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Waterways wake up
  |  First Published: June 2014



Narooma has experienced some interesting weather of late, much like the rest of the South Coast, but thankfully it has stabilised now so anglers can get out there and enjoy.

OFFSHORE

The offshore scene is red-hot at the moment with sportfishing crews getting amongst the action when conditions have allowed. Marlin numbers are still excellent even though it's late in the season, with crews getting up to six shots a day. There's a mixture of beaks with blacks and stripes, but the majority seem to be stripes around that 90-110kg bracket. I've heard a few reports of bigger blues further east of the shelf but they have won their freedom. Most fish have come from the 70-fathom line around the traps to the shelf, with the Tuross canyons holding fish too.

With the water still a balmy 23ºC these beakies may stay around to early June. A lot will depend on water temperatures and the like but with the water still warm north of us anything is possible.

Trolling skirted pushers seems to be the preferred method to target the beaks. You get to cover a lot of ground and when you locate the bait etc. it's all systems go. There have been some solid mahi mahi (dolphinfish) to 18kg caught too when trolling so the water is pretty good quality.

l think this late season marlin action might continue. The last few seasons there have been fish caught in June and this season looks the same. What is exciting is that it’s also tuna time. If the marlin bite slows it will do so quickly meaning the water temp will drop, and that should mean jumbo yellowfin tuna.

May and June has always been big fish time for as long as l can remember, but with the seasons seemingly getting later that could now go into July. That’s all good news for the tuna crews. There's already been a smattering of yellowfin caught by the trolling brigade so it may pay to troll some smaller skirted pushers and bibbed minnows for the yellowfin. If you do locate them, revert to cubes and berley and try to hold them behind the boat. This doesn’t always work but when it does it’s memorable. You can expect albacore as well and if sharks are your choice there will be some decent makos following the tuna schools.

At Montague Island the kings have been excellent; it's the best action scene this season with almost all fish legal and in quantities. Local charter operators are happy lads at present with bag limits reached on the majority of trips. That’s great for the punters, with loads of fun and a great feed for the pan.

The kings have responded best to live bait, especially the bigger models upwards of 90cm, though jigs and squid fished on flasher rigs have also worked. I expect this action to continue as long as the current keeps pushing south and the water remains a good colour and doesn’t turn over.

June should also see a few hoodlums make their presence felt, with kings to 20kg and bigger possible. These brutes are usually around the Fowlhouse Reef chasing sauris so they can be hard to entice, but if you do connect with one be ready. A few yellowfin tuna might make Montague home also, so anchoring or drifting the northern end of the island with cubes/berley might be an option.

ESTUARIES

In the estuaries the water has finally cleared and it has helped the fishing immensely. Wagonga inlet has woken up with the main channel east of the bridge excellent for bream, trevally and blackfish. The bait brigade has fared best here with striped tuna cubes and fresh prawns ideal for the bream and trevally, with nippers and green weed perfect for the blackfish. Anchoring up on the draining tide is the go. A little berley will help but don't overdo it.

In the main basin tailor numbers are on the increase, with fish to 2kg being caught. The bigger fish are holding deeper so trolling deeper bibbed minnows has worked a treat. You will get the chopper sized fish on the surface casting shiners or softies, and the birds will tell you where they are.

If you’re after a mulloway now is the time to target one. With the tailor about, casting bigger plastics around the tailor school fringes should see a fish or two encountered. You also have a great chance at a big dusky flathead, as there have been some cracking fish to 90cm caught recently.

Up at Tuross it has taken a little longer to clear, especially in the river section, but it’s all systems go now. There are good bream and estuary perch around the snags upstream of the main highway bridge, and smaller hardbodies with a rattle have worked well. Softies fished deep into the timber have also been getting results. You will find that the EPs will move towards the front of the system over the coming weeks (don’t forget that the closed season starts on June 1).

The lower reaches are holding plenty of flatties. A few crocs are still being captured but you do have to work for them. There are a few salmon and tailor entering the system too so if all else fails some fun can be had with them.

ROCK AND BEACH

On the ocean beaches and rocks it’s business as usual with a few solid bream coming from the sand. Both Brou and Coila have produced good bream on worms so it’s worth a look.

What is good to see is the increase in salmon. Last month they were hard to find but they have really turned up now. Casting shiners will work; you get to cover a lot of ground and find the fish, not them finding you.

Expect blackfish, drummer and groper from Blackfellows headland using cut crab and cunjevoi. A little berley used sparsely will help catch rates also.

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