Early feeders
  |  First Published: November 2006

Good early spring rain has filtered into the Bega River and brought with it much needed nutrients and some very hungry fish.

The entrance to the mouth of the river at Tathra opened in spring and allowed fresh stocks of fish to enter the system and land in the boats of anglers. Early warm weather has heated water temperatures and fish are feeding a lot earlier than normal. In the upper reaches where the water is still sweet, the bass fishing has been exceptional. Any relatively deep hole or structure is holding fish with most methods of fishing producing. For entertainment, try flyfishing late afternoon and early morning with cicada imitations underneath the oaks and willows. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Further into the brackish to salt, estuary perch are making a strong comeback in this system since the nets have gone. These fish lurk in a range of habitats including deep holes to shallow weed beds and structure. Once encountered it’s likely you will pull several fish from one area before they wise up. Most other species are also active. Bream are being taken around the Thompson Rock walls, weed beds and Black Fella Lake areas on both lures and bait. Flathead are also plentiful over the shallows towards the mouth and generally throughout the system. Blackfish are in good numbers around the weeded areas and bridge pylons and tailor are being trolled around the rock walls where leather jackets can be taken on bait.

Beach fishing is good in the area with Tathra Beach producing some very nice whiting. Worms are the best baits however don’t be afraid to use nippers on the sand. Bream and mullet are regular catches with some nice tailor showing up after dark. Salmon are abundant on Bournda Beach to the south which should also see some nice gummy sharks and the odd small bronze whaler shark. Tathra Wharf is seeing plenty of silver trevally being taken along with yellow tail mackerel. Salmon schools are passing on a regular basis and long cast out from the northeast corner will catch some sizeable flathead. Closer to the rocks, anglers fishing weed are producing good blackfish and the odd drummer. There are good rock platforms around the area that produce a variety of species. Fishing with prawns or cut fish baits has seen many a good catch of trevally with some excellent leatherjackets, bream and other assorted species.

Out from Kianinny Bay has seen a mixed bag of bottom fish in relatively close. Flathead, morwong and gurnard are here and it’s definitely worth a look. Good schools of tiger flathead are frequenting 60 – 70m and a few gummy sharks have also been taken in the same area recently.

Out from White Rock school-size snapper are a regular catch along with morwong and jackets. Drifting is the preferred method however this is also a great area to anchor and burley. Out wide game fish such as yellowfin, stripies and albacore are making early appearances. There has also been the odd marlin encountered and if you add some burley to the mix you are sure to entice a mako shark. Use plenty of tuna- the fresher the better.

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