Tantalising offshore offerings
  |  First Published: February 2016

What a great summer it has been for those fishing the local estuaries around the Narooma region. Both Narooma’s Wagonga Inlet and Tuross Lake have been on fire, and all species have come on the chew at some point during the day or night. Big flathead (to 95cm) and mulloway are high on anglers’ lists, with both species caught in both systems and in good numbers.

Most models are caught on soft plastics, though some of the big flathead have fallen to live poddy mullet fished hard on the bottom. The fish are widespread through the systems, with every day’s success made on different techniques. However, patterns have emerged for those switched on enough to see the signs.

At Tuross, the surface action is awesome to say the least, as bream and whiting hit surface walk baits and poppers with gusto. It’s probably the best start to a season l can recall, and 20-30 fish a session has become the norm, which is excellent fishing.

The whiting average 33-35cm, these are solid fish and great tucker for the pan. If estuary perch is what you are looking for, the fishing has been excellent. I’ve had some great sessions there lately, often with a result of 20+ fish. The trick is to find the snag that’s holding the fish that want to eat. Once you do that you can expect some serious fun from these little brutes. A few of the EP’s are nudging 45cm. A little further upstream you’ll find bass are going great guns on spinnerbaits. It’s been a cracking bass season this far and will continue for a while yet.

The smaller estuaries like Mummaga Lake (Dalmeny) and Corunna Lake just south of Narooma both fish well. They are loaded with eating sized flathead to 50cm with some cracking bream too. Again, plastics are the optimum choice, but smaller blades catch their fair share too. Fish the lower sections of these estuaries for some great results.


Offshore is in full swing with the water temperature hovering from 22-25°C depending on prevailing currents. With water like this, both striped and black marlin will make their presence felt. It’s usually this time of year that the smaller blacks up to 80kg start to patrol the inshore currents. Places like Montague Island, the reefs off Potato Point and Tuross are all worth a look, especially if striped tuna and slimy mackerel schools are present.

Out wider, striped marlin, yellowfin tuna, mahimahi and various shark species will be on the cards. The shelf is a great starting spot, and many anglers fish there. Some days the fish may be wider, closer to the second drop-off or further up the coast around the Tuross canyons.

Trolling skirted lures or slow trolling live mackerel and striped tuna are both great ways to catch fish at this time of year. I prefer to troll lures until I find concentrations of fish, and then use live bait as required. Switch baiting is also popular for wise game crews and can prove deadly on marlin at times – especially striped marlin. It’s pretty impressive viewing to watch an 80kg fish eat live-bait only meters from the transom, awesome stuff.

Inshore the kingies have been good at Montague Island with jigs, live bait and squid on flasher rigs working well. The fish are quite widely spread but the northern end has seen a lot of the action. The kings aren’t huge, averaging 4kg but there are some bigger models mixed in with the school fish. Early morning has seen bust-ups of these bigger fish as they hammer the saury bait schools. A lot of this action happens on the Fowl House Reef and the northwest corner of the island. Expect this action to continue but remember early mornings are usually the best time to target them on the surface.

Anglers who like to target the bread and butter species like snapper, flathead, long finned perch and morwong should have little trouble finding a feed. Almost all reefs will hold fish with Potato Point the pick of them. Use fresh squid, pilchards and striped tuna fillets to see some quality action. Those after flathead should have no worries with the 35m line off Kianga a good-starting point.

The local beaches continue to fish well for bream, salmon, tailor and whiting. Most beaches hold fish, the beaches south of Narooma are the pick of the bunch. Fish either Tilba, 1080 or Camel Rock as these beaches have produced some great captures over recent weeks. Live beach worms has been the stand-out bait, and coupled with a running sinker rig is ideal – especially when the beach conditions are calm.

Salmon, tailor and bonito can be expected off the ocean rocks with most rock platforms producing, however, Mystery Bay to the south of Narooma is the pick of the bunch. You will have to get there early, as this is only a small ledge that doesn’t hold many anglers. Fresh pillies on ganged 4/0 hooks is the best way to tempt them. Use only a small ball sinker straight down to the hook and slowly wind the pilchard back to you. A few kingfish are caught this same way every year, so using slightly heavier tackle will at least give you a fighting chance of landing one. Throw larger chromed lures, around 40-50g is ideal. If you’re after a feed, then bream, blackfish, and trevally are possible options in the washes. Fish lightly weighted baits like fresh prawns or cunjevoi for best results. A little bit of berley will help to chase these bread and butter fish.

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