Winter reefs rewarding
  |  First Published: July 2006

One of the advantages of living in Bermagui is the warmth of our Winter days. Mornings dawning clear crisp and fresh will burn off to warm 20° days allowing anglers to enjoy the great conditions.

Offshore reef fishing is very good with most species being encountered. Dictated by weather patterns, anglers can fish as close to shore as they choose or travel to wider reefs. On these wide reefs, such as the Twelve Mile, Tassie trumpeter are a much sought-after species due to their excellent taste, Large blue morwong, tiger flathead and of course snapper will all be encountered.

Out on the canyons anglers using 80lb braid and large metal lures are learning the art of deep jigging, which is producing surprising results on fish like hapuku, blue eye trevalla and gemfish as well as yellowfin and albacore tuna.

Closer to shore tried and tested rigs are still producing good bags of snapper, especially around the full moon, with simple paternoster rigs drifted over and around the reefs producing best. However, anchoring and berleying will allow anglers to fish much lighter, producing some very nice fish and heaps of fun.

Flicking soft plastics around the close reefs is a very exciting way of entertaining yourself. Recently on a trip out with a couple of young mates from the local cricket club, we caught 12 species on light spin gear. Nothing was exceptional, although a couple of decent bust-offs had us guessing and kept our anticipation primed.

Wouldn’t it be nice if some of those bluefin tuna that were caught off Portland in Victoria this year turned up off Bermagui! It is quite possible and they can be encountered off Bermi from June to August anywhere from just off the headlands to well over the canyons.

Trolling, live baiting and cubing are proven methods of catching bluefin and casting lures to the small and mid-range fish on spin gear can de very entertaining. Check with the local tackle stores to see how the season is progressing.


Rock fishing is at its best for species black and silver drummer as well as blue groper. These fish can be encountered all day through the Winter on abalone gut, crab, cunjevoi, prawns and cabbage weed.

Keep rigs simple with a small sinker running straight to the hook or suspend baits under a float. If targeting black drummer, try scaling down to say 4kg gear on a lighter rod and let the fish have its head once hooked – you will be surprised at the results.

Lure fishing from the rocks and beaches will produce some good salmon and tailor with the possible late kingfish. Small lures on light gear provide heaps of fun and will allow anglers a chance to catch some of the silver trevally that also hang around the rocks.

Those wishing to brave the cold at night around the full moon should encounter some nice gummy sharks, Tilba, Wallaga, Barragoot and Murrah beaches are the pick spots.

Estuary fishing is extremely quiet with most fish migrating out of the systems open to the ocean or going dormant in the lakes closed to the sea. Wallaga, which is closed, has some big tailor and if you get a nice warm day these fish may be encountered on lures as they chase mullet schools around in the shallows.


Blackfish are regularly caught in the cooler months, especially around the bridge at Wallaga Lake on green or cabbage weed. Best areas in the Bermi River for blackfish include the northern rock wall upstream from the bridge, in front of the bridge boat ramp, the bridge pylons, the rock walls around the harbour and the rock platform adjacent to the entrance.

The last of the run out and the first of the rising tide is prime time for anglers who like to toss lures. Some very good trevally schools have moved into the lower reaches of the tidal estuaries, providing some pleasant fishing. Small hard or soft lures will account for most of the trevally but don’t be surprised to hit the odd good bream or flathead.

This is also a good time to catch squid. Most of the rocky headlands and inshore reefs will have their share with the harbour producing of an evening and into the night. Most of the common prawn style jigs will work, as will the old favourite of a fish on the skewer-style jig.

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