Wagonga Inlet is fishing like its former glory days, with this month the best l have seen it in many a year. I know that's a big statement, especially when you fish it as regularly as l do, but truly, it's red hot at present. It really doesn't matter what species you want to target, you will catch them with the right methods at the right times, and lure and bait fishos are getting plenty.
A lot of anglers fish Wagonga to target its trophy flathead, and rightly so because it has plenty of crocs on offer. Every year some horses are caught, and this year was no exception. Over the last week our best flattie measured a whopping 97cm, estimated at 7kg in weight, and was in super condition. Stuie Piggott caught the beast on a big Squidgy Fish; it was photographed, then released to fight another day.
The next day he backed up with fish of 68, 75 and 77cm plus 30 other legal flatties, so the place is fishing well. I know of other anglers getting amongst the crocs also, so if a big flattie is for you, get out there and get amongst it.
Jumbo flatties aren’t the only thing chewing; mulloway are in excellent numbers with local fishing nut Jonno Dudley getting some solid fish up to 95cm. Jonno has been using fresh squid, but soft plastic anglers are getting their share too. Visiting fisho Mitch Blomquist landed his first on plastic on a recent guide, which measured 80cm — a nice fish with a few others missed also.
A few of the local young guns got stuck into the mulloway, with one session reaping 3 up to 80cm on plastics and soft vibes. The key to good results is to fish the bait schools that are plentiful at present, with whitebait, pilchards and glassies the predominant species. Throw in a few tailor smacking the schools and you have all the ingredients for a solid mulloway session.
Outside, smaller yellowfin tuna to 40kg have been patrolling the shelf line, with anglers trolling skirted lures and bibbed minnows getting amongst them. There's been reports of a few larger models encountered too, with one fella l was talking to saying he had a double hookup on 60kg plus fish, only to lose both near the boat, which was unfortunate. A few albacore are mixed in with the yellowfin, averaging 8kg or so. These school-sized fish will be around for the next several months; it’s just a matter of locating them and concentrating your efforts around there. Even though lighter tackle up to 15kg is sufficient for this size fish, I would still be using 24kg as you never know when Mr Big will come along.
January will also see an increase in marlin captures, with switched on game crews getting amongst them. Trolling lures and switch baiting are the best methods, with stripes and blacks the most prolific. If fishing wider, blue marlin are on the cards, with every January producing a few hard luck stories. These brutes are generally targeted in very deep water on larger sized lures, so good luck if you connect with one. With the warm water north of us at present, don't be surprised to see mahimahi, spearfish, or even the odd wahoo.
The inshore reefs will continue to fish well, with snapper, morwong, smaller kingfish and flathead available. Reefs like Brou, Potato, Tuross, and the gravel patch off Dalmeny should produce. Use fresh bait where possible; that shouldn’t be too hard to find as the striped tuna schools have been thick in close, so trolling a couple of small Christmas trees will give you all the fresh bait you need.
Out at Montague Island the kingfish have been patchy, with some days great and others poor. When it has fired, jigs have worked particularly well, with the northern end and Fowl House Reef producing. Fish to 8kg can be expected, though the majority will be 3-4kg.
The beach action has been steady without being red hot, though a lot depends on how much swell there is. Bream and whiting have been around, but hard to entice to bite in the calmer conditions. Anglers who have downsized their tackle have had best success, with live worms, pipis, and fresh peeled prawns the best baits. Fishing the rocky corners of beaches on a rising tide close to dark has been the key to good bags. Narooma main beach, Tilba, and Fullers beaches are the best bet at present.
The rock fishing bandwagon looks set to continue on its merry way as luderick and drummer remain on the chew. Last month they were a bit quiet, but recent weeks have been good. Fresh cabbage and prawns are the better baits, with the south wall near Australia Rock a good place to start.
The surface pelagic action should only get better as we head further into summer, with kingfish, striped tuna and frigate mackerel all possible. Fishing early in the morning with chrome slices should produce a fish or two. Using ganged pilchards with a size 1 ball sinker on top will also work, especially if a decent wash zone is present. Try Dalmeny Headland, Mystery Bay, or the golf course rocks for the pelagics.
Solid dusky flathead like this 70cm model will be quite common over coming weeks, especially in Narooma's Wagonga Inlet.
Bream love surface lures and now is the time to use them.Reads: 1124