Sneak a peek at the shelf
  |  First Published: July 2009

I have said before that August is the worst month to fish Bermagui – cold water, westerly winds and rough seas are the norm, but when you do get a break in conditions is it worth having a look to see if the tuna have gone for the season.

June saw a good run of yellowfin and albacore. They were late this season so it may well be worth a look out over the continental shelf this month when conditions allow.

Apart from these species, there is a strong possibility that southern bluefin tuna may be out there. If you find one, you’re likely to find many.

Trolling with a variety of surface and diving lures will be the best option. When setting a pattern of these lures, try hanging a bibless way out the back, it often brings that shy fish into play and others will often follow.

The kingies at Montague Island were excellent in June and there were some monsters. These fish may well occur in August providing the currents run south and the baitfish are around.

Tiger flathead are starting to show. Although not in large numbers yet, there are enough to make it worthwhile going to sea.

The usual areas like the edge of the Four Mile and Six Mile reefs are probably the best with The Step (out from Tilba) also having its share.

You are also likely to encounter plenty of sand flathead closer to shore off the beaches, where conditions are likely to be much calmer. In these calm conditions boaties can go relatively close to shore, where all different styles of angling can be tried.

They can troll for pelagics, salmon most likely or an odd kingfish. When a school of salmon is encountered, start casting to increase the fun.

Using bait or soft plastics with light spin tackle in only a few metres of water around structure is a lot of fun.

The species found here are to numerous to mention although the favourites are snapper, flathead, trevally and morwong.

Some inshore anglers are taking out red crabs to target groper and some fish have been exceptionally large.

Out on the wider reefs, snapper and morwong are the mainstays with a few perch thrown in. Don’t expect heaps but it will improve from here on in.


There are some good gutters along the beaches which are attracting plenty of salmon which can be taken on baits or lures. There are some nice tailor mixed in.

Closer to shore, bream and mullet are responding well to berley and gummy sharks can be taken at night around the full moon.

The estuaries are extremely quiet but the Bermagui bridge offers a good vantage point from which to polaroid schools of bream, whiting, trevally and plenty of blackfish as they move in with the first of the rising tide.

They will regularly take nippers or squirt worms early on when the tide flows but the fun may last only a short time and may vary from day to day.

Blackfish will respond to weed under floats near the boat ramp at the bridge, along the rock walls or bridge pylons towards the latter end of the falling tide.

If those tuna are still around, any offal thrown in the harbour around the main boat ramp will attract fish looking for an easy meal. Use tuna on short mono traces to keep your bait on the bottom away from the small fish.

Bream, trevally, luderick, tailor and the occasional flathead will be the more common species, while those big black bull rays may often suck up a bait, resulting in some spectacular bust-offs.

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