This is an extremely busy month in the Narooma area, with visiting and local anglers jostling for prime fishing locations, particularly in the estuaries.
Wagonga Inlet has seen a significant increase in boat traffic and angling pressure, making fishing more difficult. It’s a good idea to downsize lures and use only the freshest bait or, better still, live bait.
Bream and whiting numbers are increasing as the water warms, with the sandflats on the western side of the main highway bridge a good place to start. Fish the incoming tide in the afternoon for best results.
The usual 20 knot northeaster will be blowing but the ripple it provides acts as a cover in the shallows. It can be harder to fish in the wind, but increased catch rates are more than adequate compensation.
Out in the main basin, flathead numbers and sizes have been lower than previous years but there are still some great fish still to be had. We have managed some to 95cm, with bigger soft plastics fished very slowly in 6-12m working best. If you’re lucky enough to tangle with a big flatty, do the right thing and let her go. These breeding female fish are super-important to our future stocks.
We have had a memorable start to the gamefishing season with yellowfin tuna to 70kg, black and striped marlin, albacore and an array of shark species plentiful.
The yellowfin at Montague Island have continued to chew. It’s great to see that they are making Montague a stopover on their journey south. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen tuna action this good at the island.
Out on the shelf all the above species have played the game. A lot of tuna are coming from the 60-fathom line to the shelf, with trolling the best method. This covers more ground, but if you locate a school it is worth berleying and cubing. If you haven’t raised a fish inside 20 minutes, continue trolling.
Anglers using bibbed minnows like the Rapala X-Rap 20 have donged tuna from 20-40kg. These lures can be a bit big for the albacore, which prefer smaller skirted pushers.
Expect marlin numbers to increase too as the water warms more. In early December it was around 22°C – ideal for striped marlin. Trolling lures will again be the best way to target them, but trolling a live slimy mackerel or smaller striped tuna could pay dividends. Clued-up game crews will also use switch-baits after teasing up a beaky.
On the inshore reefs, expect the usual suspects like snapper, morwong, pigfish and flathead. Almost all reefs will hold fish, with the better places including Tuross Wide, Potato Point, Brou and the southern end of Montague.
Kingfish numbers have been OK at Montague, but they have been relatively small. This should change this month with live bait getting bigger fish.
Early mornings are the go this month as the dreaded northeast winds in the afternoons make fishing the beaches difficult. Beaches with deeper gutters or rock formations will fish better. Tilba, Narooma Main, Brou and Blackfellows are the pick.
The rock fishing for bread-and-butter species like luderick and drummer has slowed to a crawl with the warmer water. Dalmeny and the lower section of the Golf Course Rocks have produced a few fish but berley an absolute must for more consistent results.
If you’re after pelagics, however, you will have a smile from ear to ear. Kingfish, striped tuna and frigate mackerel have been caught from the Golfie front ledge as well as High Rock at Mystery Bay.
Throwing chromed lures and whole pilchards rigged on ganged hooks have both worked well.Reads: 485