As a rule, there are none
  |  First Published: April 2009

As a fishing guide you can only advise clients the best areas to place a lure or bait. Sometimes a cast will go astray or they will put a cast somewhere you would not recommend, often with surprising results.

This brings us to rule number one: There are no rules.

Is there more to be found than just the tried and tested methods? No matter how skilled a person may be, just remember you are never too old or young to learn.

The Bega River is just made for this, especially when it is closed to the ocean. Without tidal movement, fish have to fossick for their food so the obvious areas quite often do not produce.

Often that misplaced or what-the-hell cast to nowhere may give an indication where the fish are feeding.

Generally areas in the mid to upper reaches are a certainty for bream. Some of these areas may only be a few inches deep where the fish graze on morsels like crabs, shrimp, worms and anything else edible.

A well-placed lure or bait will often have the desired result, especially if you can polaroid the area in calm conditions and sight fish.

Logs or fallen trees are obvious fish-holding areas but quite often that is all they are doing, they will not feed. These fish leave the snags to hunt the shallows or patrol under overhanging oaks where insects are likely to drop.

Bream are mainly targeted in this manner while estuary perch, mullet, bass and even flathead will often be regular captures.

One little hint is, if you see a shag in a tree and it flies off as you approach, leaving behind a deposit in the water as it departs, fire a lure or bait in there as quick as possible. These ‘leftovers’ offer plenty of food for small fish and when these fish get bigger, they don’t forget.

Flathead take advantage of these conditions and at present the lower reaches of the river have been producing large fish in areas often unfished.

Sandbars towards the entrance that are usually exposed at low tide are permanently covered with water, allowing the flathead different feeding zones.

This system has plenty of backwaters and with a bit of exploration can encounter very interesting fishing. Remember, observation is the key.


It is school holiday time again with keen young anglers heading to Tathra Wharf in pursuit of the many species that pass there.

Slimy mackerel are the mainstay and at present there are thousands. They also provide plenty of bait for future outings.

Mixed in are yakkas, trevally, garfish and, with a longer cast with heavier lead, flathead can be taken from the bottom.

A variety of pelagics, large and small, often visit the wharf.

Frigate mackerel pass in schools, providing good light tackle spin action, and if you float one out under a balloon anything from sharks to large tuna, kingfish or even a marlin is possible.

The offshore boaties are also getting into the action. Close to shore anglers are casting or trolling up many different light to medium sportfish just off almost any rocky headland.

Farther afield, striped tuna, albacore and yellowfin are increasing in numbers and it looks like being a hot season.

This is also one of the best times for big blue marlin over the canyons east of Tathra. For bottom fishos, there are flathead aplenty with tigers and sandies available, while on the reefs snapper and morwong are increasing in numbers.

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