It’s all systems go
  |  First Published: October 2012

It's all systems go for a smorgasbord of species as the estuaries heat up further with each passing week and Summer techniques return.

Both Narooma and Tuross estuaries are firing up nicely and there's a stack of bait in both systems. They have had decent flushes from Winter rains and the fishing over the cooler months was quite exceptional, adding up to promising times ahead.

In Tuross the river section seems to fish better in October, especially for flathead and bream. Because it’s quite shallow, the water warms quicker than the deeper tidal areas and the fish seem to respond to that.

I'd be concentrating from the main highway bridge to Four Ways, fishing depths of 1m-3m with smaller prawn imitations and blades. There already have been some solid flatties caught with a few around 80cm.

For those targeting bream, slow-rolling hardbodies over the flats will work and if the water is warm enough, an early season surface session is not out of the question. I've regularly caught bream on surface lures in 15° water, especially if smaller jelly prawns are evident.

There will be estuary perch in the snags mixed with bream. Hardbodies and plastics will work.

At Wagonga Inlet the big breeding female flathead will start to stir, heading downstream and getting ready to spawn. This month is the start of it all for them and I expect some cracking fish to 90cm.

Around the basin margins in 6m-9m of water is a good place to start.

This month we will see an increase in tailor numbers and that means mulloway will be stalking the tailor schools. Cast your plastics near them and you’re in with a great chance. Sure, you will lose a few lures to the choppers but the reward might just be worthwhile.


Outside fishos hitting the bottom have had good results at times on snapper, morwong, sand and tiger flathead, pigfish and kingfish. The reds have been excellent off Potato Point in 40m-60m.

Every day has been different and the fish have been moving. Some switched-on local crews have been drifting first, then anchoring once they've located a patch. Catches of 15-20 are common with reds averaging 1.5kg but there's still the odd red to 5kg.

This action should continue for a while yet but I expect the reds to spread out a bit.

At Montague Island there's been the odd patch of kings turning up from just on legal size (65cm) to 90cm. Jigs, live bait and squid have all worked but live bait seems to be getting the bigger fish.

The Fowlhouse Reef and the south-west corner over the rip have been the places to fish.

Later on this month yellowfin tuna and albacore should be patrolling the continental shelf line. Trolling is certainly the way to go early in the season.

If sharks are your thing, get out there now. There's a heap of makos and blues along the shelf and some locals are saying they have never seen so many, with a few getting upwards of 200kg.

At that size they can do some damage, especially makos, so attempt this only if you have an experienced crew.


The beaches have been a little hit and miss and very calm seas make the salmon fishing quite tough.

Those who have done OK have been spinning the beaches with chrome slices up to 50g. Doing this enables you to fish each gutter along a beach, working the more productive areas and not waiting for the salmon to come to you.

When we get the right conditions the beach fishing will really pick up for bream, whiting and mullet. This month is ideal for all these species with pipis and live beach worms.

Better beaches include Brou, Tilba, Coila and Narooma Main.

The rockhoppers are also in the transition period with a good mix of all species. Blackfish, drummer, bream and snapper can be found on most headlands with Mystery Bay and the Golf Course Rocks the better places to try with fresh crab, cunjevoi, peeled cooked prawns or cabbage bait.

For the reds fresh squid or whole pilchards should suffice.

Sport fishers who like throwing medium-sized chrome lures are in for a treat. Bonito numbers are excellent and the average fish is 3kg – great sport and if you look after them correctly, good on the plate, especially smoked.

You can expect the odd kingfish and if all else fails, salmon are a great back up.

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