Light-tackle fun off the coast
  |  First Published: March 2008

Although known for its productive table fish, Tathra has more to offer in the form of small pelagic and light tackle game fishing.

Hosts of small sport fish hug the coast, all within reach of small boats or shore-based anglers, and large game fish are only a short distance further offshore.

It is quite possible to rack up several species by hugging the coast or doing some rockhopping. These include small tuna such as stripies, bonito, mack and frigate mackerel along with kingfish, salmon and tailor.

Underneath these you can find mid-water fish like snapper or trevally which are willing to pounce on an artificial jigged down deep.

If you are shore-based the Tathra Wharf is a good starting point. You need to be early to avoid crowds but lures and live baits produce the goods. Between the wharf and Kianinny Bay boat ramp are many good rock platforms with predators regularly patrolling in search of small bait fish.

If surface action is quiet from the rocks the area is famous for its drummer and groper.

Having a boat gives you more scope to go farther afield. Once you leave Kianinny ramp there are many headlands where trolling allows you to cover more water to find where fish are concentrated, which will often be around bait schools.

Anglers then have several options: Whether to stay on the troll or try jigs, lures or bait. The boat also allows you to go farther afield if things are quiet in close.

Autumn is a great time for billfish with the warm currents bringing black and striped marlin close to shore following the bait schools. Keep an eye out for this bait and there is often a predator in the area.

You then can match the hatch with bait or go to lures.

Those fine table fish are on offer for anyone wishing to target the bottom. Snapper have been in good numbers off Goalen Head and south to White Rock with some mid-range kingfish mixed in.

Flathead are also on the chew with plenty of sandies out from most beaches and tigers out in the deeper water, where there are also some nice gummy sharks.

The beaches are also worth a look for plenty of salmon, whiting, bream and the odd jewfish.


Most of the estuaries are firing particularly well and this is a great time to cash in using whichever style of fishing you like.

The Bega River is fishing very well with lures and bait for some excellent bream and flathead, while up in the brackish to fresh sections bass and estuary perch are active.

Up north, Wapengo Lake is having a great season with most species available. Drifting with baits or casting plastics will produce plenty of flathead and the odd flounder.

Over the flats, bream are on the prowl while in the channels at low tide most species will get into the act. Berleying with striped tuna is a favourite way of finding fish.

Check down towards the entrance at high tide because salmon schools often take shelter here.

If you like oysters try purchasing some from the farmers at Wapengo – I can assure you, they’re the best in the country.

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