Boating destination: Eden, NSW

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Never been to Eden? There are plenty of good reasons why this scenic fishing destination was selected to host Australia’s Greatest Boats 2016.

Eden is a popular fishing destination, there is no denying that. Currents run deep from offshore toward the mainland, bringing with them nutrient rich waters. These same waters attract baitfish and for the adventurous fisho, their predators. It is as much for this reason as it is for the stunning scenery that we selected this location to host Australia’s Greatest Boats 2016 check out our full report).

 

Fishing in Eden

Fishing in Eden NSW

It’s not uncommon to find mako sharks, one of the hardest fighting fish in the sea, and a host of pelagic species, most notably yellowfin and southern bluefin tuna. Also, record marlin like Len Vollebargt’s 284kg blue caught in 2012 can be found during their migration season.

Most catches take place around the Shelf, some 19nm from Towfold Bay, in depths around 50-70 fathoms.

This year’s marlin run was widely regarded as one of the best in recent years and predictions remain favourable for the coming season.

January through to late March fishes best for marlin, while tuna arrive mid-season and can linger – like this year – with good catches being had as late as July.

Flathead, snapper, jewfish, bonito, Australian salmon and many other species can be found inside Twofold Bay and in sheltered waters up and down the immediate coast.

During our site visit, we took particular note of Towamba River (tributary to the bay) which looked decidedly fishy and offered a lot of shelter and exploration opportunities for land-based fishing. The area is accessible by land via Boydtown and by trailerboat, but the entrance is sand-based, so reasonable care in your approach is advised. However, it appears to be more than capable of taking large trailerboats without issue.

Kingfish can be found around Mowarry, about 10min south of Eden and a little further south at Greencape. Local top bloke and mad keen fisho Felix told us October should fish well for kinigies, so we hope to find out for ourselves at Trade-a-Boat’s Australia’s Greatest Boats (AGB) contest this year.

 

Ramps and boat launch facilities in Eden

Boat jetty in Eden NSW

The best facility in Eden for trailerboats is the modern four lane ramp at Quarantine Bay. Fish tables, a washdown bay and gantry are all well maintained and free to use year round. Car and trailer parking is not an issue, with plenty of space around the road heading to the ramp.

There are a number of private moorings nearby and with a sandy bottom, anchoring is not an issue. Short term use of the floating pontoon is allowed and there is an older, but still solid, small loading pier. The area is well sheltered and calm courtesy of a short breakwater.

For ocean travellers, Snug Cove in the commercial port area of Eden has long term options and is handy to local shops, fuel, water, chandleries and engineering services.

A number of commercial trawlers still operate from the cove, so calling the friendly harbour master is advised if you are unsure of the layout and places to pull up.

 

Boating in Wonboyn

Inland, the always serene Wonboyn offers different but still varied opportunities for fishing. It’s a rare  paradise for nature lovers and and dedicated light gear fishos alike.

Options of sand, rocks and piers give endless options for shelter or ‘romantic’ sunset fishing. Bream can be found chasing mullet, garfish and other bait species in the shallows and flathead everywhere. Getting a decent feed for the family is always possible.

Although open to the ocean through Disaster Bay, this ‘lake’ is best accessed by ramp. The best option is on Nadgee Road and is capable of launching large trailerboats. Once on the water, keep an eye out for oyster beds. On the plus-side, the local town offers fresh oysters by the sackful.

 

Fishing tournaments in Eden

There are two major fishing clubs in the area that specialise and run tournaments. The Eden Amateur Fishing Club holds an annual week-long comp that attracts around 800 entrants.

Family-focussed and well supported by the community, prizes total $40,000. The next instalment runs March 5-12 and it’s recommended you book accommodation in advance, as popularity with out-of-town anglers is high.

The Eden Sport and Game Fishing Club also hosts an invitational game tournament, typically right on the back of the Eden Amateur Club’s contest.

Focussed on boat teams targeting pelagics, this tournament runs three days and offers up decent rewards for successful boats and anglers. The event, running March 18-20 has $10,000 on offer along with the all-important bragging rights. Typically pulling around 50 boats, camaraderie at the local clubs and around town is a highlight of this well-run tournament.

Should you not want to bring your own boat to Eden, there are a number of charter options in and around town. In high demand during tournaments, bookings are recommended. See the locals at the Visitors Centre for details.

