The last few weeks’ weather has been nothing short of abominable, with rain, wind and huge seas meaning fishing’s been non-existent except a few brave souls chancing it in the estuaries. The ocean has been messy, with a huge swell making it impossible to fish offshore, and for those that fish the beaches you may have to wait a little while yet.
But for all the negatives, it will soon turn into huge positives as the estuaries will receive a much needed flush out, the beaches will form new, deeper gutters, and offshore the bottom bouncing for snapper will really fire up.
Before the blow, the game fishing fraternity were getting a little excited about good reports of yellowfin tuna. There were some solid models amongst them too, with the best fish l've heard of going 86kg. Smaller yellowfin to 35kg are more readily available, with the shelf and beyond the place to fish. Trolling has been extremely popular as you’re covering more ground, with bibbed and trolled skirted pushers getting the desired results. I would expect the cube/berley trail option to get rolling as we head further into the month and the fish become a little more concentrated.
Areas like The Kink, Tuross Canyons, the Six and Twelve Mile Reefs are all know hotspots. If the current, water temperature and bait concentrations are there, expect the yellowfin too. Those anglers after bigger toothy prey won't be disappointed either, with mako sharks in excess of 200kg on the cards. These brutes will be following the tuna schools and the slightly cooler water conditions are ideal for them.
At Montague Island, the kings have been tough all season, with 1 out of 4 days producing. That's hard in anyone's books, but if the kings are ever going to fire, this month will be it. The end of autumn-start of winter is prime time for bigger kings, with the north west corner and Fowlhouse Reef the place to fish. Trolling larger bibbed minnows will work, but casting live slimy mackerel into surface bait schools is the gun method. You have to be there at the right time though, with early mornings prime. The last few seasons has seen kings to 25kg caught, so let's hope this season is the same and the seals stay away too.
On the reefs, the recent blow and big seas have done it the world of good. The snapper fishing will be nothing short of exceptional, with reds in excess of 5kg common. I'd expect the inshore reefs to fire nicely, with the cuttlefish run in full swing also. Areas to fish include Potato Point to the north of Narooma, or the close-in reef about halfway along Brou Beach. Both areas will fish well, but try to concentrate your efforts more on the edges of the reef over the gravel patches and not so much on the hard stuff itself. Better baits include squid strips and pilchards, with soft plastics catching fish also.
In the estuaries, Wagonga continues to fire, with the bait very concentrated in the upper reaches near the 4kt area. The place is loaded with tailor, from just legal fish to proper greenbacks of 3kg. These bigger tailor have been caught by deep trolling big hardbodies and live bait fished near the bottom. There's been ample flathead to be caught, but surprisingly not too many big girls over 70cm.
Trevally, bream, snapper and some big salmon have been hammering the bait schools also. Anglers fishing soft plastics on 3-5g jigheads are faring well, with bream responding well to smaller blades fished hard on the bottom. The recent rain has dirtied the water somewhat, but that hasn't slowed the fishing down at all. The only species that has slowed are the mulloway. They have thinned out somewhat over the last few weeks, but hopefully that will change as the bait is still there.
As I've mentioned, the swell has been big, but it will drop off eventually, making it an ideal time to fish the beaches. Most will have some deeper gutters close to shore, therefore long casts won't be needed. I had a quick drive along the coast the other day and almost all had great gutters, with the best at Brou and Kianga. These looked awesome and should be excellent for salmon and tailor, plus bream and bigger winter whiting. I'd be using smaller baits like beachworms and pipis for the bread-and-butter species, with bluebait or pilchards rigged on a paternoster rig incorporating surf poppers ideal for the pelagic species. Don’t be surprised to see a few good gummy sharks and mulloway come from these same gutters.
Off the rocks, blackfish, drummer and groper love the rough stuff. When its safe to fish, the Golfie rocks and Dalmeny Headland will fire for sure. I'd be hitting the washes just around the corner from the main headland in both locations, and fishing lightly weighted baits like half crab or cabbage for all species. I wouldn't bother too much with berley at present and the heavy seas have provided enough l'd think.
The front ledges will produce salmon and tailor, with big fish to 5kg quite a possibility. Casting whole pilchards on ganged hooks will work, as will Shiners around the 40g mark. Cast them long, wind fast and hang on. Let’s hope we have some more stable weather over coming weeks, but May/June usually provides it.Reads: 642