The Narooma region has returned to some sort of normality after the school holidays. With the decrease in boat traffic the estuaries have really fired up with Wagonga Inlet and Tuross fishing excellently of late. Both systems are producing bream, mulloway, whiting and blackfish.
With the water temperature around the 25°C mark, all species are having a chew, although tide times have played a significant part in getting consistent results. We've experienced some very big tides of late, especially around the new moon period, so fishing the tide changes has been the key.
Tuross has seen a significant increase in mulloway numbers, which is awesome news. The majority of fish are only soapies between 60-75cm but, caught on the right tackle, they’re still a whole lot of fun. Remember that mulloway sizes have increased to 70cm minimum, I've talked to a few anglers that have caught the smaller fish and have not realised the size increase. These fish have fallen victim to soft plastics and bait, and it’s possible to get multiple fish during a session. We managed 3 fish and lost another 2 one morning, so there's good numbers available.
Those after a feed of flatties are finding it a bit tough; you have to work through the smaller fish, you get 5 small fish to 1 legal, which can become frustrating. You will get a feed but you will work for it.
If you’re after some sport the Tuross River is good for estuary perch and a few bream. There's some cracking perch around 45cm to be caught, it's just finding the right snag to fish. Smaller deeper running hardbodies and plastics fished hard against the structure is the go.
In Wagonga the main basin is firing for flatties with some over 85cm being captured recently. I've heard of at least 8 fish over this size, which looks good for the upcoming flattie competition at the end of February, hopefully those anglers fishing the competition can get amongst them.
Up stream around the racks, bream have responded well to surface lures, with smaller poppers around 40mm being ideal. You can expect a few whiting with the chance at a decent frog too.
Offshore sport fishers are having a field day with marlin the main species. Black, striped and blue have been caught with striped marlin the most predominant species a present. Trolling skirted pushers anywhere from the 70 fathom line to the second drop has been the place to fish. Marlin upwards of 120kg are possible, although most are averaging 80kg which are still solid fish for this neck of the woods. Some crews have had multiple strikes per day, local game skipper Pete Davies had 5 shots at marlin in a day, which is excellent fishing.
With the water around 24°C expect this marlin action to remain consistent for a few weeks yet. They are getting plenty of fish north of us so all looks good.
There’s also been sporadic catches of yellowfin tuna to 30kg plus a few albacore.
At Montague Island the kingfish have finally woken up with some solid models being captured. Young Nick from PlayStation has got his clients onto many solid fish, mainly on live bait. These have been caught around the western side and northeast corner of Montagu Island. The place is still loaded with undersize kingfish but it’s good to see a few legal fish coming aboard most boats.
I expect the kings to fire up even more this month, especially with the current pushing south, which is perfect for this fine sports fish. The better kings have responded to live slimy mackerel, which are easily available along the shoreline near the Golf Course rocks at Narooma. Jigs are getting a few fish but the majority are undersized. There's been a few bonito mixed in with the kings and smaller yellowfin tuna to 15kg just east of the island. I know of a few small yellowfin caught on jigs on the northeast side of the island so there's a few there to be caught.
If the kings aren’t for you then the bottom fishing has been excellent. Snapper numbers are on the increase with most switched on boats getting at least a dozen fish per session. The reds are averaging 2kg, which are solid fish and great on the plate. The fish are on most reefs although the deeper water around 50-60m off Tuross has been the pick. I’d be concentrating where the hard ground meets the gravel/sand either anchoring up or doing short drifts over it. Technique will depend on what the current and tides are doing.
On the beaches the fishing is still good with bream, whiting and the occasional salmon falling victim to the bait brigade. Whiting numbers aren't quite as good as last month but the size seems to be increasing with a smattering of fish around 40cm mark, which are solid models for the beach. I expect the numbers to increase as the month passes on, especially around the estuary entrances like Tuross, Dalmeny and Tilba Lake.
There's a great chance at a mulloway mid-month with a cracking moon phase and tide that looks ideal for this enigmatic species. Look at either Blackfellows or Tilba beaches for your best chance.
The ocean rocks have been quiet, there's the odd salmon, bonito and smaller kingfish to be caught but you really have to work for them. I'm not too sure why it's tough, it should be awesome, hopefully it will pick up over the next few weeks. Better ledges to try are Mystery Bay to the south and Dalmeny headland to the north.Reads: 731