FISHING in Eurobodalla is a must, even if you aren't a regular angler.
The Eurobodalla has some of the most stunning foreshores estuaries and lakes you might find anywhere in Australia. No matter what the season there are plenty of fishing options on our coast. The primary estuary based fishing grounds in South East NSW extend from just north of Batemans Bay to just south of Narooma and with locations like Tuross Lake being classified as a fishing haven for anglers it is evident that this coastline is an anglers paradise.
What works along the coast in general are nippers and worms for whiting, flathead and bream.
Eurobodalla means “Land of Many Waters” in the local Brinja Yuin dialect and with the bounty of rivers, lakes and creeks there is a little corner for everyone to try their hand at fishing.
The recreational fishing industry is extremely valuable to our local coastal and inland communities and generates about $300 million of economic activity into the South Coast economy each year.
Starting in the north:
Durras Lake is a shallow estuary however for anyone willing to give it a try it will provide good catches of flathead and whiting around its sand flats. Hop into a kayak or canoe and your chances improve mid lake. The "trouties" have been a strong influence over recent years and Durras Lake is a mecca for surface-lure enthusiasts enjoying good results with flat head and whiting over the summer months.
Much like Tuross Lake each season sees the capture of the "crocodiles" in the form of flathead females around the 90cm mark. Remember that these girls are breeders so catch and release with respect and care.
The Clyde River
The Clyde River is a mecca for holiday anglers over summer. The Clyde river begins in the pristine forests of the hinterland to ply it's course to the sea, a distance of more than one hundred kilometres. From Shallow Crossing the river becomes deep and wide and being tidal offers a wide variety of locations to fish from the banks. There is a strong tidal flow so be aware of the tides if venturing onto the river to fish.
Most anglers fish the river between the two highway bridges at Nelligen and Batemans Bay. Primarily flathead, bream and tailor are the drawcard and can be caught n soft plastic lures and fresh and live bait. The Clyde is also the home of monster mulloway.
You need to be aware that the Clyde is also part of the Batemans Marine Park. This Marine Park is approximately 850 km2, extending from the three-nautical-mile offshore limit of NSW waters to the mean high water mark within all rivers, estuaries, bays, lagoons, inlets, and saline and brackish coastal lakes and in the Clyde River includes offshore islands including the Tollgate Islands.
The best way to familiarise yourself with what you can and can't do in the Batemans Marine Park is to read the excellent information sheet at THIS LINK
NOTE: When fishing in NSW waters, both freshwater and saltwater, you are required by law to pay the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee.
All money raised by the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee is placed into the Recreational Fishing Trusts and spent on a wide range of salt and fresh water projects that directly benefit the recreational fishing sector. Fishing licences can be bought from participating news agencies, petrol stations and fishing shops
The Moruya River
The Moruya River is often overlooked by anglers attracted the the reputations of the Clyde River or Tuross Lakes however there are good catches to be had between the sea and the highway bridge which are fertile grounds for bream and flathead. Plastics will work with the flathead and surface lures over the grass beds are fairly effective with the bream and whiting. West of the bridge you will find estuary perch and bass. Try the tip of the Yarragee reserve just out of town.
The Moruya River has a lot of shore-based locations to work from. Down near the river mouth there is a breakwall on both the northern and southern sides that is high enough to remain safe from most seas. Keep an eye out for tailor, salmon, bream and flathead.
The newly restored wharf near the historic quarry on the northern side of the Moruya River is a great fishing platform for bream, flathead and tailor. So is Preddys Wharf on the opposite shore at Moruya South Head.
Tuross Lake is the gem of the fishing South Coast. Commercial fishing was banned in the 1980’s with dramatic results that has Tuross gaining a reputation as one of the fishiest estuaries in the NSW.
Recently declared a Trophy zone there is a local exception to the 80cm flathead rule with only up to 70cm fish being allowed to be taken. Locals who fish in Tuross are often catching “crocodile” flathead in the order of 90cm and bigger. If you do catch one of these matrons please catch and release as carefully as you can.
