The eyes have it
  |  First Published: July 2010

In fishing, as in most sports, keen eyesight can be a major factor in attaining success. By keeping your eyes open you may avail yourself of options other anglers may miss.

Seeing from a height is an advantage when looking into water and wherever you can gain height, use it to the fullest.

For example, if you are shore-based, cliffs may allow you to overlook beaches to spot schools of salmon or find the best gutters.

Down below on the rocks you may sight schools of pelagics moving along the headland where you may be able to reach them from the shore.

In recent times, locals in the know around Bermagui watching from the headland for schools of very large kingfish busting up on pilchards before launching their dinghies to get stuck into them with surface poppers or diving lures.

When you are out in boats on the ocean, the higher you can get the better chance you have of sighting game fish. From the flybridge of a cruiser you might see schools of tuna rippling the surface or a cruising marlin, or may spot a fish that come up on your trolled lures but doesn’t strike.

When this happens, working the area over may result in a shy fish returning to the lure pattern. Recently this has resulted in local anglers catching some lovely bluefin, albacore and yellowfin tuna.

Anglers in smaller boats can use seabirds’ height advantages. Look for gannets figure-eighting high in the sky; this often means they are watching bait maybe even 50m deep and where there is bait there are often predators.


Down deep there is plenty of activity for anglers wanting a feed of juicy bottom fish.

Snapper are a Winter specialty. You can target them by anchoring and berleying, jigging with soft plastics or drifting with standard paternoster rigs.

Other reef species at present include morwong, ocean perch, nannygai, pigfish and, in very deep water, blue-eye trevalla and Tassie trumpeter.

Sand flathead are off most beaches with Tilba, Camel Rock, Cuttagee and Murrah best places in 20m to 35m.

A few gummy sharks and red gurnard are in these areas, while out wider the tiger flathead grounds are poised to improve in Spring.

There is enough activity to keep beach anglers interested, with schools of salmon easily spotted cruising the beaches in the middle of the day. Westerly winds will often help a lure travel a little farther into the jaws of a waiting salmon.

The offshore winds make for easier rock fishing for drummer, groper, trevally, wrasse and leatherjackets.

When the shadows of the cliffs creep over the water in the afternoon, the drummer start to fire and bread berley will bring the fish up to floating cunjevoi baits.

In the cold estuary water, using height to your advantage will help you see fish you might normally miss.

The main vantage points for anglers around Bermagui are the northern rock wall upstream from the bridge, the bridge, both sides of the breakwall and the main harbour wharfs.

Species encountered in these places should include luderick, bream, trevally and whiting. A well-placed live nipper could obtain the desired result.

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