The last month of autumn usually heralds the start of the yellowfin tuna season for which Bermagui is famous.
May is prime time for the tuna with calm conditions allowing anglers to target them in various ways. Floating cube baits in berley trails is the most popular method and hanging a live bait out under a balloon also effective.
A suggestion when using a live bait is to rig it on 250lb mono with a substantial hook because marlin can still be encountered in May. In fact, the best run of marlin for the 2005 season occurred in May on the Twelve Mile Reef. Striped marlin up to 175kg were weighed in and it was not uncommon to witness schools of up to 20 fish working the bait over.
Other species encountered while berleying include albacore, which are great fun on light gear. They will come right up to the boat, allowing anglers to choose a line class.
Mako and other sharks will also appear in trails. Have a good wire trace handy or put a shark bait out under a balloon. If you wish to target sharks then use plenty of striped tuna in the berley. Berley with the cubed flesh and pump the frame through the berley bucket.
With the introduction of deep-water jigging anglers now have another option while drifting in berley trails. Dropping jigs down deep will produce a wide variety of fish and will sometimes bring tuna holding deep to the surface, allowing other methods to come into play.
Snapper are now in good numbers on most reefs around Bermagui with the southern systems more productive. Drifting over the reefs is the most popular method but anchoring and setting up a berley trail is also a very effective way of targeting large snapper.
Setting baits at various depths will cover where the fish are holding, with pilchards, mackerel and striped tuna baits can be used as strips, cubes or whole. If small fish are a problem then use half a slimy and float it back in the trail, where fish up to 7kg will often be taken.
Other popular reef fish are around in good numbers and anglers will end up with some fine mixed bags. Morwong, nannygai, pigfish, ocean perch, large tiger flathead and many more are all on the shortlist. It’s also time to target Tassie trumpeter out on the Twelve Mile Reef.
Closer to shore, the use of soft plastics bounced around bommies and shallow reefs is becoming ever more popular, producing a variety of species from reef dwellers such as snapper to kingfish and small tuna. Bermagui has good structure around its shores, providing plenty of options for this technique.
Most of the estuaries that are open to the ocean are fishing extremely well towards the entrances, mainly because offshore water has been warmer than in the upper reaches of the systems. As the tide rises, the warm water stimulates fish to feed.
Berley will encourage flathead, yellowfin bream, trevally and others to feed more frequently. A cube of striped tuna is the best bait in berley trails, while the frame can be used in the berley bucket.
Start fishing in the channels before the tide begins to rise sufficiently to explore the flats, then berley to the oysters and other structure. While doing this anglers can explore other areas such as weed beds with baits like nippers.
The last of the ebb tide and first of the incoming will produce good luderick around the bridge and the breakwall on cabbage and green weed.
Bream are in good numbers on most beaches and again the use of berley and tuna cubes will secure good bags. Lots of salmon, a few tailor, the odd flathead and gummy sharks have all been encountered recently.
Look for beaches with deep gutters, especially for the sharks, and for bream try anywhere there is good water adjacent to the rocks.
Drummer action off the rocks is now at its best. Late evening or first light is the prime time. Bermagui has some great areas around the main headland and Blue Pool to chase these fish. Baits like abalone gut, cunjevoi and prawns fished in a bread berley will do the job nicely.
Brogo Dam is starting to cool down. Searching with deep-diving and bibless crankbaits is still producing some fish but spinnerbaits are probably the best. Bass in the river systems are starting to congregate in pools prior to moving downstream to spawn and are producing some reasonable fishing.Reads: 596