Bega flatties big and hungry
  |  First Published: April 2009

With the Bega River remaining closed to the ocean, a lot of these landlocked fish have become very large and especially hungry.

This system is also closed to commercial fishing, which has allowed the fish stocks to multiply and grow. Nowadays most large fish are released by recreational anglers, which means there are more trophy fish out there.

Flathead to a metre long are becoming a common occurrence that merely raises an eyebrow, but some of the 1.3m-plus models will, with an unconfirmed 1.5m flattie the best this season. (A 1.5m flattie? Let’s see the pics! – Editor)

Most of these fish are being taken on lures through the whole system, although lately the lower sections are producing better as the fish get the urge to migrate.

Jewies are another fish to prosper in these conditions and are now a regular catch around the bridge, adjacent rocky shore and the rock walls up around Thompsons.

Again, most are being taken on lures although there are plenty partial to a live mullet or fresh strip of tailor.

One of biggest beneficiaries of what has happened to this system have to be the estuary perch. These fish have bred in good numbers since the nets left, providing one of the best fisheries for this species along the coast.

Lure fishing is good for EPs although if you want some exciting fun, try drifting an unweighted live prawn around some structure and hang on.

There are plenty of bream around the bridge along with some nice blackfish, whiting over the flats, tailor smashing baitfish on the surface and bass in the brackish reaches.

Around Tathra fish are migrating, providing good beach fishing.

Those fishing adjacent to the rocks quite often will encounter a variety of species. Beach worms and nippers are likely to produce whiting, mullet, bream or drummer, great fun in relatively shallow water on light tackle.

More common beach tactics will produce plenty of salmon, nice tailor, the odd jewfish and gummy sharks on the moon. Pilchards or strip baits will account for most fish but to enhance your chances, berley with plenty of oily fish like tuna or slimy mackerel.

The Tathra Wharf is always popular and garfish are in good numbers and easily berleyed up.

Slimy mackerel are prolific providing plenty of entertainment for young and old , while yellowtail and trevally add to the catch and you can be sure predators are not far behind. Expect tuna, kingfish, sharks, bonito and salmon.

When it gets dark, start thinking of golden calamari rings – squid often show up in good numbers and are easily caught on a jig.


Snapper have showed on most reefs and are of good size. Lures are working well on the reds nearer to shore, while bait is best in deeper water, where you are likely to encounter plenty of morwong, ocean perch and, as you drift off the reef, tiger flathead.

Closer to the beaches sand flathead abound, providing many a tasty meal and often gummy sharks will be a by-catch.

Plenty of yellowfin are being taken out wide towards the continental shelf on trolled lures, cubes or live baits in berley trails, along with albacore and mako sharks.

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