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Still marlin magic
  |  First Published: April 2011



The Narooma region continues to produce, with sport fishers chasing the pelagic migratory species having a field day.

Everyone is talking marlin with stripes more predominant although a few decent blacks up to 150kg have come from the 60-fathom line.

It's great to see these dynamic game fish in numbers and if the water stays around 22° I'd expect the action to continue through April.

Most of the beakies are being caught trolling skirted pushers and skip baits, although switch-baiting with live bait has been deadly.

A few crews are trolling first, then turning to livies and switch-baiting fish when they come across that awesome patch of water that screams marlin.

Baitfish activity and water colour are the triggers. It’s even possible to get a few marlin up and get the double hook-up, which every game crew dreams about.

Some crews have had the luxury of seeing bait balls at the transom, pitching livies straight into the school and having a handful of striped marlin trying to eat the baits – cracking stuff.

April is traditionally when some bigger striped marlin are captured, with fish over 160kg caught every year. There already have been fish to 140kg.

There have been some mahi mahi to 18 kg and good yellowfin tuna to 60kg, with most coming from the continental shelf to the second drop-off. These and the odd wahoo mean there are patches of very warm water.

Most of these other species have been by-catch when targeting the marlin so some mid-sized pushers aimed at these species may be worth a go.

ISLAND KINGS

At Montague Island the kingfish population has been erratic. The fish are there all the time but will chew only when the current is pushing from the north.

It can be frustrating when you know they are there but those willing to fish at the right times have been rewarded with solid models averaging 8kg.

Most of these bigger fish have fallen to live bait fished hard on the bottom at the northern end of the island. Anglers are still getting them on jigs, though the size usually drops a year class or two.

I expect the kings to become more consistent this month. You can expect bonito to 8kg, too. There have been plenty of these speedsters around all year.

You won't have much trouble getting a feed of the reef species. Almost all reefs are holding fish with the eastern side of Montague dynamite for morwong.

Some quality snapper are there and flathead are plentiful over the sand patches, such as in 35m off Dalmeny.

ESTUARIES

Wagonga Inlet at Narooma has been a little mixed, although the bream surface fishing lately has been awesome. Daily catches of 30-plus bream to a kilo have been common with the water so warm that won't change.

The fish are throughout the system with the weed edges certainly fishing better than the oyster racks upstream.

You can expect the odd trevally, flathead and whiting most days so it makes for great fishing.

The main basin is loaded with salmon and tailor. The diving terns are a dead give-away and some of the salmon are monsters. I know of a handful of fish over 4kg, spectacular fighting on light braid.

Down deeper, the flatties have been unusually tough for this time of year, as have the mulloway. There's been the odd good fish taken but certainly no guts to them.

This should pick up as we head into April and the visiting Easter fishos should have some fun.

At Tuross it’s business as usual. The flatties have been really good with some crackers to 95cm on plastics and live bait.

It is disturbing, though, when you see these big fish being kept by some anglers. Let these breeders go and keep the smaller fish for a feed, then there will be heaps of fish for generations to come.

Commonsense isn't that hard, is it?

Those after bream have been having lots of fun in the lower sections. Bait and lures are catching plenty of fish to a kilo along with quality whiting and I've heard of a handful of mulloway to 93cm coming from these same shallows.

This makes sense around the new moon with the prawns running and just goes to show you don't need to always fish deep for mulloway.

Those fishing the rocks and beaches are catching plenty of salmon and tailor with some of the sambos nudging 5kg. At that size on any tackle you’re in for some serious fun.

Whole pilchards on ganged hooks are ideal when fishing from the rocks.

Paternoster rigs with a bait/popper combination have been the favoured rigs from the beaches.

Most beaches are holding fish at times with the best no doubt being Brou and Tilba beaches.

The Mystery Bay platform to the south of Narooma is the hot rock spot and this month could turn up some nice mackerel tuna to 10kg and big bonito as well.

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