Estuaries look promising
  |  First Published: June 2012

Winter brings promise of some exceptional fishing for those anglers who brave the conditions.

A lot of fishos have the perception that the estuaries go quiet during Winter but that is nowhere near the truth, especially in the smaller systems like Tuross, Mummaga, Corunna and Wallaga lakes.

Sure, the fish become a little more sluggish in the colder water but a few minor tackle adjustments and varied techniques you will still catch plenty.

Last Winter in Narooma's Wagonga Inlet we experienced the best Winter action I have seen in 30 years of fishing the place.

The deeper water in the main basin was quiet but the upper reaches in the shallows were brilliant.

The edges from 1m-4m were chockers with whitebait. This was the catalyst for the great action on salmon to 4kg and at times the schools smashed the surface to a foaming mess.

This commotion caused other species to get in on the act with trevally, bream, flathead, tailor, decent snapper and the odd mulloway all hitting soft plastics and bait.

The action continued right through Winter and I think it could all happen again this year. The bait is already here, the salmon are too and I'm sure you can make your own assumptions about the rest.

The smaller estuaries listed above all fish well at this time of year. Concentrate on the shallower margins and use lighter leaders because the water will become clearer as it gets colder.

Use smaller soft plastics and the freshest of bait. I also like to use blades during the cooler months; they work a treat if fished the right way and are dynamite on bream and flathead. The occasional big whiting and blackfish also falls victim these little bits of metal.


Offshore the tuna brigade is in full swing with a heap of school yellowfin of 20kg-35kg falling to trolled lures and cubes. The odd better fish has been caught with the best I've heard of going 67kg.

This month we should see yellowfin of 80kg-plus. The longliners are catching a few around the continental shelf.

There's a stack of bait there from the 70-fathom line out so this is where I'd be concentrating. The water is still 20° out wide but will cool as the month progresses.

With the yellowfin you will find albacore with 20kg albies definitely possible.

If sharks are your quarry then bring the big gear out – every June some massive makos turn up.

The Montague Island kingfish have been good without being spectacular. Some days are better than others, with current direction influencing their feeding habits.

When they are chewing, the northern and south-western corners have been productive, with jigs, live bait and squid all working at times.

There's been a heap of solid bonito around and just maybe a stray yellowfin towards the northern end of the island. This used to be the June hot spot donkey’s years ago and I know of a few locals who got the odd tuna last year at this time.


The salmon have been very good with large numbers available on most beaches. Tilba and Brou have been the pick with great deep gutters.

The fish are responding to a range of methods with cut and whole pilchards on paternoster rigs working well.

Another method here is to have a surf popper on one dropper and a bait on the other. This works extremely well and you will be surprised how many fish get the popper.

With the cooler water expect some jumbo tailor, too. We always get big fish at this time of year with 3kg-plus greenbacks possible.

Those after bream will still get a few fish, try around the estuary entrances. The entrance to Tuross along Blackfellows Beach has been good for bream on beachworms and pipis.

There still may be the odd whiting available although the water is getting colder.

Rock anglers are in the transition month with the pelagics. Salmon, tailor and bonito will still be abundant although kingfish, striped tuna and mackerel tuna will be heading north again, while kings can be big but sporadic.

For the LBG diehards I'd be fishing Mystery Bay to the south of Narooma or the Golf Course Rocks in town; both are relatively safe in moderate seas.

If you’re after a feed, get in line – blackfish, drummer, groper and bream will all be keen for a chew. Dalmeny Headland, the Golf Course Rocks and the southern break-wall should all turn it on.

With the bigger seas lately these species have really played the game and this will continue right through Winter. Baits to try include cunjevoi, prawns, cabbage and crabs.

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