 

Whale watching in Eden

Whale watching in Eden

With its close proximity to feeding grounds for various whale species and its naturally deep harbour, whale sightings can be made from shore around Green Cape. The excellent Killer Whale Museum still actively utilises their whale sighting bell. No longer to signal the hunting boats that their quarry is nearby, instead it rings to alert those in town that whales can be seen near the harbour. Peak sighting season runs August to November culminating in the Eden Whale Festival, held this year October 31-November 1.

For the full whale experience, a trip aboard Cruise Cat Balou is recommended. The team are expert whale spotters running a modern, 16m purpose-built catamaran that is both stable and comfortable at sea. Cruise Cat Balou runs a variety of cruises depending on the time of year and recent sightings. Outside of peak whale watching season, the team operate wilderness cruises, offering opportunities to spot albatross, seals, penguins, dolphins and more. See the breakout box for contact details.

 

What to do in town

Killer whale skull

Prevailing winds during winter are south-south-east so the northern side of bays and headlands are most sheltered.

There is an active Navy rearmament dock inside the bay, between the headland and Towamba River. Here, exclusion zones must be adhered to, but any Navy boats in residence will fly flags indicating a 600m exclusion and no wake rules apply. Don’t risk being cannoned!

During spring and summer, winds often blow from the east and west. These are harder to hide from but options exist all around the area. Should the winds be too much for you and your crew, land-based opportunities in Eden are wide and varied.

Most focus on the marine heritage of the region, and its once-thriving whaling fleet. Your first stop must be the Killer Whale Museum. Here you will find the history of our relationship with the mightiest of sea going creatures including a history of indigenous encounters before European settlement, plus the 100 years of active whaling that once ran from Eden.

Old Tom in particular captivates, with legend saying he actively helped the wooden boat-based whalers find and harvest other species of whale. The museum was built to preserve his legend in 1938 and its art-deco design stands out proudly amid the hills.

Boyd’s Tower, on the southern headland, was built as a lighthouse but never lit due to technical issues in its design. Used as a whale spotting station thereafter, it is a popular place for visitors to get a feel of the bay and to spot whales from. It can be reached by car and can be seen well from the water, above the red, iron-rich rocks of the southern headland.

Boyd's tower in Eden

Eden has a thriving B&B industry as well as popular holiday parks, and even a four-star hotel. Of the six holiday parks in the region, Sapphire Sun Eco Lodge, throwing distance from Quarantine Bay, is a popular choice for trailerboat owners with an enthusiastic staff keen to share spot-X and regale tales of fish caught and lost. Their enthusiasm has translated into a park that gladly welcomes trailerboats, even to the point of a dedicated washdown bay and parking right beside the cabins.

The beachfront is a popular place for surf casting and with barbecues nearby we can see ourselves on night watch, baits out, watching for the telltale movement of glow sticks on rod tips.

The team have plans to drop moorings off the sheltered sandy beach for power and sail visitors too. Should you be travelling light, tent sites, powered and non-powered plots are all available, too.

 

How to get to Eden

Kayaking at Snug Cove in Eden NSW

How to get to EdenEden is around three hours drive from Canberra and around six hours drive from both Sydney and Melbourne – right in the middle!

Merimbula – 30 minutes’ drive north of Eden – operates an airport with regular Rex Regional flights to and from Sydney and Melbourne. The airport also has rental cars available.

 

CMLOGO

 

Important contact information for Eden

Steve Starling's comprehensive guide to fishing in Eden

Starlo's Eden fishing guide

Download Eden (what species to catch, best time of year, etc.)

 

Eden Visitors Centre

Phone 02 6496 1953

Web visiteden.com.au

 

Eden Fishing Club

Web edenfishingclub.org

 

Eden Game Fishing Club

Web edengamefishingclub.com

 

Cruise the Cat Balou

Phone 0427 962027

Web catbalou.com.au

 

Eden Killer Whale Museum

184 Imlay St, Eden

Phone 02 6496 2094

Web killerwhalemuseum.com.au

 

Sapphire Sun Holiday Village

441 Princes Hwy, Eden

Phone 02 6171 3338

Web Sapphire Sun Holiday Village

 

Marine Rescue Eden

VHF Ch 16

27Mhz Ch 88

Phone 0400 814 274

 

Eden Harbour Master

Port of Eden Main Jetty

Phone 02 6496 1719

Web edenport.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #469, on sale September 3, 2015. Why not subscribe today?

 


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