Drought definitely over!
  |  First Published: August 2007

Plenty of winter rains have our coastal estuaries primed for the months ahead and expectations are high.

Estuary systems along the coast have suffered from the drought as badly as the land and many of the lakes and rivers were closed to the ocean for long periods. These now have a new lease on life, with the rains allowing them to open.

Fish stocks are migrating back into the systems and so has prawn spawn, which should mean a good prawning season for late spring, summer and autumn. Not only stocks entered, fish such as bass, mullet, estuary perch and bream can now move freely through the systems during their spawning times.

Already anglers have reported captures of estuary perch and bass in areas usually not frequented by these fish.

The Bermagui River and Wallaga Lake around the bridge have been producing a good run of luderick with some exceptional fish. The better fish seem to be at Wallaga, a result of the entrance staying open from the winter rains.

Tailor are in good numbers in the lake and you can find them by following the terns and gulls. Trolled lures are also an effective way to find them. Then switch to surface poppers for something special.

For the kids (and the big kids, too) check out the Bermagui Harbour for schools of trevally. They are great fun and there are some monsters that will keep the best of anglers honest.

The offshore and coastal scenes have also benefited from the rain. Out to sea the reef and inshore fishing is excellent.


Snapper like the cooler water and there have been plenty of them. If you choose the conventional drift fishing, try the wider Four Mile and Six Mile reefs and out off Goalen Head there have been sharks, too.

Closer to shore, you could anchor and berley the snapper, drifting baits back at varying depths, or cast soft plastics around in depths from 20m to right in close to the rocks. You will catch snapper and a whole host of species.

Tiger flathead offshore are also improving, with better fish coming from 60–70m, although if you’re after some very big fish, try the Twelve Mile. You might encounter those tasty Tassie trumpeter mixed in with the flatties.

Gamefish are usually not at their best in August but unseasonably high water temps this winter that caused all the bad weather off the coast have maintained some tuna.

Albacore would definitely be on the shortlist along with some yellowfin. Southern bluefin tuna also visit around now and by trolling a good spread of lures these fish can be encountered on the shallow reefs to wide out over the 1000-fathom line.

Also this season there have been a few captures of the rarer bigeye tuna, which mix in with the other species but rarely come to the surface.

Wherever you find tuna you will encounter sharks. Makos are on top of the list but there will be blues and whalers. Berleying is the way to attract them and it goes without saying that you use plenty of tuna in your berley.

Doing this around the Twelve Mile Reef or the edge of the Continental Shelf also allows you some deep-water bottom fishing.

All those lovely rough conditions this winter have really stirred up the rock species. Drummer and luderick have been excellent and should remain so for some time.

There are some very nice bream, trevally, groper and wrasse that have also been stirred up by these conditions with some nice salmon up on the surface.

The salmon are along the beaches and making regular visits to the deeper gutters, providing anglers some very good shore fishing.

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