Southern Fishing: beating holiday crowds

The NSW South Coast is home to some of Australia’s most notable fisheries such as the Tuross, Moruya and Clyde river systems.

Since the implementation of the Bateman’s Marine Park came into effect, several of the traditional, well-worn fishing destinations are now strictly ‘off limits’.

However for the more adventurous among us, numerous creek and lake offshoots branch away from these bothered waterways.

Offering superb angling opportunities while distancing themselves from the local populace, these tributaries are just begging to be explored.

From picturesque Durras in the north, down to the distant Wonboyn in the far south, scores of unique settings lie along and in-between.

Many of these are major tourism draw cards and obtain a heavy angler presence year round, and for good reason too.

Being less visited, the other river entities tend to run through and along various National Parks and shires, literally declaring themselves lonely recreational fishing sanctuaries.

Some are still commercially fished, some are rarely beleaguered but most will agree the Marine Parks up and down the east coast of NSW are forcing the intrepid anglers to venture outside the box and start fishing the cardboard.

Admittedly, these areas can be a little hit and miss when water temperatures are at their coldest in winter.

Come spring and the warmer months of summer, the heat creates a haven for breeding and feeding with Bream, Whiting and Flathead moving in to complete their lifecycle. Unfortunately all this hotspot activity often coincides with holiday periods.

As anglers sometimes we have to compromise with chosen family holiday destinations. We can't always be smacking dream species, that's what the rest of the year was for.

With the impending Christmas break looming and a little family time planned it just might be time to start exploring further afield.

With population comes pressure so if you prefer the power of a paddle and have room to move try exploring the upper reaches of a system. Many lakes and rivers on the South Coast become trivial drawn out waterways with plenty of estuarine activity.

Typical features include drowned timber, ubiquitous snags and draining creeks, all which tend to concentrate conventional food flows before emptying into deeper water.

Fish such as Southern Black Bream and the illustrious Estuary Perch love the channelling effect and often use these structured features to ambush prey. Keep your wits about you though, while these fish may seem predictable they still tend to wander throughout the elongated system so searching is key.

However, if you are on holiday with rug rats and partners in tow exploring might not always be an option.

Introduce a little foresight however and a minimal approach to a great day on the water can still be had.

With Whiting marauding sand flats and boat ramps at capacity walking the flats with nothing more than a handful of surface lures (or servo Prawns) and a shoulder bag is a worthy option, especially when it's a stone's throw from the holiday house.

Wading is one of those angling traits you tend to heckle as you motor by but one should always employ a grass roots approach every now and then, you will surprised how stealthy you become.

Get away for quick stroll on a rising tide and Whiting, Bream, Blackfish and Flathead are well within your reach.

Fishing during holiday periods is more than just ramp rage and commitment tussles.

The influx of waterway users is just as annoying for locals as it is for tourists.

Tourism on the other hand benefits enormously. Whichever way you look at it they still all go hand in hand.

Visit the local tackle store, spend some money, buy a fishing magazine, the paper and a morning coffee. Smile lots, go for a drive, enjoy the wind in your hair, explore some maps, fire up Google earth and try something new.

They say a bad days fishing is better than a good day working. That must mean a great days fishing is better than a full year slaving. All this talk of work has me wondering…

Should you work the water or should the water work for you?

Derek 'Paffoh' Steele


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