Surf Fishing on the NSW South Coast

Surf Fishing ...

The following info was provided by our good friends David, Annette, Jason & Sally Thiem, who are also keen surf fishing enthusiasts.


Casting a line into the surf from the beaches of the NSW South Coast is a popular past-time for many anglers. The beaches from Wollongong to Eden hold a vast array of fish from the lovely whiting to monster jewfish but it is mostly the salmon, tailor, bream and flathead that are targeted.

Anyone can catch fish along this glorious coastline with a few simple guidelines.

Here are a few helpful hints to ensure a good feed of fish is caught and the law is followed so you don’t have any problems.

  1. A fishing licence is essential. These are available from good fishing tackle outlets or online to: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

  2. Talk to your local tackle shop and ask them what’s biting, the best bait and where to fish. Also if you don’t know check out fish keeping sizes and the number you’re allowed to keep.

  3. Tackle is important. Off the beach you use longer rods due to the surf and the need to cast distances. For whiting, bream and flathead a light 9-10 foot rod with a spinning reel with 8-12lb (4-6kgs) line is sufficient. Braid is more sensitive but many people still use mono-filiament line. A running ball sinker to suit the swell with size 4 -1 long shank hooks are all that are needed. Baits can be collected on the beach with pipis (cockles) able to be dug at the water line and for those clever enough beach worms can also be sourced off most of the surf beaches. However the tackle shops sell these baits along with peeled prawns also being excellent and readily available.

  4. If you are after larger fish a longer rod, larger reel and heavier

    tackle is necessary. A good twelve foot rod, a spinning reel or Alvey fitted with 20lb line (8-10kg) is an excellent outfit. You can use triple ganged hooks in a 1/0 to 3/0 size with a whole pilchard for bait cast into the surf or you can use single hooks again in the 1/0 to 3/0 size baited with pieces of pilchards. Sinkers vary in size depending on the swell and the rip with 1-3 oz star sinker being the usual. This set up is excellent for salmon and tailor (known as a paternoster rig) but will also sometimes catch flathead and bream as well.


  5. Many people also enjoy casting both soft plastic and/or metal slugs off the beach. A good casting rod is required and you simply walk up and down the beach casting and retrieving waiting for a strike. This form of fishing can be quite rewarding and you cover much of the beach doing this.

  6. Look for ‘gutters’ on the beach where the water is deeper. The deeper colour of the water will show you these holes. Also if the gutter leads out to sea you often find the fish ‘holed up’ in these spots. Often the high tide or an hour either side of high tide also helps as there is more water in these places. Also a high tide coinciding with early morning or just before dark produces more fish especially with the tailor and salmon.


Armed with this information you'll hopefully catch a good feed of fish by surf fishing and enjoy even more the beautiful beaches of the south coast.



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