The Bermagui gold rush
  |  First Published: April 2009

A pilgrimage occurs every May as anglers come to Bermagui in search of their golden dream, the mighty yellowfin tuna.

This season is shaping up to be one of the best in years, with even the smaller tunas around in good numbers through the warmer months.

Striped tuna have been the mainstay through the Sumer and when this occurs, the larger tuna will follow.

Already plenty of mid-range albacore are starting to show, along with some good yellowfin.

At present most fish are being taken on the troll, with a variety of lures working. This method allows anglers to target a variety of species, including any late-season marlin still around.

It shouldn’t be long before these fish start responding to berley trails.

Cubing is a popular form of targeting tuna. With motors turned off, drifting on a calm sea is the best way to experience the true beauty of the ocean – until the scream of a reel jerks you back into reality and exactly what you are out there for.

Once hooked up, be prepared – this is where the men are sorted from the boys. Over the years I have seen many a grown man brought to his knees by these great fish, mainly due to lack of fighting technique.

Most anglers believe strength can beat a giant tuna, whereas short, powerful rode strokes ‘leading’ the fish will beat a tuna quicker.


Along with the yellowfin, expect albacore and, in more recent years, big-eye tuna, and you can be sure wherever there are tuna a mako shark will be nearby. Berley heavily with tuna frames if you want a shark.

Snapper are increasing in numbers daily. Most of the reefs have fish, especially those south of Goalen Head. There are plenty of morwong as well as a mixture of other species.

Out around the Twelve Mile Reef you can expect a few Tassie trumpeters and around Montague Island kingies have been in good numbers most of the season, although at times it’s tougher to find larger fish.

Bonito are in good numbers and can easily be taken on the troll and out from nearly all the beaches you’ll find plenty of sand flathead and some lovely gummy sharks, mainly around the moon but possibly at any time.

Red gurnard will also feature in the catch and make excellent table fare.

On the beaches there is fun to be had with abundant salmon on lures or bait. Casting lures will give you the freedom to explore more.

This has been one of the best seasons for whiting on the beaches and in the estuaries. The lakes and rivers are starting to cool down and fish are migrating to sea.

There are good schools of bream in most estuaries towards the entrances and they will respond well to berley on an incoming tide. Trevally, some large mullet, a few duskies and the odd large salmon will keep you on your toes.

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