Tangle with a tiger
  |  First Published: September 2009

When I first moved to Bermagui some 22 years ago you could barter a box of tiger flathead off a trawler for a six pack of beer. Now they are one of the most expensive fish on the market and rightfully so.

With the deregulation of the trawl industry, tiger flathead off Bermagui have never been easier to find and this is great news for us fishos.

Where to find them will vary because these versatile fish will be in shallow water at times (I have even caught them in estuaries) through to moderate or extreme depths.

Around 40m to 60m of water is a good place to start. Average-sized fish will concentrate there, while the really big ones will often be out deeper.

Shallow water is more convenient for anglers, although the introduction of electric reels has made things easier out wide.

Tigers like the fringes of reefs. If you start up on the reef when drifting, other species come into play, like snapper or blue or rubber-lip morwong.

As you drift on to the gravel or mud, jackass morwong appear and so do the tigers. It’s regular to catch a double-header of these two species.

The most popular reefs are the Four Mile and Six Mile almost due east of Bermagui, or south down off Goalen Head.

With a slight north to north-east breeze you can start up around the Four Mile or Six Mile and travel south all the way to Goalen Head. As you do, you will pass over many smaller reef complexes resulting in a smorgasbord of table fish.


This month some tuna, mostly stripes and albacore, start to appear along with the mako sharks that like to feed on them.

The odd yellowfin may show and everyone hopes some of those massive bluefin of June and July return. There may also be some kingfish up around Montague Island but don’t expect too much.

Many salmon schools are patrolling the beaches and are relatively easy to catch. Try walking the beaches with a handful of metal plugs, casting to the deeper gutters.

Bream and whiting are also starting to move along the shallower channels.

The deeper gutters should start to produce gummy sharks or jewfish around the full moon and warmer weather makes it a lot more comfortable at night.


The Bermagui River is warming up and fishing well for most species being. Some very large flathead have been encountered and luderick are hanging around the weed beds, making for some interesting bait fishing. Nippers or squirt worms are the best in shallow water while the more conventional weed baits are working in the deeper sections.

There are also plenty of bream along with whiting, mullet, trevally and occasional flounder. These species love feeding on prawns that flow out on the tide. Fishing around the bridge lights of a night is a sure fire way of encountering these fish feeding on prawns.

Brogo Dam is low but there is good shore-based or canoe fishing.

The Far South Coast Bass Stocking Association will still be holding their bass comp the first full weekend in December, regardless of the water levels. If we are not able to use boats it will become a shore-based comp. For more information call me on 0427 934 688 or email --e-mail address hidden--

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