What a week of weather we have just experienced around the Narooma region? We've had a stack of rain with wind gusts to 90km/h on most days and to say everyone is sick of it may be an under statement!
The good thing is that the estuaries will receive a solid flush, which is great for the systems, as they need it every so often.
Before the wild weather, Wagonga Inlet was red-hot with bream, salmon, tailor, trevally and blackfish all chewing. The fish were very concentrated in small areas, but once you located them it was all systems go.
We've been concentrating around the whitebait schools in the lower sections of the system; Fosters Bay is a good place to start. Look for the bait around the weed fringed edges in 4-6m of water; this is where most of the action has happened.
If you haven't got a sounder, look for the pelicans on the water, they are a dead giveaway that the bait is close by. Diving terns above is something else to look for too. Casting smaller stick style soft plastics on light jigheads is the go-to method, but fishing light leaders is a must for best results.
Captures of 30+ fish has been the norm with bigger numbers on some days, but finding the bait is the key. If you don't, you will struggle, so spend the time searching and the rewards will be endless.
Up at Tuross, the locals have been getting some solid flathead to 75cm, with quite a few fish around the 60cm mark. That may seem a little strange with the water at 12ºC, but this system always produces good winter flathead fishing. The beauty is that there's nearly no boat traffic, which means you practically have the system to yourself, and that doesn't happen too often. The fish have been in the shallows with smaller presentations getting better results. Small plastics around the 70mm range will suffice.
Offshore, with the weather improving, the snapper fishing should be excellent. It always fishes well after a blow with most reefs producing fish. The northern areas around Potato Point would be the pick with the close in reef off Brou Lake also worth a shot. This area is only 10m deep but produces some very big snapper. Anchoring up using lightly weighted baits like squid strips or pilchards while using berley will get you solid results.
A little further offshore, the sportfishing fraternity will be chomping at the bit, as it's been a while since they have ventured east. I'd expect the southern bluefin tuna to be there, it's the right time of year, and the temperature charts look good. Before the blow, there had been the odd southern bluefin caught though no size to them, but there were some big yellowfin caught to 88kg, those are good fish in anyone's book.
There may be the odd yellowfin around, but a lot will depend on water temperatures, current and bait. Last season produced some good yellowfin mixed in with the southern bluefin, so let's hope this season will be the same. Trolling and cubing will both work, though the latter is a favourite among locals. The fish will be wide of the shelf so a decent boat ride will be required to get results.
At Montague Island, with the water cold, the kings have been quiet but that's to be expected. There has still been plenty of bonito to 6kg with the outside chance at a bluefin. We've caught them there before on jigs when targeting kings so it may be worth a look trolling if the shelf and beyond are too far out.
On the beaches, the salmon have been excellent with the rough weather, though holding bottom has been hard. Anglers using paternoster rigs with a bait/popper combination have been using up to 8oz just to hold bottom with the sideways drag. That's a lot of weight, but with the seas calming down, using less weight will be beneficial.
There's been greenback tailor on the beaches also, with a few models nudging 70cm, certainly very good fish. These toothy critters are menacing on mono leaders, so those who are landing them are using short wire traces. I know of one local who caught 7 fish between 60-70cm in a session and lost a few more before he changed to a wire trace. He said the fish were in very close, just past the shore dump, so you don't always have to have a long cast. Some gutters are deep close to the beach, so reading the beach before you fish can pay dividends as it did for him.
I'd expect a few gummy sharks this month with winter producing good fish on those moonlit nights. If you brave the cold, you may just be rewarded.
The stones have been a place you wouldn't have wanted to fish over recent weeks with the swell, but with it now dropping, it should be excellent. Salmon, tailor and bonito will be chewing on most platforms with whole pilchards and shiners to 50g working. But what should really be firing is the eating species. Snapper, blackfish, drummer, bream and groper should all play the game below the white water. A good blow and rough water usually turns them on with the Golf Course Rocks, Dalmeny Headland, the southern wall off the break wall and Mystery Bay to the south all producing.
Casting lightly weighted baits like prawns, cunjevoi, crab halves, bread and cabbage will all work at times. A little berley won't hurt either, but you won't need much.
I'd expect these areas to fish well for weeks, especially if the swell and white water stays consistent, but be careful on the lower ledges, they can be dangerous with a decent swell.Reads: 1542