Tackle up for tuna
  |  First Published: September 2014

Tuna, tuna and more tuna, that’s the word around this neck of the woods with game fishos licking their chops with some of the best SBT action seen for years. It’s been a fantastic month for these speedsters with the average fish around 45-50kg. These are small compared to some of the stories of monster barrels being lost after many hours hooked up.

I know of at least 8 monster SBT lost after pulling hooks, which will happen when trolling lures. One boat had a five way hook-up of fish over 70kg with only two landed, both over 80kg. There’s been even bigger barrels landed over the last week with the best I’ve heard of going 119kg – that’s a big fish!

With the way the water is looking (temperature 19-20ºC) and the eddie that’s formed off Narooma this action may continue for a few weeks yet. Everything will depend on Mother Nature, but let’s hope this pocket of water stays on our door step for a little longer.

The SBT are wide of the shelf. Every day is a little different to their whereabouts but generally speaking the inside edge of the eddie is around 40 miles out. The fish have responded well to trolling, especially the bigger barrels. Those who have got the fish to the boat after hooking up and keeping them there with pilchards have been getting a lot of the school fish. Once you have them at your transom then jigs, cubes and big stickbaits will all catch them. When they’re like that, they’re not too fussy and are all revved up. But if a monster barrel is for you, then trolling skirted pushers or big bibbed minnows is the go.

There’s been the odd yellowfin mixed in with the blues; 60kg is the best I’ve heard.

There was a report of a very big striped marlin hooked too, plus a few short-billed spearfish landed. I know that sounds mad for late winter but it’s true!

At Montague Island the kings have been pretty good right through winter and I expect that to continue this month. The last 3 months have been excellent for the kings with fish to 8kg on the cards. Anglers using live bait and jigs will catch plenty, while trolling smaller Xmas Tree lures is also worth a go. The Fowlhouse Reef and the Pinnicles down south of the island is where most of the action is happening.

For those after a bottom feed then snapper is still your best option. The reds are quite wide spread along the inshore reefs, it may take a little time to find them but once you do it’s all systems go. Drifting has been productive when conditions allow as you get to cover more ground. It’s a good idea that when you locate fish, make a GPS mark and anchor upstream about 50m from where your mark. If you berley hard and use cubes you will get the snapper off the bottom and into your trail. It’s not for everyone as some work is involved but more times than not you will improve your catch rates.

In the estuaries it’s been a little slow but that’s to be expected coming out of winter. Wagonga Inlet has been good for the colder pelagic species like salmon, tailor and trevally. The key is to find the white bait schools that are littered throughout the system, once you find them then the action will happen. Try casting small stick-style softies around the edges for best results.

This month will see mulloway enter the system again, every September it’s the same and I expect to see some solid specimens coming from the Wagonga depths in coming weeks. Up at Tuross, the system needs a flush as it’s very clear at present. Anglers are struggling a bit in the crystal clear water, especially those after bream and EPs, but those that are fishing the silly string (3lb) are still getting results although working hard. There’s a few flatties coming from 4-ways downstream towards the boat shed. I’ve heard of a few 70cm fish coming from this section so it may be worth a look.

A few locals are still getting the odd mulloway to 90cm from the lower section mainly on soft plastics and big vibes, I reckon this season may be a corker for the mulloways in this system. The coming weeks and months will see this waterway fire up again and I can’t wait for it.

The ocean beaches and rocks have been good without being red hot. It really depends on what you want to target but the salmon fishing was good until a few weeks ago. They have copped a flogging of late from the netters south of Narooma, not too sure why they would want to target them as they bring bugger all money but they still flog them.

In the wash up, it’s made these fine beach sports fish harder to find but the better beaches to try are Brou, Tilba and Coila to the north of Tuross. Casting shiners will catch fish, once you locate a patch you will have some fun. Using a paternoster rig will work too, a bait/popper combination is the best presentation.

September will see yellowfin bream around the estuary entrances as they head back inside after spawning. This bread and butter species will only get better as the month rolls on with live beach worms and pipi the gun baits. You should get a few bigger sand whiting mixed in with the bream as well.

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