Offshore anglers around the Narooma region are in for a good time over the coming weeks with 22-24ºC water straight out the front of Narooma. You can expect all marlin species, yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi and a host of shark species to be chewing.
The bait is in plague proportions along the 70 fathom line; slimy mackerel the most prominent. This is a great place to start trolling for the beaks. The gun methods are slow trolled live slimies and switch baiting, after teasing them up with hook-less skirted pushers or skipped striped tuna. There will still be fish hooked with skirted pushers but, with the bait so concentrated, live bait will be a better option.
There's been reports of black and striped marlin upwards of 150kg, which are solid fish for this neck of the woods.
I've heard of some very big blues hooked but all have won their freedom. These beasts are hard to stay connected to as they usually win the battle as anglers go in undergunned with too light tackle.
On the tuna front yellowfin have been consistent with the average size fish 25-30kg – not monsters but still fun in between marlin bites. This month will see bigger yellowfin caught, every April is the same it's the start of the jumbo season. There will be fish 80kg+ possible, and the shelf is the place to fish. Trolled bibbed minnows will work but drifting using a berley cube combination would be the best method.
At Montague Island the kings play the game one day, then have the next two off. If you’re there on the good day the fishing is excellent with kings to 10kg possible. They have responded well to live bait and jigs, where their feeding depends on what the current is doing. The north end is the go when the current is pushing south, if the current is pushing north then the shallows about 2km south of the island is your best bet.
The smaller kings are in huge schools at present and have been for months now. Those days when the bigger fish don't play, you can at least still have some fun on them.
Anglers after the bottom species, especially snapper are going great guns. These fine eating fish have been excellent and easily caught on most reefs. I know a few of the offshore charter operators have bagged out at times, which is awesome fishing in my books. You can expect morwong and the odd king when fishing for the reds. Look in 25m on the southwest corner of Montague, it's been fishing pretty good.
In the estuaries it's a bit hit and miss, depending on what system you’re fishing. The smaller lakes, like Corunna, Mumugga and Tilba, have been the best, especially for eating-sized flathead. Getting your 10 legal fish out of these systems isn't hard at all: cast smaller softies around 3-4m for best results.
There's been a few bream with the flatties, most of these have been caught by bait fishos and anglers using blades. In Wagonga the flatties have been okay, but you have to work for them.
The 5th Flathead Classic was recently run by myself, Dawso and Obe out of O’Briens Hotel. There were around 200 anglers and 62 boats, with about 400 fish caught and all released. It's a great event that raises plenty of money for the town and various charities. What was interesting during the comp was some of the unusual species caught: 2 amberjack, grinners and a flathead species I have never seen caught before.
A noticeable absent from the species list was mulloway. They are tough going at the moment, as they are in low numbers, along with the whiting. Hopefully things should change this month.
Up at Tuross the fishing has picked up considerably with some mega flathead being captured. I've heard of several fish over the magic 90cm mark with a heap of edibles around the 40cm – that's good fishing. The lower sections of the system are fishing better for the bigger fish. Most of the big girls are falling to live bait, those fishing larger soft plastics are finding it a whole lot harder to nail the crocs.
There's quite a few smaller mulloway throughout the system, with the majority being caught undersized. Anglers need to remember that the minimum size is now 70cm, let these smaller fish go and watch over the next few seasons how much bigger they will grow.
Those fishing the stones have done ok with bonito, rat kings and a few salmon hitting the hard stuff, although a lot of casting is required to get results. Anglers fishing smaller metal lures up to 30g have faired best with whole pilchards rigged on ganged hooks a close second. The action should pick up, all we need is some warmer water to come in closer to make the fishing more consistent. Look at Mystery Bay to the south of Narooma for your best chance at connecting to a speedster.
Off the beaches the pelagic action is tough. There’s certainly a lack of salmon around at present with tailor almost non-existent. What is keeping the beach-goers happy are solid sand whiting and a few bream. The northern beaches, like Coila and Blackfellows, are the best places to wet a line with live beach worms the preferred baits. Good luck.Reads: 875