Rewards in the estuaries
  |  First Published: December 2008

The estuaries around the Narooma have been firing of lately and not even the increased boat traffic that December brings should alter that.

Tuross lake, just north of Narooma, has been the stand-out with all likely species available using a variety of techniques.

Flathead numbers are increasing with the lower sections of the main lake and the Tuross River producing plenty of fish. Most are 40cm to 50cm long with the odd fish pushing 90cm.

Anglers fishing soft plastics have fared best with the bigger flatties responding to larger shad-style lures. There have been a few good fish caught on live poddy mullet, but getting the live bait seems harder than catching the fish at the moment.

Bream anglers have done well also, with bait and artificials producing.

A lot of the bream are over the shallower weed/sand banks that litter the front of the system.

Using poppers this month will also work and expect a few whiting as well. These speedsters have been good lately, especially in the afternoons with a bit of chop on the water.

Further upstream, bass have been prolific with deep snags fished with spinnerbaits the gun way to tempt them. Late afternoons have been prime time particularly when it’s hot.

The estuary perch have also played the game but knowing the right snags and weed banks to fish has been the key to great results. Lately there have been a few honker perch caught, with the best I’ve seen going 48cm – nice fish for this area.


At Narooma, Wagonga Inlet has been slow by its normal superb standards but this will change once the water warms.

There have still been some decent mulloway and big flathead caught, with soft plastics catching the majority of fish. The inlet is full of whitebait so concentrate your efforts where you find them.

Up past Punkella Creek, the water is quite warm in the shallows with bream, whiting and flathead the species to target. Lightly weighted baits or surface lures should turn a fish or two.

At Montague Island the kingfish have been sporadic, to say the least – great one day, slow the next. When they do decide to chew, the action is fast and furious with jigs and live baits both working well.

The north and western side of the island are where most of the action is.

Big bonito have been hammering the bait schools. These guys are great sport and not bad on the plate if looked after correctly.

Trolling smaller deep-diving minnows should produce a fish or two. Try fishing over the shallower grounds south of Montague, especially if the current is pushing hard to the south.

You should expect the odd kingfish when fishing these shallower sections, though they are usually the smaller models.

The reefs closer to shore should keep the bottom-bouncers happy as snapper, morwong and flathead continue to do the right thing.

Almost all the local reefs north and south of Narooma are holding fish. The best at the moment would be Potato Point, to the north, where some decent snapper to 4kg have been caught recently, with local knowledge a great thing to have.

Some locals are getting their bag limits inside a few hours but the boys are doing the right thing and keeping only enough for a feed – great to see.

This action will continue right through Summer. The reds will get a little smaller but kingfish are a huge possibility. Every year some big hoodlums are hooked at the Point, so always take fresh or live bait and a range of quality jigs.


Further out, the game fishing fraternity are licking their chops as albacore and yellowfin tuna have been keep them busy.

There have been heaps of fish to 40kg and this month we should see the first signs of striped marlin. These fish respond well to trolled skirted lures early in the season, with game crews switch-baiting also getting results.

The continental shelf is the place to fish but don’t underestimate the inshore grounds if water is warm enough and bait is present. Every season a few beakies are hooked in close so if fishing Montague Island, trolling on the way out may not sound as silly as it seems.

The rock fishing for bread-and-butter species like luderick and drummer has slowed to a crawl, mainly due to little or no wash with the calmer seas. Drummer are almost non-existent with plenty of effort needed for a feed of blackfish fillets.

Dalmeny and the lower section of the Golf Course Rocks have produced a few fish with berley an absolute must for consistent results.

Anglers using freshly cooked prawns have done well but I for one would find it hard to use them and not eat them!

On the other hand, if you’re targeting pelagics you would have a smile from ear to ear. Kingfish, striped tuna and frigates have been caught from the Golf Course front ledge as well as High Rock at Mystery Bay. Chromed lures and whole pilchards on ganged hooks have both worked.

The beaches have been a little patchy; some days are good and others very quiet.

Anglers who are doing well have been using fresh bait like live beach worms and pipis. You can get bait like this from most local beaches. You have to put in a little work but the results make it worthwhile.

Bream, yellow eye mullet and whiting are making up most anglers’ bags.

Fishing lighter tackle with a running sinker rig has certainly been a key ingredient to better catch rates.

Better beaches include Tilba, Narooma Main, Brou and Blackfellows, to the north of Potato Point.

After dark, mulloway and gummy sharks are possibility, especially on a rising tide with big, fresh baits.

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