The best time of all
  |  First Published: March 2008

The beginning of Autumn is undoubtedly the best time to fish the South Coast, especially at Bermagui.

Estuaries are firing, bass are on the chew in Brogo Dam, the reefs are good, so are the beaches and rocks and the game scene is fantastic.

Bermagui is famous for marlin and now is prime time. Calm Autumn weather, good water temps and plenty of baitfish have the billfish feeding in earnest, putting on body fat for the cooler months ahead.

Schools of slimy mackerel and cowanyoung are concentrated on the Twelve Mile Reef, attracting predatory both fish and anglers. This reef system is only about eight miles slightly south-east of Bermagui, making it a safe, close option.

All three marlin species congregate here, plus the less-encountered spearfish, mahi mahi, occasional yellowfin tuna and a host of shark species.

Most techniques will work on marlin at this time of year so it pays to be versatile. Live baits may work one day where as lures will produce better the next or, my favoured method, switch-baiting, will add more excitement to the hunt.

There are other offshore options with kingfish providing active around Montague Island with some lovely bonito mixed in. Again with the kingies, you may have to try a few methods like jigging, live bait or strips of squid or slimy mackerel to find the flavour of the day.


The reef action is excellent. The popular Four, Six and Twelve Mile reef systems are producing a host of species with snapper, tiger flathead, trumpeter and morwong all encountered.

The pick of the areas is down south, out from Goalen Head, where you can fish in a few metres or in 30 fathoms-plus, all starting less than a mile offshore. Goalen offers anglers the chance to experiment with different methods from anchoring and berleying (this produces very large snapper) through to increasingly popular jigging with plastics.

Along our coast there are many accessible rock platforms for those chasing the many smaller (and not so small ) pelagics like frigate mackerel, bonito, mackerel tuna and the occasional larger yellowfin.

Casting high-speed lures from the stones is again becoming popular with all these species obtainable plus more common salmon, tailor and kingfish.

Live-baiting produces, usually on a larger scale, with marlin, sharks and tuna possible. While you’re waiting for the big bite, try some bait fishing down deeper for a host of hard-pulling rock dwellers.

So you like prawning! Wallaga Lake, just north of Bermagui, has plenty of very large ones and the first week in March is the lead-up to the dark so things could not be better.

Because of all the prawns in the estuaries, fish are fired up as they put on condition for the cooler months ahead. Most of our systems are producing excellent bream and flathead with most forms of angling working well.

Most other species are also on the chew with some very nice whiting and plenty of blackfish for the traditionalists.

In the sweetwater of Brogo Dam, black crickets are the flavour, providing very exciting surface activity.

Whether you use these insects for bait or prefer artificial flies or lures, this is a great time to hit the dam with early mornings or late evenings when the barometer is up providing the best action.

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