Beaches and estuaries fire up
  |  First Published: April 2007

With the recent heavy rains, the estuaries and beaches around Narooma have benefited considerably.

While the fishing was quiet for a few days after the rain with the increased fresh, that has certainly turned around now and we can expect the next few months to be quite outstanding.

The fishing in the estuaries was really pretty good before the big wet. Tuross Lake to the north of Narooma was fishing exceptionally for big flathead, bream, whiting, snapper, blackfish and tailor. All the usual methods were producing with fresh strip baits, local prawns, live poddy mullet and the ever-reliable soft plastics doing the most damage.

Because this estuary was closed but reopened after the rain, the majority of the action was down the front of the system. Open to the sea again, the lake rose a staggering 1.87m within a few days after the rain stopped.

It is now tidal again and the fishing should only get better as the water slowly clears. This will take quite along time as there’s a lot of fresh still coming down the Tuross River from the mountains.

But don’t let the dirty water deter you, it is still fishing very well. I had a session with clients there five days after it opened up and it was still excellent with around 40 flathead and some nice bream for the day. All fish fell to plastics and a slow presentation was the key to success in the dirty water.

A few of the local lads are getting good whiting, bream and mullet on the flats now they are covered with new water. Yabbies and squirt worms are ideal baits.

Expect a few mulloway to be lurking down the front of the system, especially in the late afternoon on a rising tide when the mullet enter the estuary mouth.


At Wagonga Inlet things are back to normal after the down pour. Sure, it got very dirty, too, but with the huge volume of water each tide cycle provides those crystal-clear waters are now back.

Bream, flathead, snapper, whiting and blackfish have all played the game with some respectable bags captured. The lower reaches of the estuary are fishing better with Barlows, Ringland and Fosters bays all producing fish. The main channel has also picked up with bream, whiting and flathead available on the eastern side of the bridge on the run-out tide. Fresh prawns, nippers and lures are working best.

With all the fresh coming out of the estuaries, the beaches have really fired up. Congo, Blackfellows and Brou beaches to the north have been exceptional. Big salmon, tailor, bream and mulloway are all making the suds home with pilchards, squid strips and bluebait the best.

The top of the tide and first couple of hours of the run-out tide have been the best times to wet a line especially on Blackfellows Beach. When the Tuross Lake starts to run out, fishing the southern side of the entrance has been dynamite along this beach section.

At Narooma, the main beach has been the pick with a few decent mulloway being captured. A visiting fisho had a great time after the golf course lakes opened up when he managed a 17kg mulloway on chicken – yep, chicken – and he also told me he lost a bigger fish a little earlier in the session. That’s a great effort from the sand and the tackle he caught it on would have looked more at home in the museum, not on the beach. Some guys have all the luck!


Montague Island has really fired up with kingfish numbers on the improve. Anglers targeting these fine fish have not been disappointed with bag limits reached inside a few hours on some occasions. The fish are averaging 3kg to 4kg with the odd bigger specimen up to 8kg.

Most methods are working with live slimy mackerel fished close to the bottom a stand-out for the larger fish. Jigs, squid and lead-lining have also produced the goods, though the size of the fish caught is generally smaller.

On the reefs, snapper and morwong to 2kg have been prolific with the sand and gravel patches between the reefs holding some oversized sand and tiger flathead.

The washes around the southern end of Montague Island have also seen good snapper to 3kg caught by anglers throwing soft plastics towards the island. Tweaking the plastics back from the shallows into deeper water has seen some quality action and great fun.

The game fishing scene is in full swing with numerous captures of striped and black marlin. Some switched-on boat crews are having six to eight shots a day at these majestic fish and usually tagging two or three fish. That’s not bad for the South Coast with most fish falling to trolled skirted lures and switch-baiting.

The fish are widespread, depending on currents, but most anglers are having best results from the shelf to the second drop-off. Water temperature is hovering around 23° with sporadic captures of yellowfin tuna to 15kg.

Expect this action to last a month or so and don’t be surprised if this season lasts a bit longer than previous years. We had a late start to the offshore action and let’s hope the fish gods are on our side for a few months yet!

Anglers fishing the stones have had mixed results mainly due to the fluctuating water temperatures. Some days it’s been 22° degrees and the next back to 16° so it can be a lottery.

When the water has been warm, school kingfish and bonito have been patrolling the outside wash zones. Smaller chrome lures and whole pilchards have accounted for the majority of fish, with livebaits like yellowtail and slimy mackerel also working.

The best ledges are at Mystery Bay and the Golf Course Rocks.

Salmon have been around in numbers most of the time but have been more prolific when the water is slightly colder.

In the washes good blackfish and drummer are possible, with cabbage, ab gut and lightly weighted nippers getting good results. Berley has been a key ingredient to better catch rates. It’s a little more work but the results make it all worthwhile. Dalmeny Headland to the north of Narooma has been the pick of the spots.

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