Fish lured by happy anglers

The rich waters of the Sapphire Coast mean some of the best onshore, inshore and offshore fishing in NSW.

A young angler appripiately named Hunter with a great Blue Eye Trevalla caught off Bermagui in late March. Photo by Fishbermi.com.

A young angler appropriately named Hunter with a great Blue Eye Trevalla caught off Bermagui in late March. Photo by Fishbermi.com.

The area is famous for game fishing thanks to legends like Zane Grey who loved chasing the big fish out of Bermagui, and geological formations like Pulpit Rock in Ben Boyd National Park where record game fish have been landed. From the big pelagic predators like Yellow Fin Tuna to the fickle Estuary Perch, anglers really get into a spin here no matter what the season.

It’s worth doing a bit of research to see which parts of the Sapphire Coast suit your angling preferences and also to see what else is on offer when you aren’t casting a line. Aside from accommodation, entertainment and dining options, each town is a different distance from the continental shelf, has different onshore facilities and different estuary challenges.

At Bermagui you’ll find the lot at your doorstep but you’ll have to accommodate a bar crossing. The bar is deep, but can make for quite a ride when the swell is up. See the bar cam here.  The advantages of Bermagui are that you can hire a canoe, kayak or boat, with or without a guide. The continental shelf is 11 nautical miles from shore and Montague Island, where kingfish like to school, is 15 nautical miles from shore.

In terms of facilities there are two excellent boat launching ramps, plenty of parking and helpful advice from the well stocked tackle stores. After launching turn left for estuary fishing, or right to head out into the bay.

There are plenty of challenges for light tackle either on foot, by kayak or canoe or boat.

There are plenty of challenges for light tackle either on foot, by kayak or canoe or boat.

Tathra is 19 nautical miles from the continental shelf, but has a long reef which starts about 6 nautical miles south of Tathra and about 800 metres from the boat ramp at Kianinny Bay. Kianinny Bay has the benefit of direct open ocean access and some of the best facilities on the coast.

Alternatively estuary anglers can fish the Bega River, which meets the sea at Mogareeka Inlet on the north side of Tathra. This is a beautiful river system offering vast opportunities for lure, bait and fly-fishing.

From Merimbula the continental shelf is a 20 nautical miles from shore and there are plenty of in-shore grounds and reefs to distract you. Two diverse reefs can be found between eight and 15 nautical miles from the boat ramp on Merimbula Lake. Reef peaks are located just 15 to 16 miles east of Merimbula.

The lake itself offers a changing smorgasboard of challenges from lure fishing for flathead, bream and tailor to the fun of surface poppers for whiting. The are known as Top Lake is tidal, meaning there’s good bait for those with nipper pumps and access to the channel on foot at low tide.

Further south at Eden you’ll find the southern hemisphere’s third deepest harbour – Twofold Bay. Given it’s shape, there’s usually a spot to get out of the wind and the Quarantine Bay Boat ramp has the luxury of direct open ocean access.

Fishing from Merimbula Wharf offers the action of reef fishing without the dangers of rock fishing.

Fishing from Merimbula Wharf offers the action of reef fishing without the dangers of rock fishing.

A few nautical miles south you’ll find one of the two kingfish hotspots, Morwarry Point (the other is Montague Island), which can test the angler and the tackle to the limit.

Some of the species you’ll find here include:

Beach fishing Bream, Mullet and Whiting, Salmon, Tailor and Gummy Sharks.

Rock fishing Bunito, Kingfish, Tailor and Salmon, Blackfin and Yellowfin, Black and Silver Drummer, Leatherjacket, Groper, Luderick and Banded Morwong.

Estuary fishing Bream, Dusky Flathead, Jewfish, Whiting, Mullet, Tailor, Estuary Perch, Bass and Luderick.

Reef fishing and bottom fishing Snapper, Morwong, Flathead, Leatherjacket and Gummy Sharks, Kingfish, Sharks and Tuna, Wrasses and Gropers, Sand and Tiger Flathead, gurnard and Gummy Sharks.

Competitions

Charter boats are available at Bermagui (pictured), Tathra, Merimbula and Eden.

Boats are available for charter at Bermagui (pictured), Tathra, Merimbula and Eden.

March: Eden Amateur Fishing Club Competition – $35,000

April: 4-6:Eden Sport and Gamefishing Club Tournament – $10,000 | 35 -26: Merimbula Open.

May: 17 – 19 Bermagui hosts the Canberra Yellowfin Tuna Tournament.

More information about fishing on the Sapphire Coast can be found here, including bar cams, detailed information on boat ramps, charters and more.

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