Drought hits fishing
  |  First Published: October 2009

When there is a drought on land there is one in the water, and we desperately need the gods to bring rain.

The areas most affected are the dams, lakes and estuaries, where lack of regular fresh water is depriving these systems the nutrients needed to sustain healthy ecosystems.

ots of our estuaries have been closed to the ocean for some years and the lack of an influx of new salt water, with its fresh fish stocks, has put them in a sad state.

The Bega River has not been as badly affected. Flow is down but fishing is quite good and one species seems to be increasing in numbers.

Estuary perch have always been here but with years of net fishing, numbers were reduced to levels where if you caught one, it was a talking point. Now you can target these fish with consistent results.

The size variation also shows they are coming back strongly and breeding well.

Most other species are also on the chew in the Bega River, with flathead the main target.
ome exceptional fish over 1m have been caught, with most anglers realising a fish like this is too good to catch just once, so they are releasing them.

The upper reaches where the water is warmer are fishing well for bream, bass and mullet. Lure fishing has been popular but when times get tough, go to bait to get some action.


The beaches are producing all sorts of goodies, with salmon the dominant species. Find a good gutter at high tide and you should have action. Bream, whiting and mullet are also responding to a variety of baits.

At Tathra Wharf the summer species are turning up. Slimy mackerel are always a hit for young and old, causing havoc with their frenzied feeding habits.

Yellowtail and silver trevally are also regulars while schools of salmon regularly pass through and there is a chance of a kingfish on a live bait.

These species will also frequent the adjacent rock platforms where anglers can target drummer, luderick, groper and the like while waiting for the pelagic action.

It’s definitely flathead time offshore and just about anywhere you go you are likely to find them.

Out from most beaches, sand flatties can be found in varying depths.
ou can drift using conventional bait methods or cast soft plastics in shallower water, which is becoming very popular.

Wider out there are those lovely tiger flathead and the odd gummy shark and red gurnard.

Nearly all the reefs are mixed bags. Heading south or north from the Kianinny Bay ramp will put you onto some excellent reefs in varying depths for snapper, ocean perch, morwong (rubberlip and jackass) wrasse, jackets and more.

ut over the shelf there are striped, albacore and yellowfin tuna in reasonable numbers, mostly on the troll.
hile you are out there, keep your eyes peeled for an early marlin. Reads: 1655

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