The view from the bridge
  |  First Published: September 2008

Spring is in the air and fish are starting to stir in the estuaries and along the coast – you only have to use your eyes.

Whenever I fish, I try to gain a vantage point from which to sight my quarry before starting the hunt. It might be from the cabin top, flybridge or tower out at sea in pursuit of marlin, from a high rock on a Monaro trout stream or a steep bank over a favourite estuary

At this time of year the bridge across the Bermagui River is one of these vantage points day and night.

At the start of a rising tide you can see blackfish, bream, trevally, whiting and a few other species congregating on the eastern side of the bridge, where they hold for an hour or two and will eventually seize a well-placed nipper or worm.

It can be quite easy to rack up a reasonable score before these fish disperse up the river to feed over the flats, where the fishing becomes more difficult.

You can also be assured the next day this pattern will repeat. You will have simular results at night under the lights on the same rising tide.

Check out any of the other estuaries open to the ocean because the pattern will be repeated there.

Not a lot is happening on the game scene and I don’t expect anything different for another month or two, when the cooler 15° to 16° water is replaced by warmer stuff, hopefully with an early run of yellowfin, striped tuna and albacore with a stray striped marlin.

Game fish might not be on the go now but the offshore reefs definitely are. Snapper are being targeted heavily on the close reefs through to the deep ones just inside the continental shelf.

Soft plastics are popular on the drift or at anchor in conjunction with berley. If the fish are not responding to the plastics you can resort to bait.

Out wider, drifting is your only option but bigger baits attract bigger fish there, including Tassie trumpeter, hapuka, large tiger flathead and plenty of blue and jackass morwong.

At this time of year those tiger flathead start to show in vast numbers from as close as 20m right out to the shelf, where the larger ones usually lurk. They are popular table fish and should run for some months.


The beaches are a little slow until you strike a patch of passing salmon, when things get a bit rushed for a while as you try to make the most out of the school before it passes.

Vantage points on adjacent headlands may allow you to sight these schools and intercept them.

There have been some nice gummy sharks in the deeper gutters with the odd jewfish, while bream and mullet are starting to show more regularly.

In Brogo Dam, the river below it and the upper reaches of the Bega River, bass are starting to move about after spawning. Warmer days may find these fish on the chew although it’s early days and action will only become better as the weather warms.

In conjunction with State Water and the Far South Coast Bass Stocking Association, DPI Fisheries has recently moved some rocks below the dam wall, allowing the bass to move more freely throughout the river.

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