NSW: Bermagui Offshore Fishing
Port of Call - Bermagui North QLD Australia
Steeped in gamefishing history, Bermagui is still a very popular destination for Australian anglers, especially trailerboat anglers, as Alistair McGlashan reports.
Where Is Bermagui?
Bermagui is a small seaside town tucked away on the far south of Australia’s New South Wales east coast. With an all-weather harbour, a small marina, and two multi-lane concrete boat ramps, it is understandably popular with trailerboat sportsfishers. The town caters well for visiting anglers and has ample accommodation, from caravan parks through to self-contained units, all of which can cater for big trailerboats.
What Is Bermagui Famous For?
Initially it was famous for tuna and in particular the yellowfin, which appeared in record numbers and size. This included the all-tackle 124kg Australian record. However, poor fisheries management has seen tuna stocks plummet to the point where they are now on the verge of commercial extinction in coastal waters. Luckily, the striped marlin boomed after the demise of the tuna.
What Is The History Of Bermagui?
Love him, or hate him, Zane Grey’s visits decades ago certainly helped to turn the international spotlight on this sleepy seaside village. Since those days, when Grey camped on the shores of Horseshoe Bay, the town has continued to produce countless records for billfish, tuna and sharks.
Thanks to the warm tongue of water known as the East Australian Current, there is a wide range of species in the waters off Bermagui, from tropical speedsters to heavyweight southerners. However, of all the species available, the striped marlin is undoubtedly the current king of the region. In fact, these rich waters produce some of the biggest stripes in the country, if not the world. Anglers regularly catch fish of around 100kg and this season there was an amazing number of fish in the 150kg range. The odd monster closer to 200kg is hooked every season. It isn’t just stripes that grow big, the blue marlin, although far less common, are also serious heavyweights and are just shy of the magical 1000lb mark, have all been caught in January. Marlin aside, Montague Island is a real hotspot for the yellowtail kingfish. Unfortunately, as with the tuna, commercial fishing has really knocked the stuffing out of the kingfish population and the days of regular 15 to 20kg hoodlums are gone.
There has, however, been a resurgence of kingfish in the four to 8kg range during the summer and autumn months, which are great fun on light tackle. Live baiting and jigging tend to be the most productive methods, especially early in the morning. The western shore of Montague has been a favourite haunt of kingfish anglers for decades. Another local species of interest is the swordfish. During April, May and June, a smattering of these oceanic gladiators congregate over submarine structure and along temperature breaks when the conditions are right. They aren’t easy to catch but they are certainly there for those willing to put in the hours after dark! Although the huge yellowfin have all but vanished, Bermagui still has a lot to offer, including great launching facilities and an all-weather harbour.