Flathead are the main drawcard of the lake however it is also a great fishery for bream, whiting, and mulloway have thrived in Tuross. Live poddy mullet are very effective as a bait in Tuross but you give soft plastics a go with good results. Big whiting stay towards the mouth of Tuross River. Back in The Bosom around the oyster racks you’ll find good sized bream. Further upstream around the Tuross Bridge and up into Snake Flat off Bumbo Road you’ll find stunning scenery and bass. Click HERE for our Tuross Head Fishing Guide
Don’t forget Coila Lake while you are in the area. Over summer it is a family tradition to take the family down on a dark and return home with 10 litres of famous Coila Prawns. The lake is also full of bream.
The waters around Narooma are productive year-round with the estuary offering bream, flathead and leatherjacket, and the ocean reefs providing snapper, morwong, wrasse, trevally, and kingfish. Game fishing from Narooma is internationally renowned with yellowfin tuna, albacore, and striped and black Marlin found closer to the continental shelf.
Wagonga Inlet is the oldest recreational fishing precinct on the South Coast and as a result it isn’t at all surprising that it has the reputation of being a favoured location for to find monster flathead, big bream, fat whiting and delicious mulloway. The Wagonga flathead “crocodiles” are up there with those in Tuross Lake. These breeding fish are very important to future stocks so please do the right thing – take a quick photo and let the matrons go. There are plenty of other fish if you’re after a feed.
Wagonga Inlet is also a favourite with small boat fishermen. Once you’re on the water your choice of fishing spots is unlimited. Anywhere along the edge of the shallow water will result in a good catch of Bream, Snapper, Flathead, Taylor, and Trevally.
Large soft plastic lures work well for these fish however don’t be surprised if you catch a mulloway instead as they work the same waters.
For whiting, flathead and leather jackets head to the sand flats and channels between the lake and the entrance and try your hand with fresh nippers. The Mill Bay boardwalk is a readily accessible spot with a great view as well. The oyster racks at the back of the Inlet, like Tuross are where you will find the bream. Shore-based anglers can stroll along the “Boardwalk”, which boasts purpose built fishing platforms. Just be aware of limits and that this is part of the Batemans Marine Park.
Beach Fishing and of coastal outcrops along the ocean front are very popular locations for salmon as there is a "salmon highway" that runs parallel to the coast. Salmon are a very popular fish to go after as they give a good fight and they are also quite catchable when they are biting where you will find yourself pulling in one after another. A
A lot depends on the presence of gutters and whitewater. Try to have both coincide.
Bream and whiting go for live beach worms and pipis as preferred baits on lighter outfits. Salmon and tailor are caught on rigs with pilchards or blue bait. Try casting into the outer wash zones at dawn with whole ganged pilchards.
Blackfish and drummer population are caught with fresh cabbage and cunjevoi as the best baits.
As to where you find these - you will have to befriend a local to find out as these fish are much loved in south coast frying pans with a knob of butter.
Game fishing in Eurobodalla waters is legendary and have been a drawcard for international greats such as Zane Grey. Talking of Batemans Bay as he settled into camp ready to go in search of marlin and swordfish he said "This camp proved to be the most beautiful and satisfactory of all the hundreds, of camps I have had in different countries."
Off the Eurobodalla coast yellowfin tuna come on around 60kg and there are countless albacore of around 20kg to be caught if you can access the continental shelf and beyond as well as the northern end of Montague Island for kingfish with the south western side a good spot for bonitos.
Most fish are taken trolling however a lot depends on water temperature, current and bait.
If you prefer bottom-bouncing then there are inshore grounds at a depth of 30m to 40m to give you good results along with prospects of snapper.
The best way to gain access to these locations with the local knowledge to translate into a great day out that actually brings home dinner as well is to contact one of the many fish charter companies that work and know these waters.