Top offshore action
  |  First Published: September 2007

Flat, calm seas have allowed many anglers to venture outside and they have been pleasantly surprised at some outstanding angling over the inshore reefs and deeper canyon walls.

Snapper to 7kg, with many fish between 4kg and 6kg, have succumbed to fresh baits. Most of this action has been a little further north of Narooma with the grounds off Potato Point and Tuross the hot spots.

Deeper water between 60m and 70m is the go with fresh squid, pilchards and bonito strips the top baits. Bags of 20 fish per boat have been common but six to eight good fish per session has been the norm.

Out wider, the deeper canyon walls off Tuross and east of Montague Island have seen some great action. Droplining for blue-eye has been dynamite for fish to 15kg.

The sea conditions have been ideal with little or no current and light wind, allowing you to fish very deep.

But conventional bottom-bouncing methods won’t work here but while big Alvey winches are the go, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. This action will continue for a few months yet with a few hapuka on the cards to as the month goes on.

At Montague Island the bottom fishing has been consistent for snapper, morwong and trevally. The reefs on the inside south-western corner have been good, as has further down south around Auginish Rock. With no tide, the kings have been slow but the few times the current did trickle south, they really fired up on jigs. A week or so ago a mate bagged out on fish averaging 5kg – good stuff for Winter and this month used to traditionally be the start of the kingfish jig season. Let’s hope they do the right thing.

If they do turn up, the northern end of the island or Fowlhouse Reef are the places to fish. Expect a few bonito, too, trolling smaller bibbed minnows and jigs.

Out on the shelf there have been sightings of bluefin tuna but I have not heard of one being caught locally as yet. As the water warms further this month, yellowfin tuna and albacore are possible but everything hinges on ocean currents, bait and water temperatures.

We have caught good yellowfin at this time of year before but I suspect next month will be a better proposition.


On the beaches, anglers have had success with salmon, tailor and bream. It’s been a little up and down, depending on beach formations and whitewater, but the beaches further south of Narooma have certainly fished the best.

Beaches like Tilba, 1080, Handkerchief and Narooma Main have all produced at certain times.

Lighter outfits with a little more finesse seem to be working in the calmer conditions with live beach worms, pipis, bluebait and surf poppers the best baits to tempt them.

Using a little berley in the shore dump will definitely help, especially for the bream.

If you’re after some larger prey from the sand, September is a great month to target mulloway and gummy sharks. You’ll have to put in the hard yards but it could be worth it.

Better beaches for the bigger fish are Tilba, Brou and Blackfellows, just south of Tuross. Fresh squid, live beach worms and salmon fillets are the pick of the baits, with a rising tide after dark the gun time to target one.

Anglers fishing the stones have done it tough lately with the flat seas. This will change once we get some decent whitewater around the ledges, when the usual bread-and-butter species will be available from the regular haunts.

The golf course rocks in town usually fire for blackfish this month, as does the southern breakwall as the blackfish head back up the estuary. Expect a few yellowfin bream and mullet schools will be on the increase.


Wagonga Inlet has fished quite well all Winter with flathead, bream, tailor and trevally the main catches. Expect the fishing to get better as we head further into the month with gradually warming water.

The bigger flathead in the upper reaches will wake up now, some making their way downstream to the channels. I’ve found that September produces a few big mummas in the channels and I, for one, will certainly be targeting them.

Expect some good bream in the channels, too, especially towards the entrance on the run-in tide. Using smaller softies will work but the leatherjackets might drive you nuts in the crystal-clear water. I’d be anchoring up, berleying and using striped tuna cubes or fresh prawns for bait. A few decent trevally will be on the cards also.

Up at Tuross, the water is clearing nicely after the Winter rains but the bream fishing has been a little hit-and-miss. There have been a few fish around the snags and rock bars but they are quite spooky.

A lot of the fish we have managed lately have come on hardbodies with a couple of fish nudging a kilo but they are hard work. The water has been very cold with some sections a crazy 8°. This will improve as the weeks pass and hopefully wake up the bream.

The lower sections of the estuary have been fishing quite well for flathead, despite the cool water. Smaller plastics have worked well with slow retrieves the go. Last season the flatties started to really chew in September with the water at 20° but that was also when the system was closed to the ocean.

I expect the water to take more time this year to warm but when it does, get ready for some great angling.

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