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Hot action offshore
  |  First Published: March 2012



Exceptional marlin action out wide has maintained Narooma's reputation as a game fishing Mecca.

Almost all boats heading wide have been in on the action with multiple captures daily.

Local game skipper Pete Davies has been having a great time, managing a marlin every time he's ventured wide over his past five trips. The best was a 196kg blue.

He's also released striped marlin and blacks and told me of a mammoth blue estimated at 350kg they lost at the boat after four hectic hours.

That day Pete had only two other guys on board, making it a little difficult to land. They had the leader in hand 28 times so, to me, it was captured. They could have tagged it numerous times if they had the personnel.

Other crews have had similar luck, with trolled skirted pushers being the main producers.

Bonus yellowfin tuna are being caught between marlin bites. Most are averaging 40kg to 50kg and certainly welcome by-catch, if that's what you want to call them.

The yellowfin action should only get better.

Montague Island’s kingfish have really fired up with fish to 10kg caught some days. They are moving around a bit but the concentration certainly seems to be the northern end of the island.

A lot depends on current as to where they will be but the clusters of boats are usually a dead giveaway.

Most fish are falling to live bait but jigs and squid/flasher combinations have also worked.

Those after flathead and snapper are very happy. The flattie run in 35m to 40m is the best for a long time and a few locals are telling me it's like the good ol’ days.

Thankfully people are doing the right things these days and taking only what they require for a feed.

ESTUARIES

In the estuaries Wagonga Inlet has been a little slow but should improve in coming weeks. There are still quality fish but you do have to work for them.

Flathead are coming from the upper reaches above the 4-knot area with plastics and live poddies working well.

The lower sections have turned up some cracking whiting from the sand flats near the Fisheries office. Live squirt worms have been the key to consistent results.

Up at Tuross, most species are playing the game.

The system is the best I've seen it for a while, with tidal movement at a premium. Having the entrance open for this extended period is awesome and you can see the benefits tenfold.

The place is loaded with whitebait and pilchards are thick, with a stack of small tailor as well. Some nice mulloway and monster flathead have taken artificials and live bait.

Last week we managed four mulloway there – not big fish, but there are quite a few there. I love it when you can mark them up on the sounder and then catch them.

Those in the lower sections after a feed of bream, whiting and blackfish will be rewarded if using the freshest, or better still live, bait, especially squirt worms and nippers.

Quality blackfish are also being caught on weed along the deeper rock wall near O'Brien's boatshed.

BEACHES

On the beaches large schools of salmon have made anglers happy, with most fishos getting their bag limit (5) inside a few hours.

On some occasions the salmon schools have been thick, making them quite easy to catch but still loads of fun, especially on light spinning tackle. The fish are averaging 2kg with most beaches with decent gutters producing fish.

Almost all methods are working with one- and two-dropper paternoster rigs rigged with bait and surf poppers best. Pilchards, blue bait and fresh beach worms are the pick baits.

There should be a few bream, whiting and mullet starting to school, so remember the lighter outfit for these. Beaches to try include Jamisons, Blackfellows, Brou, Narooma Main and Coila.

Anglers fishing the stones will have plenty of fun with salmon, tailor, bonito, frigate mackerel and kingfish. Casting chrome shiners up to 50g is a great way to target these, although whole pilchards on ganged hooks are also good.

If a decent kingfish is your target then live bait is the go. You can usually get all the bait you require at the ledges that you fish.

I'd be fishing Mystery Bay's High Rock to the south, the Golf Course Rocks in town or Dalmeny Headland to the north.

The north breakwall is also worth a look, especially after heavy seas, for salmon and tailor.

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