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Offshore, for sure
  |  First Published: February 2013



Offshore sport fishers are in for a good time with 22°-26° water containing striped and black marlin.

It’s usually this time of year that the smaller blacks up to 80kg start to patrol the currents close to shore. Places like Montague Island, the reefs off Potato Point and Tuross are all worth a look, especially if striped tuna and slimy mackerel are present.

This inshore run usually peaks in February and March so don't underestimate the shallower grounds when conditions are right. We've seen many a marlin in close so it's definitely worth a look.

Out wider, striped marlin, yellowfin tuna and various shark species will be on the cards. The continental shelf is where most anglers will head and it’s a great starting point.

Some days the fish may be wider, closer to the second drop-off or further up the coast around the Tuross canyons.

Trolling skirted lures or slowly trolling live slimy mackerel or striped tuna are great ways to catch fish at this time of year.

I prefer trolling lures until I find concentrations of fish and then revert to live bait as required.

Switch-baiting is also popular for smarter game crews and it can prove deadly on marlin at times, especially stripes. You get a better hook-up to landed fish ratio so if you have not done it before try it, it's deadly.

ISLAND KINGS

Inshore, the kingies have been good at Montague Island with jigs, live bait and squid on flasher rigs working well. The fish are quite widespread but the northern end has seen a lot of the action.

The kings aren’t huge, averaging 4kg, but there are some bigger ones. Early mornings there have been bust-ups of bigger kings and oversized bonito as they hammer the saurie schools, so stay alert for any surface life.

A lot of this action is on the Fowlhouse Reef and the north-west corner of the island but remember, early mornings are best to target them on the surface.

Remember too, the marine park rules for live-baiting on the north-west corner of the Island. If you’re not sure, give it a miss, rangers have been patrolling this area quite heavily and the fines are just not worth it.

Sand and tiger flathead are in awesome numbers. Catching them is certainly not rocket science but geez, the fillets are good on the plate. They are quite widespread but depths of 40m-60m have been good, though the slightly deeper water has accounted for a lot of the tigers.

The reefs and gravel edges are holding snapper to 2kg, morwong and kingfish. Striped tuna strips, squid and larger soft plastics have worked well.

WAGONGA SLOW

It's still surprising how slow Wagonga Inlet is. l don't know why, but it should pick up.

There are still some nice flatties, bream and whiting but you need to work for them.

Live poddy mullet have fared best on flathead; the soft plastic brigade are working overtime for results.

Tuross is harder than usual for flatties; it's loaded with fish to 40cm but those bigger ones are harder to find. But the more casts you put in, the better your chances.

There have been some solid bream and whiting in both systems on poppers and walk-baits.

It's that time of year for surface action with the shallows, especially in Tuross, getting up to 30°. This surface action will continue to improve for a few months yet.

Those after bass and estuary perch should be looking upstream of the main highway bridge at Tuross. It has been good, especially the evening bite, for both species.

ROCK, BEACH

Anglers fishing the rocks at Mystery Bay, south of Narooma, have been rewarded with some kingfish, big salmon and bonito falling to live baits.

Drifting the livies under balloons has been the best method. You can usually get all the bait you require from the northern end of the ledge.

Snapper have come from the washes at the southern end of the main ledge, with full pilchards on ganged hooks doing the trick.

Berley has been the key here, with one local getting three solid reds to 3kg a while ago so they are there, which is a little surprising for this time of year.

Drummer and luderick have been a little quiet but they will make their presence felt in coming months when the water cools again.

You’re better off fishing the inside of the southern breakwall at Narooma, there have been some good blackfish caught there on cabbage.

On the beaches, bream and whiting are readily available and the major targets this month.

Most beaches are holding fish but Brou and Kianga Main have been the standouts. Best baits are live beach worms, pipis and, for the bream, tuna cubes.

You can expect the odd salmon, tailor and in low light periods, the outside chance of a mulloway. Gummy sharks are possible especially after dark around the full moon.

The flathead fishos outside have been getting a few gummies so there should be a few cruising the beaches.

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