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Furious fights on the flats!
  |  First Published: November 2015



The local estuaries around the Narooma region have well and truly fired up over recent weeks – partly due to increased water temperature from offshore currents hitting the coastline. More importantly longer warmer days means more heat on the water with temperatures rising quickly especially in the shallows. This has been evident by the increased action on the flats with bream and whiting starting to play the summer game.

On a recent guide we saw15°C water temperature in the morning rise in the shallows to 22°C by early afternoon. With a warm day at around 25°C I wasn’t too surprised to see the water temp rise so quickly. As a flooding tide covered the flats, the fish life increased exponentially. You could see the prawns skipping around with bream and whiting darting everywhere. We were rigged up with smaller softies at the time but quickly changed to surface presentations with an assortment of walk-baits used. What followed was incredible, a two hour non-stop action packed session which included catch of bream, whiting, flathead, and EP's with 40 plus fish caught and all released. An unexpected furious session this early in the season goes to show that as the temperature rises the shallows become a pretty exciting place to fish. This surface action will only get better as we head towards summer with the Tuross River a good place to start.

The upper reaches of Wagonga Inlet are firing up nicely with the area from the 4kn sign upstream the perfect place to throw a lure. If the surface action isn't for you, then the lower reaches in the main basins of both estuaries have been fishing well especially in Wagonga. For deepwater fishing, it’s a dynamite time to fish for mulloway and croc sized flatties on the cards. The place is loaded with whitebait and pilchard schools so it's no wonder the bigger predators are about. I've already heard of some thumping flatties to 93cm caught and mulloway to 85cm as well so it's definitely worth a look.

The bait schools are moving about from day to day but once you locate them you should be in business. Their location is sometimes made more apparent by diving terns after the salmon and tailor have hammered them. These species are great fun to catch too while targeting the bigger prey. I expect this season to be a cracker, everything looks right, we've had a decent recent flush of the system, the bait’s there, the fish are there, we just need you there.

Offshore

Offshore the game crews are getting a tad excited as we've experienced some nice yellowfin tuna action recently. The fish aren't thick but there's enough there to keep you interested with a few models around the 50kg mark. Even at this size, on the right tackle you’re in for some serious fun. If the yellowfin are quiet there's been plenty of albacore hunting the same grounds, with the average fish being 10-14kg. The fish have been wide with most crews waiting till they reach the shelf before setting their lines. Any tell tale signs of life may change this approach but most crews I've spoken with have steamed straight ahead. Depending on water temperature, there's every chance an early season striped marlin might make his presence felt. Last November saw a number of big stripes hooked with a couple landed. Trolling is the go with a mixture of skirted pushers in various sizes proving to be the best method, quite often the smaller skirts in a spread are the fish takers.

Closer to shore, Montague Island is heating up nicely with kingfish and bonito doing the right thing. The kings have been pretty good all spring so far and l can't really see that changing any day soon. They have responded well to a mixture of methods but jigging seems to be getting the desired results. I would be looking at live bait for the bigger fish with the NW corner and Fowl-house reefs worth a look.

Those after a bottom feed of flatties will have little trouble as these tasty morsels are in great numbers right along the coast. Further north off Dalmeny has been excellent with water depths of 35-40m the place to fish. I know of locals getting their 10 fish bag in a drift so the fishing is right on track.

Beaches

On the beaches salmon continue to rule the roost with most fishos having a ball. These pocket sized speedsters are responding to all methods but spinning with chromed slices is a good fun way to catch them. Almost all beaches with a half decent gutter are producing with Narooma main a standout at present. There's a cracking gutter to the south of the beach with bream, whiting and the odd gummy shark. Fishing the flooding tide late into the afternoon and evening seems to be best with beach-worms and pipi the preferred baits to use.

Off the stones the bread and butter brigade like drummer and blackfish have been a little tougher to entice, mainly due to little wash at most platforms. Anglers are working hard for a feed but if you persist and the use the freshest of baits with a little burley you should do well. Platforms l would look at include Dalmeny, the inside of the southern break-wall and the Golfie rocks in town. If you’re after the pelagic speedsters, expect salmon, bonito and smaller kingfish at times. Whole pilchards rigged on lightly weighted ganged hooks or chromed slices will work.

1

Not a monster, but your first mulloway is always great to get on the board.

2

The boys with a solid bag of bream from the flats, they managed over 50 bream for the day and all released.

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