Walking in: Sapphire Coast secrets

It’s getting harder and harder to find lightly fished waters – especially if you live and fish on Australia’s heavily populated eastern seaboard.

If you do a little digging, though, there is a surprising number of isolated waterways that offer anglers the chance to experience what estuary fishing would have been like before the days of extreme pressure from commercial and recreational anglers.

Surprisingly, some of these hidden gems aren’t that far off the beaten track. In fact, a few are right under anglers’ noses; they’re just not fished because access is limited or they’re bounded by private property.

Some of the best ‘secret’ systems lie on the stretch of coastline between Narooma and Bega, on what’s known as the Sapphire Coast.

If your travels were restricted to the main highway, you’d never even know some of these little creeks, river and lakes existed. They’re hidden behind dense bushland and are often only accessible via goat tracks or private driveways.

Some fishos get into them by launching a kayak or canoe upstream and paddling in – but another great way to experience these magic fisheries is on foot.

First and foremost, I’d never condone walking in over private property. Don’t open gates, jump fences or go anywhere you shouldn’t go. That’s just a recipe for trouble – and you’ll never be invited back, believe me!

Quite often there are ways into these systems on foot via public beaches or walking tracks. It might be a lengthy trek – but the rewards are often worth it.

I’ve fished a few of these Sapphire Coast secrets in recent years by using a bit of local knowledge, and Google Earth, to find sensible and legal ways in.

Take it from me, when you get to wet a line in a deserted estuary that rarely sees a baited hook or lure, you notice the difference. There are no boats, there’s no noise or rubbish and you can fish all day without seeing another angler. It’s like taking a step back in time!

I walked in to a tiny south coast system just the other day and experienced some pretty awesome action. After a bit of a hike and some bush bashing (pre-requisites if you want to fish these unspoilt locales) a mate of mine found a likely looking hole near the mouth of the river.


Walking in means traveling light – one outfit, a small box of lures and a sense of adventure is all you’ll need!

Large schools of mullet and whiting darted over the shallows, small tailor chopped at baitfish on the surface and stingrays glided in front of us, settling occasionally in water barely deep enough to cover their backs. The system was alive!

Within an hour I’d pinned six fat flathead, without moving locations or changing lures. After 90 minutes I had nine lovely fish (and dropped a few more) and decided to call it a day. I could have kept catching them all afternoon – they were going ballistic.

It’s the kind of action I’ve come to expect from these remote pockets of water. Most are barely large enough to rate a mention on the map, and you certainly don’t read about them in guide books or the fishing media. But, almost without exception, they fish much more consistently than the larger, better known lakes and rivers nearby.

So this summer, while the popular systems are copping a flogging, why not pull on a pair of comfy shoes and walk into some of the hard-to-access waterways near you?

You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised with what you find!



What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.