This is the last month that any of us can fish anywhere within the Batemans Marine Park sanctuary zone fiasco.
If one of your favourite fishing spots lies in one of these sanctuary zones, make the most of it before June 30; after that you can kiss those hotspots goodbye.
On a positive note, the beaches around Narooma have been exceptional. Massive tailor to 5kg have also been captured but I suspect these bigger fish will move on this month, with smaller fish up to 2kg being the norm.
Salmon numbers are also increasing with fish to 4kg taking bait and lures. This action should only get better as we head further into Winter. These fish love the cooler water.
Best baits to use for the salmon and tailor are whole pilchards, blue bait, white bait and metal shiners. Most beaches will hold fish but the better ones are Tilba, Brou, Congo, Narooma Main and Blackfellows.
Expect a few bream, too, especially if using beach worms or pipis. A lighter outfit for targeting the bream will pay dividends.
On the stones, the action has been varied with some days great and others a little slow.
Blackfish and drummer numbers are increasing now the water is cooling with some drummer pushing 3kg. At that size they are brutes and heavy-handed tactics are required to land them.
Most locals are getting the better bags when the seas are lumpy with a lot of whitewater around. This has varied a lot with May/June generally having flatter seas than other times.
The general rule is you find some whitewater, your chances of getting a decent bag increase. The golf course ledges, Mystery Bay and Dalmeny Headland would be the pick of the spots with cabbage, cunjevoi, bread and abalone gut the best baits.
It’s worth a look if you’re keen on a decent snapper from the rocks. These guys tend to move in close during June with cuttlefish and squid the prime baits. Best spots are definitely Mystery Bay and the rocks up at Potato Point.
Outside, the kingfish action at Montague Island has been pretty consistent, with most anglers getting fish every day. Bag sizes vary from day to day, as does the size of the kings, but overall they have been good.
Fish are averaging 4kg, particularly on live bait, with the odd hoodlum up to 12kg there to stretch lines, rods, drags and backs.
The smaller kings have been prolific on jigs with the best action down the southern end of the island around the pinnacles. A lot of these fish are undersize so make sure they’re legal length.
This month the bigger kings could be on the surface around the north-west corner or Fowlhouse Reef. Every year some massive kings turn up here, smashing saury schools. Fish to 20kg are hooked regularly but not many are landed in the shallow water.
Trolling live slimy mackerel or big bibbed minnows seems to be the better way to target them. Expect some XOS bonito on the live baits as well.
Out wider, yellowfin tuna and albacore can be expected. We have seen some massive fish already and I think this season will be longer than recent previous ones. The water is still 21° out the front and if it stays around or gets slightly cooler, the action could be the best for years.
Trolling big skirted lures and bibbed minnows will work but for the bigger fish berley, live bait and cubing is definitely the way to go. Look for the vital signs such as bait on the sounder, temperature changes, working birds and current or tide lines.
The estuaries continue to fish well for most species with flathead still on the chew. Wagonga Inlet has been a standout with massive flathead being caught regularly.
I had the pleasure of guiding youngster Justin Barrington, 10, to his best flathead, a horse of 95cm that weighed close to 7kg – a great effort on 6lb braid in deep water. It took the young fella 10 minutes to land with a little help from his older brother, Michael, towards the end.
It’s great to see kids fishing and learning new aspects of the sport at a young age and I don’t get sick of seeing their smiling faces. The fish was released in great condition for someone else to enjoy.
Numerous other fish to 90cm have also been caught and I think June is going to be a great month for the bigger models. Soft plastics are working well with smaller presentations certainly outfishing bigger lures.
Bream, legal snapper and big tailor have also been around in the deeper sections of the main basin with Barlows Bay a good starting point. Lures and fresh bait are both working with the run out tide fishing best.
Up the back of the system, the bream have been OK on soft plastics and hard-bodies with still quite a few fish being caught on poppers.
The mulloway action has slowed somewhat but if you do get one this month, it will be larger. The coolish waters seem to be best for big fish in this system.Reads: 2023