“If I only fished to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.

I need this wild life, this freedom.” - Zane Grey.


Few places on the New South Wales coast are better for fishing than Bermagui. It is renowned for its deep sea and game fishing, particularly yellow fin tuna and marlin, and also its estuary fishing in the surrounding rivers and lakes.

The famous American author of westerns, Zane Grey, helped establish game fishing in Bermagui in 1936. Back then, his methods and tackle were unknown to most Australian anglers. For instance, he invented the teaser, a hookless bait that is still used today to attract fish.

Zane Grey was the patron of the Bermagui Sport Fishing Association in 1936/37 and anchored his yacht, Avalon, in Horseshoe Bay. He wrote about his experiences at Bermagui in his 1937 book, ‘An American Angler in Australia’.

In 1936, he caught a 460kg tiger shark which was the largest fish in the world at that time to have been captured using a rod and reel. In the same year, he caught the first yellowfin tuna ever found on the south coast. It weighed about 40kg.

Today, the fishing is still as good as ever and the area’s experts are even better. The Bermagui Beach Hotel has three of them here to help you. You can tap in to their local knowledge to find out things like where the fish are running when as well as what bait to use and other ‘need to know’ information.


Alistair Drew


G’day all, I’m Alistair Drew currently a contributor to Modern Fishing Magazine and a local who has fished this area my whole life- So hopefully I can give you a few pointers to catch some fish if you’re e visiting Bermagui! My specialty is Estuary fishing and the Bermagui area has plenty of great spots on offer to pin some quality fish.

The Bermagui inlet itself is home to many of the estuary species found on the far south coast. Flathead, Bream and trevally are your most likely and popular encounters within this system and all can be easily targeted by foot- no boat needed! Walking along sandbars casting into the channel gives you a great chance of finding any of the three species of interest + many more such as mullet, flounder, luderick, tailor, salmon and the occasional estuary perch. In fact targeting the channel anywhere you can in the system will often be your best bet. The wharfs provide a great structure for bream and trevally and are an easy, convenient place to take the kids for a bit of fun, Flathead on the other hand are more likely to be found in sandy areas especially with some steep drop-offs and surrounding weed beds- Polarized sunglasses dramatically help spot these features! If you’re lucky you may find yourself attached to a fish of a lifetime as flathead up to the magical metre mark are known to inhabit Bermagui inlet.

There are many small rivers and lakes a short drive south of Bermagui, all of which are productive systems- they also make for a good day out to see the local landscape and wilderness! The closest system just 5-10 minutes south is Murrah river- a personal favourite. You can walk east towards the ocean where you will find man-made wooden structures that provide good cover for plenty of solid bream. Cast close to these for a shot of some of the biggest bream the south coast has to offer! Walk a little further and the river will open up into a deeper hole with a rock wall running along it. Me and my mate have had days in this hole where we have caught 50+ flathead, some of which were thumpers! Alternatively you can walk west where the water turns brackish (slightly fresh). About 1km in this direction you will find a large hole where bass, estuary perch and bream are commonly caught.

Techniques: - Soft Plastic lures are becoming increasingly popular and with good reason, they’re a very effective and fun way to catch your target species. If you’re a beginner I would recommend targeting flathead first. Target areas previously mentioned and you’re in for a great chance. Make sure you’re lure is on the bottom- you can determine this by watching your line and waiting for it to go slack, this is when your lure has hit the bottom. Give your rod a few sharp flicks then repeat the process. For bream on the other hand you will need to find more structured areas, pylons, oyster racks, rock walls and timber are great places to start. Make sure you cast your lure as close as possible to these features for the best chance of enticing a strike. This method will often see you attached to the other species I have mentioned.

Good luck and be sure to know your size and quantity restrictions.

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