EdenFar South Coast, NSW
In far southern NSW, just half an hour’s drive north of the Victorian border, lies a gem of a town that makes a perfect base for all manner of fishing: from chasing bass in freshwater all the way to full-blown bluewater game fishing beyond the edge of the continental shelf.
“In recent years it has been Eden’s abundant yellowtail kingfish stocks that have attracted more serious angling attention than any other species.”
Not many tourists are aware that Eden was actually a contender for the site of Australia’s national capital back in the early 1900s. However, it was eventually decided that a coastal location was prone to naval bombardment and potential invasion. Instead, a sheep paddock south of Yass was selected as our seat of government and the rest is history!
I’m sure modern day Eden would be very different had our founding fathers chosen it as the nation’s capital! Most of us who visit on a regular basis are quietly glad they didn’t.
Surprisingly, Eden still fails to register on the radars of many keen NSW anglers. By contrast, Victorian fishers long ago twigged to the immense angling potential and diversity of these southern waters.
While not often thought of as a prime freshwater fishing destination, Eden is actually well-placed to serve as a base for exploring the Australian bass streams of the NSW far south coast and Victoria’s East Gippsland.
Starting from the north, one of the region’s premier bass fishing hot spots is Brogo Dam, inland from Bermagui, an hour’s drive from Eden. This pretty reservoir has been well stocked with bass over the years and while most of the fish encountered will be modest specimens, enough 40 cm-plus bruisers turn up to keep things interesting.
In addition to Brogo’s stocked fish, the Sapphire Coast is home to many secretive wild bass waters, including the Bega, Yowaka, Towamba, Wonboyn and Merrica Rivers, as well as several more just across the border in Victoria.
When it comes to estuary fishing, this region is blessed. Beginning with Mogareeka Inlet (the lower Bega River) in the north, near Tathra, and extending all the way to vast Mallacoota Inlet over the border in Victoria, there are at least a dozen small to middling systems that produce superb estuary fishing and summertime prawning within an hour or so of Eden
Two of my favourites are Pambula Lake to the north and Wonboyn to the south. Pambula produces excellent numbers of dusky flathead, yellowfin whiting and bream, while the entrance channel (downstream of the lake) turns on exceptional action for pelagic visitors such as Australian salmon, tailor and silver trevally, especially during the autumn and early winter months.
Wonboyn is a true gem of an estuary, and one dear to the hearts of many regulars. Renowned for its dusky flathead, whiting, luderick, tailor, estuary perch and bream, Wonboyn also produces sporadic catches of mulloway or jewfish for those willing to put in the effort.
Eden’s aptly-named Twofold Bay is a popular destination with visiting boat fishers. Drifting over the extensive sand and gravel patches of the Bay with a baited line typically produces good catches of sand flathead, as well as the odd silver trevally, gurnard, small snapper, red spot whiting or gummy shark.
Rocky patches within the Bay hold big six-spine leatherjackets as well as the odd snapper, snook, pike and blue groper, while broken beds of weed, kelp and sand in less than 6 m of water are always worth a try for calamari squid, which can be prolific at times.
Surface feeding schools of salmon, tailor and juvenile kingfish may also be encountered in the Bay, their presence signposted by wheeling flocks of terns, gulls and other seabirds.
Beyond the entrance to Twofold Bay, the sky is the limit in terms of fishing opportunities. These waters are visited seasonally by hordes of tuna (albacore, skipjack, yellowfin, bluefin and bigeye), five species of billfish (striped, black and blue marlin, short-billed spearfish and the mighty broadbill swordfish) and a dozen types of shark, as well as tropical wanderers such as mahi-mahi (dolphin fish) and even wahoo. These ocean-going prizes are all actively targeted by game and sport fishers.
In recent years it has been Eden’s abundant yellowtail kingfish stocks that have attracted more serious angling attention than any other species. From the bomboras off Red Point, at the southern extremity of the Bay, all the way south to Green Cape, schools of kingfish regularly hound hapless baitfish, either on the surface or at depths of up to 60 m.
Metal jigs, surface poppers, stick baits and live or dead offerings of yellowtail, slimy mackerel and squid all produce kingfish at times and each has its day, or even its hour within a given day.
For those who prefer to aim a little lower and catch a feed of fresh seafood, these same offshore waters also produce excellent hauls of snapper, morwong, pigfish, leatherjackets, tiger and sand flathead, trevally, gummy sharks, nannygai, sweep and snook (short-finned pike), to name a few.
Well serviced in terms of modern boat ramps and with the facilities you’d expect from a regional centre of its size, Eden makes a wonderful destination for a long weekend escape or an extended family vacation by the sea… This particular Garden of Eden really is an anglers’ paradise!
- Eden lies on the Princes Highway, 555 km from Melbourne and 485 km from Sydney.
- Eden is also accessible by bus or plane.
- The Sapphire Coast has its own airport at Merimbula with daily REX airline connections.
- CountryLink, VLine and Premier Motor Service all provide regular coach services.
- Local bus services can get you around once you’re there.
- There are numerous car rental companies .