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Fish chewing big time
  |  First Published: July 2014



The Narooma region has experienced the best few weeks of weather l can remember for a very long time. The water temperature is still hovering at around 19ºC with flat seas, little swell and, best of all, the fish are chewing big time.

Offshore fishos are licking their chops, especially those targeting pelagic species. Both yellowfin and bluefin tuna have been captured out wide off the shelf with a few yellowfin around the 80kg mark. At that size they are formidable opponents on any tackle but on 24kg stand-up you know you’re in for a fight.

The ‘fin have been active between the shelf and Second Drop East on Montague Island. They’re moving around a lot so every day is a little different as to their location.

Trolling larger bibbed minnows and mid-sized pushers in green/purple patterns has worked a treat. This will continue to be a productive method while the water is warm but I’d expect over coming weeks that a berley/cube trail will work even better when the water cools and the fish go deeper. I'd be looking for deep holding bait, temperature breaks and bird activity, then I’d start the berley trail. You can expect plenty of fish to 30kg plus albacore, though they have been a little slow of late.

Those after a solid mako should be rewarded this month, with July traditionally producing quite a few sharks with models upwards of 300kg a real possibility.

At Montague Island the kingfish have been excellent in recent weeks, with bags reached on most outings. The kings are solid fish too, with 4-5kg models the average, though there are some bigger greenbacks upwards of 12kg smacking sauris on the surface.

Both jigs and live baits have worked on the schooled fish when fished deep around the northern end of the island. For the bigger kings, however, slow trolling live slimy mackerel and big deeper divers has been their undoing. This action should continue throughout this month as long as the current keeps pushing south and we don't get an influx of cold water. There maybe a chance at a yellowfin as well, especially with sauris abundant. Let’s cross our fingers that they turn up.

REEFS

Anglers fishing the reefs are having awesome results on snapper, with winter being the premier time to catch them. The last few seasons have seen this excellent eating table fish in solid numbers through the cooler months, and if the reports are half true on what's been captured recently it's all systems go!

The cooler months tend to see the bigger reds as well, with multiple fish over 5kg on the cards. They also tend to come close to shore chasing the cuttlefish run, so the inshore reefs off Brou and Potato Point are definitely worth a look. Both drifting and anchoring will work, and which option you choose should depend mainly on current and tidal movement.

ESTUARIES

In the estuaries it's slowing up considerably due to the dropping water temperatures, with flattie numbers dwindling as the days go by. Wagonga lnlet has slowed to a crawl for these bottom dwellers. You will still get the odd fish but you’ll have to work for them. I'd be concentrating in the upper reaches past the four knot zone if l was after a feed of flatties. If these are your target species, Tuross would certainly be the place to target them. You will still work hard for them but you should be able to get a feed in the river section concentrating in water depths from 1-3m and fishing smaller soft plastics very slowly along the bottom.

What will fire up in both these systems is the pelagic species like salmon, tailor and trevally, especially in Wagonga lnlet. Tailor numbers have been excellent of late with some big salmon mixed in with them. They are following and feeding on the whitebait schools which are everywhere at present. Just look out for the chopping tailor and feeding birds. When the tailor are feeding you can expect trevally, snapper, bream and possibly mulloway under them, picking up scraps and feeding on the whitebait as well.

Closer to the entrance in the main channel, good numbers of blackfish are falling to well-presented weed baits under a float. Anglers fishing the flooding tide seem to be doing better, and using a little berley will also improve catch rates.

If you’re casting smaller softies in the fast water, good trevally and bream will be on offer. I'd be concentrating my efforts on the draining tide, with the bottom two hours being prime time.

ROCK AND BEACH

The ocean beaches and rocks have had little or no swell of late. This has made fishing quite difficult, especially for salmon and tailor. These species are still there but they are hard to entice with no white water.

For the beach goer, first and last light is the time to fish. Once that sun is above the horizon for an hour or so, go home or you will be wasting your time. The only way things will improve will be when we get swell and white water. It will happen, it’s just a matter of time.

Anglers targeting bream have fared better, particularly when fishing rockier corners of south-facing beaches. Live beach worms and pipis are the better baits to use, and may result in some big winter whiting also playing the game. The better beaches to try include Brou, Tilba and the southern end of Narooma main beach.

For the rock-hopper, the golf course rocks in town, Mystery Bay to the south of Narooma and Dalmeny headland are all worth a look for bream, blackfish, groper and drummer. All these species will chew better once we get some heavy seas, with cunjevoi, prawns, cabbage weed and bread all good baits at certain times.

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