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Solid fish on the prowl
  |  First Published: February 2014



Narooma and its surrounds have copped their fare share of boat traffic lately, but with quite a few visitors finishing their holiday it just may be the time to get out there and wet a line.

The estuaries have been a bit hit-and-miss of late, with Wagonga certainly fishing better than its northern cousin Tuross. Anglers fishing the deeper water in Wagonga have been rewarded with legal snapper, bream, flathead and flounder. A mixture of bait and lures has accounted for the fish, with bream responding well to blades fished deep around the whitebait schools. You do lose the odd lure to tailor, but the trick is to fish it hard on the bottom with smaller hops of 1ft or so. Some of the bream are nudging 1kg and better. They’re solid fish for around here and great sport on the light stuff.

The flatties have been a little quiet but I suspect this will pick up this month. Those anglers who have done well have been fishing lighter leaders, which seems to be making a real difference, although you have to expect to lose the odd better fish. Still, if you’re getting fish, losing the occasional one doesn't hurt too much.

Over the last few weeks the Longmores from Junee have nailed a few 80-90cm duskies, but they had to work for them.

I'd expect mulloway encounters to increase too, now that there’s less boat traffic on the water. Concentrate your efforts around the tailor schools, which are plentiful in the main basin and Fosters Bay. Anglers fishing surface lures have done OK of late, especially on afternoon rising tides. We had a solid session there recently that netted us over 30 fish for the afternoon. That's solid fishing but the key was wind. When we had it the fish went on the chew, and when it backed off so did the bite. That's why the afternoons have been better when the northeasters get up; the wind provides plenty of ruffle and better fishing.

Up at Tuross the fishing has been hard. There’s still the odd flattie around with bream and whiting but you do have to work for them. The river section has been the better area to fish, especially for lure casters. If you’re there at the right time you will do OK, but expect to put a lot of casts in to get results.

Bait fishos have fared better, with whiting all the go at the minute. I have seen good bags come in by local anglers in the know. These fish are in shallow water but the freshest of bait is the key to success. Live squirtworms and bloodworms are the gun baits, and a few whiting have succumbed to live nippers as well.

BEACHES

Over the last few weeks the beach action has certainly turned around; before that it was a little slow. With the water temperature increasing, whiting have really turned it on with some quality bags being caught. Fresh pipi and live beachworms have been the best baits. Some good bream are mixed in with the whiting. Beaches to try include Narooma main, Tilba and Brou. The southern end of Blackfellows beach (Tuross River entrance) has also produced some solid results.

Salmon and tailor have made a welcome return with pilchards, surf poppers and metal lures getting results. The salmon action had been very quiet with calm seas, but with more swell and whitewater it has really turned around. Fish to 3kg can be expected, though the average fish will be 1.5kg or so. Still good fun on the right tackle.

BOTTOM FISHING

Outside anglers fishing for the table have had excellent results, with snapper, morwong, kingfish and sand flathead being caught in numbers. The bottom end of Montague has been the pick of the reefs, with Potato Point and Brou reefs also producing.

Those after the flathead can't go wrong, with great captures right along the coast. Fishing in depths of 30-35m straight off Kianga and Dalmeny has seen most of the action.

At Montague Island the kingfish population has woken up, with fish to 7kg succumbing to live baits and jigs. The better sized kings have been slow thus far, but with the water now warming up we can expect the action to be more consistent. The north and western side of the island are the places to fish, with some of the better kings in close on the northwest corner. Remember the Marine Park rules here with live bait. It's an exclusion zone until the end of April so jigs are the go here.

BLUEWATER

Out wider, game anglers have had good results when the weather has allowed. The water temperature is hovering between 22-26 degrees; very warm and perfect for marlin. All 3 marlin species have been caught, though stripes from 70-100kg are the most common. Trolling skirted lures and switch baiting with live slimy mackerel have again been the best methods for the beakies.

The fish have been widespread along the shelf, though the Tuross canyons and Kink grounds have had some memorable days of late. There have been reports of yellowfin tuna but the fish are on the smaller side.

What has been interesting this season is the abundance of mahi mahi (dolphinfish). I know of several fish over the 20kg mark being caught and some monsters hooked while trolling for marlin. We don't see too many of this species this far south, and it just goes to show how good the water is out wide.

ROCKS

Off the stones the pelagic speedsters are keeping the rock fishing fraternity happy. All platforms are producing, with the Golfie Rocks in town, Dalmeny headland and High Rock near Mystery Bay all worth a look. You can expect bonito, salmon, frigate mackerel and smaller kingfish. Chromed lures, pilchards and live bait have all been working at times.

There's definitely the chance at a northern bluefin tuna as well, especially with the water quality and bait concentrations we have in close at the moment.

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