of the reef as you drift onto sand. For those who are not into the lures, there is plenty of fun to be had with traditional bottom bashing. Flathead have long been the main target out of Tathra with plenty of sand and tigers on offer.

The sandies tend to like the shallower water close to shore. Out wider you can find large tigers and the occasional gummy shark to filter into your bag. All the reefs are fishing well with most species on the chew. Very decent snapper are making up the bulk of the captures. On the shoreline, as you would expect, there is plenty of pelagic action around the rocks and off the wharf.

Bonito have been around in big numbers and are only too willing to take a well-cast lure or live bait under a float. Mixed in there have been frigate mackerel, salmon, the odd kingfish and plenty of tailor, especially at night on the wharf with strip baits. Fishing for drummer off the stones has been brilliant all along the coast and never better than around Tathra.

If you are using cabbage weed for bait, you’re likely to attract a few good luderick to mix in the bag. These fish may also be encountered from the wharf close to shore. All your common fun species like yellowtail, mackerel and trevally are being captured off the wharf providing hours of entertainment for both kids and adults.

The beaches are consistent with plenty to be found there as well. Salmon are the most prolific with all the beaches hosting their share. With them you can expect some very nice tailor, the odd mulloway or a night gummy. Whaler sharks will also be encountered.

Not to be left out, there are plenty of bream, whiting, mullet or trevally in the close to shore gutters, which can be enticed to feed with berley. Bream have been the flavour of the season just about anywhere you go. Since a recent flush of the Bega River system it is full of them. Black bream especially like structure and there is plenty of that in this system.

Work lures around any form of this, no matter how small you may think it is. Also, you are likely to encounter estuary perch and quite often flathead. Look for those baitfish that will also hang around a snag. All the other species of estuarine fish are on the chew and not only in the Bega. Surrounding estuaries are holding good stocks. Hurry, as the cooler months are coming fast and the estuaries will soon quiet down.

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