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Estuaries are looking great
  |  First Published: July 2012



The estuaries have cleared up nicely and are looking great after the freshwater flush they received.

The fish have responded well with Narooma’s Wagonga Inlet outstanding.

I mentioned last month about the Winter fishing that can be expected in the shallows and, true to my word, the place is on fire.

The upper reaches around the 4-knot area are loaded with whitebait with a horde of species having a field day.

The place is loaded with big salmon, tailor and trevally, which is expected with the cooler 14° water, but what's underneath the feeding pelagics is interesting. There have been some monster flathead and we've managed five crocs from 84cm to a cracking 93cm.

Mixed in with these beasts are plenty of smaller flatties around 40cm-45cm, plus some solid bream and pinkie snapper to 40cm.

I expect the action to continue as long as the bait stays there.

The main basin and lower sections have been quieter although the channel on the eastern side of the highway bridge has been good for trevally, blackfish and bream. They have responded well to prawns, bass yabbies and squirt worms, if you can get them.

Up at Tuross there have been good reports of flatties, bream and blackfish from the lower sections with the main river producing some quality bream and flathead. Anglers using soft plastics have fared best with the cooler water with slow presentations a must for consistent results.

OFFSHORE

Anglers fishing in the deep blue for tuna are doing extremely well. We've had a good run of southern bluefin tuna with a few fish nudging 80kg – not jumbos but still good fish.

The majority are 40kg-50kg, good fun on the right tackle and not bad on the plate if looked after properly.

The fish have been wide with the 1000-fathom line a good starting point. If conditions are suitable, going wider will be even better.

Trolling has been popular with a mixture of bibbed minnows and skirted pushers doing the job.

It also pays to have a stack of cubed pilchards ready to go so when you bring a hooked fish to the boat, throw out a handful. Quite often other tuna will follow the hooked one and if you get them interested with the cubes you will keep them at the boat for hours.

This happened to us last season and in three hours we caught and released more than 30 SBT to 70kg, mostly on cubes but a few on poppers also. That was seriously good fun on stand-up spin tackle.

With the way the water is and what's been caught already early in the season, this Winter could be something special. There will still be the odd decent yellowfin, with albacore also possible.

Montague Island has slowed somewhat on the kingfish but the ones being caught are big. There’s been a smattering of 20kg fish captured, mainly on live bait, with some huge bonito to 7kg as well.

These fish have been on the surface with early mornings best. The Fowlhouse Reef on the western side of the island has seen most of the action.

Whether these hoodlums stick around will depend on conditions. Last season they did so hopefully this Winter won't be different.

Those after snapper and morwong are quite happy. Quality reds to 3kg have been on most reefs with the south-west corner of Montague in 20m-25m worth a shot. Look where the hard stuff meets the gravel and you should be in business.

Fresh bait like striped tuna or squid will do the job with lightly weighted whole pilchards favoured by many local fishos.

BEACHES

Those fishing the beach need to be rugged up this month as the morning westerlies cut through you like a knife. But if you’re keen, some super salmon action can be had.

Almost all beaches are holding fish and most techniques are working at some time. It really just depends on how you want to target them and how much fun you want to have.

You will catch plenty on the standard paternoster rig with a bait/popper combination, but for more fun try casting metal shiners.

This is active fishing and you cover a lot more ground but it’s certainly not for everyone.

I always take the treble off my shiners and replace it with a single straight-shank 5/0 hook, which means I don't lose anywhere near as many salmon when they jump. With the straight-shank hook you shouldn't get as much line twist.

Beaches to try include Brou, Kianga Main, Narooma Main and, to the south, Tilba Beach.

Winter on the rocks produces some great fishing, especially for the ‘bread-and-butter’ species.

Fishing the washes with cunjevoi, cooked prawns, cabbage weed and even bread will produce blackfish, drummer and bream. Most washes hold fish, so use just a little sparse berley to keep the fish interested.

There's also the chance of good snapper especially from the deeper ledges like Mystery Bay or the Golf course rocks in town.

Fresh squid heads or cuttlefish strips will be best. Coincide a low tide around dawn or dusk and you just may be rewarded with a gleaming red.

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