Narooma shows its versatility
  |  First Published: January 2015

Well the holiday crowd has dwindled slightly over recent times, making it a little easier at the local boat ramps, but for those that have been getting out early the results have certainly been worthwhile.

The estuaries continue to produce after recent heavy rains, with the water quality improving each day. Both Wagonga Inlet and Tuross have been the pick, with the latter excellent for flathead. The Tuross entrance is the deepest I've seen it for a very long time — 6-8’ on a high tide, with tidal height differences of a metre or so. I can't ever recall seeing this height variation, so all looks promising for this quality south coast estuary.

With continual fresh water entering the system, it has really fired up. There have been plenty of crocs (85cm plus) captured, with the lower, deeper sections around 6-10m being ideal. These larger female models have responded well to larger soft plastics, vibes and live poddy mullet. Anglers fishing the runout tide are faring best, with the slightly warmer water from the river stirring the big girls up. There's plenty of eating sized models available also, so getting a feed shouldn't be too hard.

Those fishos after sport are finding a few mulloway too. The best I've heard of went 94cm, so a solid fish, and was taken on a vibe in 3m of water.

The various sandflats in the river and main basin have seen some solid bream and whiting caught by anglers fishing walkers and poppers. This type of visual fishing is great fun and l expect it to only get better as the water warms further. Less boat traffic certainly helps.

At Narooma, Wagonga Inlet has been great for bream upstream from the 4-knot sign. The various oyster racks and flats that this part of the system is loaded with is the place to fish. Again, walkers fished with a stop-start-pause retrieve have been excellent. You can expect a few whiting and the occasional flathead also. The main basin has seen a few mulloway caught, with the occasional flathead and snapper. This place will really fire up when the boat traffic slows and I for one can't wait.

Offshore at Montague Island, it's been a little sporadic to say the least. A lot depends on prevailing conditions like water temperature and tidal flow as to when the kingfish will bite. The last few weeks has seen cold, dirty water in close, which has made the pelagic fishing tough. This will change though, and when it does it will be all systems go. Even with the dirty water there's still the odd king being caught, but you do have to work for them.

The fish that have been biting have responded best to live baits and jigs. Further offshore, the game fishing fraternity are having a field day, with the water temperature and quality of water excellent. Marlin is the word, with some crews getting a handful of shots daily. Most boats are trolling skirted pushers and/or switch baiting with live slimy mackerel. This is a dynamite way to target them and a whole stack of fun.

Most of the marlin are stripes, with the odd fish pushing 120kg, though there has been reports of a few bigger blue marlin winning their freedom. The action is happening along the shelf line, with the Kink and Tuross canyons a good starting point. The second dropoff has seen action with the blues.

Mixed in with the marlin are mahimahi, the odd wahoo, and shortbill spearfish, so the water is pretty good in quality. There's been the odd smaller school sized yellowfin to 30kg caught, plus some sizeable sharks if that's what you like to target. The next 3 months will be red hot further offshore, so now’s the time to get out there.

Those after a feed of bottom fish should do okay, with flatties, snapper, pigfish and morwong all there for the taking. I'd be looking up towards Potato Point or Tuross for the reds, with the 30-35m line the go for the flatties. You’re a chance at a gummy shark too, if fishing the sand/gravel areas.

On the beaches the whiting have really fired up, with some anglers getting their bags inside a few hours. They are solid fish, with the majority around 35cm, which are nice specimens for here. There's a few bream mixed in, with the odd salmon also. I've heard a few reports of mulloway coming from both Coila and Blackfellows beaches, with 10kg-plus models mainly caught on fresh tailor fillets and bunches of live beach worms. The beach action will continue for a while yet.

Those fishing the rocks are doing well on salmon, tailor and bonito. Casting metal shiners and whole ganged pilchards will work, with kings a real possibility too. I had a mate of mine who got dusted up several times on a local platform using poppers. He said they were solid kings around 8kg, but had no chance of landing them. You should be able to snare a feed of drummer, blackfish and bream in the washes, with fresh prawns and cabbage the gun baits to use.

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