Although August is not the best of months for fishing around Bermagui, those anglers willing to diversify will come home with the bacon, literally and figuratively.
Fishing for pigs (black drummer) from the rocks is probably at its best in late Winter. Most of the rock ledges around Bermi will produce these succulent, white-fleshed, hard-pulling rock-dwellers and anglers in the know will have many an enjoyable moment from the stones tangling with them.
A simple rig of a small bean sinker run straight to the hook or a bait suspended by a float is all that is required to produce fish.
Hook sizes can vary, as can line classes. Some people like to use heavy line and horse the fish out, although my preferred way is to use 4kg line, a 3.2m rod and a ball sinker straight to a hook loaded with abalone gut.
If you allow the fish to have its head when it’s hooked out wider, you might find that as you bring the fish to the rocks, the fight will be less intense and you’ll have less chance of losing it in the rocks at your feet.
Other fish you might encounter include groper, trevally, leatherjacket, bream and the tough silver drummer.
On the beaches, anglers will encounter plenty of salmon. With a westerly wind at your back, casting lures from the sand is never easier. Use outfits that can hold plenty of light line and lures to match.
Long, raking casts and fast retrieves will produce results as you walk along the beach exploring the gutters.
Quite often at this time of year, the shore break is at a minimum so soft plastics and flies also become an option. A handy tip if you are having trouble with fish jumping and throwing the lure is to offset your hooks and use two split rings joined together to give a chain-like effect.
Other fish likely to be encountered off the beach at this time of year are tailor, bream, mullet and gummy sharks. Of course, bait fishing is very good and best used in conjunction with berley.
Blackfish are moving into the estuary systems in anticipation of the water warming and to feed over the weed flats. Conventional float rigs with green weed or cabbage weed for bait will result in anglers having little trouble obtaining a feed.
Using nippers or worms on the flats as the tide rises will also produce results. To obtain the best from your fishing, gear right down to ultra-light rods, lines and terminal tackle. I find a 6’ to 7’ rod and 1kg to 2kg line works just fine with a short 4kg leader.
Wallaga Lake is holding some very big tailor and when these fish decide to feed, the action can be very spectacular. You will find these fish on the eastern side of the bridge feeding on schools of mullet and that is the time to hit them with a popper. Fast retrieves with plenty of splash will result in some exciting strikes. Farther up the lake, some very nice bream are being taken on hard lures in the creeks. Fish around some of the snags and rocky outcrops.
For best results, use polaroid sunnies to check the shallow, gravelly areas, quite often in the centre of the river, where the bream fossick for small crustaceans.
Out to sea, anglers can try a variety of different techniques to satisfy their needs. Jigging is becoming more popular, whether in close around headlands, on the reefs or beyond the shelf.
Anglers in close using soft plastics can expect to catch snapper, flathead, morwong, salmon and rock cod, to name a few. On the wider reefs while using metal jigs or plastics, kingfish, john dory, big tiger flathead and many other oddballs are encountered.
For the real weird stuff, try out over the shelf with big jigs on heavy braid and see what wonders live in the deep – then go to the books and start identifying them!
Reef fishing in general is quite good with most favoured species fishing well. At this time of year large tiger flathead are returning to our waters and the deeper reefs will produce the better fish.
Jackass and blue morwong will feature in bags, as will some very nice snapper. For the best results on snapper, anchor and berley in various depths.
Game fishing is probably at its worst now, with those westerly winds and very cold water not encouraging predatory fish to our area. Berleying may see you encounter blue or mako sharks, with the Twelve Mile Reef and over the shelf the better areas. The benefit of berleying over the reefs is that you can fish the bottom while waiting for the sharks.
Those wishing to brave the conditions and venture far to sea may encounter bluefin tuna. These fish hang around in the cooler water and are sometimes more than an incidental catch. With the big run of bluefin in more southern waters earlier this year, anglers could be expected to encounter these fish more regularly on the east coast.Reads: 1130