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More than marlin to get excited about
  |  First Published: March 2015



Marlin, marlin, marlin! That's the word of all the game fishers’ lips. Now’s the time to get out and tangle with a billed behemoth.

Offshore

Offshore it’s the best marlin season seen for a very long time with striped marlin in excellent numbers. Some crews are getting 8-10 shots a day, which is world class action. The recent Tollgate Classic out of Batemans Bay just north of Tuross saw 106 marlin tagged and released in 2 days, now that’s a lot of beakies in anyone’s language!

Then at Bermagui at their comp they to tagged in excess of 100 marlin – another ridiculous haul! If you work out how many more were lost and then raised, it gives you an idea of how many there are at present, it’s awesome.

The better fishing has been wide with the shelf to the second drop being the hot spot, though every day is a little different with current and water temperature. The fish have responded well to trolled pushers, with darker purple coloured skirts being a consistent colour to troll.

Quite a few crews are switch baiting with live slimy mackerel after teasing them up. This method is dynamite with better catch rates, though you do require an organised deck for best results.

There’s been a few decent sized black marlin to 150kg caught on skip baits with striped tuna and bonito the preferred baits to use.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few blue marlin captured in coming weeks to. The water wide of the seamounts is 26°C, that’s hot and ideal for blues.

With the beakies there’s been plenty of big mahimahi upwards of 20kg, which are solid fish. The colours of these fish is something to see, with their eating qualities just as great.

There’s been a few short-billed spearfish plus smaller yellowfin tuna to 30kg caught, especially when trolling. With the water being so warm at a consistent 24°C, this red-hot action will definitely continue and I for one can’t wait to get out there and give it a crack.

Closer to shore at Montague Island the kings have been a little sporadic, which is surprising considering the current and water quality there. There’s plenty of kings around the 60cm mark, but getting the legal sized models has been difficult. Those who have done OK are trolling bigger deep diving minnows around the shallower southern reef sections, this method has worked on fish to 90cm so it’s worth a go for sure.

The reefs are still holding snapper but can be hard to find in any numbers. Moving around until you locate them is the go, but once you do a quality feed will be had. The southwest corner of Montague would be a good starting point.

Rivers

Over the last month or so the Narooma/Tuross region has received in excess of 400mm of rain, which has made the fishing a little tough, especially in the Tuross River system. The river flooded with the peak height at over 11m at Eurobodalla, which is the biggest I’ve seen for a very long time. This fresh has given the system the flush it needed, it’s gouged out the entrance to be at a depth around 2-3m at high tide, which is awesome to see.

The tidal difference is around 1m between high and low, which hasn’t been seen here for a long time. This has made the fishing a little more difficult in the lower sections, especially around the peak moon periods with strong tidal movements. But in saying this, the mulloway have entered the system in good numbers and are hungry. Catching multiple fish in a session is occurring regularly with one of our guiding days yielding 3 mulloway and a couple of others lost. These fish fell to larger soft plastics and soft vibes with fishers trolling deep diving minnows also getting results.

The fish are averaging 65-75cm, so not monsters but there’s still the odd meter job being caught. If the bait continues to hold there, I can’t see any reason why this action won’t continue for a few months yet.

If the mulloway are quiet, there’s plenty of flatties to be caught with the majority of fish around the 40cm mark. You will get the odd better fish but you do have to work for them at present. Those die-hards who love to throw surface presentations like walk-baits and poppers are getting fantastic results.

There’s plenty of bream and whiting throughout the system with the main basin being excellent. The bream numbers are the best I've seen for many years with some great fish to 42cm being captured. These bream are clean fish, so I expect with the deeper entrance that new populations are entering the system on the flooding tides. It’s the same with the whiting, they too have been good with captures throughout the system.

Further upstream the bass have really fired up after the flood with switched on anglers getting plenty on surface walkers and spinnerbaits. Small running deep diving hardbodies have also been deadly with bait soakers doing well on scrub worms.

At Wagonga, it’s surprisingly tough – I’m not sure why! The baitfish and tailor are there but the bigger fish like mulloway and flathead are on holidays it seems. This will hopefully change in coming weeks as the 6th Flathead Classic starts soon, so we want to see all anglers getting amongst the fish and have a great time.

Though the big fish are hard, the channels have plenty of whiting, bream and trevally to keep you interested. Casting smaller plastics will work, though anglers fishing bait like worms and nippers will do well too.

Beaches

The beaches have been excellent for bream and whiting with Coila, Blackfellows and Tilba Main beaches the ones to fish. Casting lightly weighted baits like worms and pipi just past the shore dump will see plenty of fish caught. Look for those deeper gutters close to shore with the rockier corner at the southern end of Coila a good place to start.

There’s been a few salmon and tailor caught with the odd mulloway and gummy shark but they have been a little tougher of late. I’d be concentrating at Tilba if targeting the bigger fish, there’s a cracking deep gutter around 8ft deep there currently.

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