The beak brigade still have something to write home about
  |  First Published: May 2016

The last few weeks has seen some exceptional fishing around the Narooma region with local and visiting anglers having a ball. Most angling techniques are working a treat, it’s just a matter of what you want to target and how.

The Tuross River lake system to the north of Narooma has been a standout with all species chewing at different times. Flathead is probably the main target species for most anglers and they won’t disappoint. Some quality bags have come from the shallower banks both in the river section and lower parts of the main basin with soft plastic fishers faring the best. The size of the flathead varies day to day, but the majority are legal-sized fish with the average at 40-50cm. At this size they are great for the plate but there are bigger fish about. I know of a handful of 80cm+ fish with one at 96cm caught recently. Sure you have to work for them, but the rewards will be awesome.

The lower sections towards the boatshed area from 4-10m has seen quite a few school mulloway caught. These schoolies are anywhere from 65-90cm – not big fish, but still a whole stack of fun if caught on lighter gear. Most fish have responded well to softies, bigger soft vibes and a few on bait. I expect these mulloway to come and go with the tides as the entrance at the moment is quite deep for this system.

If the bigger prey isn’t for you then there are plenty of bream and whiting to be caught. It’s been a cracking season for both these species, the rain came at the right time late last year and gave the system a good flush and now we are reaping the rewards. These bread and butter species are great fun to catch on surface lures, and this is one method anglers are using to target them. It’s not uncommon to get 20-25 fish a day, with plenty more lost.

Wagonga Inlet has been a little slow compared to the usual standard, but if you work hard you will get fish. The lower sections in the channel from the Highway Bridge to the entrance have been solid for bream, whiting, blackfish and trevally. Both bait and lure anglers have had success, with the draining tide best. I’d concentrate on the last two hours of the run-out tide if casting soft plastics, with smaller stickbait models the go. If you use bait keep in mind that fresh prawns or Bass yabbies will work, and tuna cubes are excellent for bream.

Tailor numbers are increasing in the main basin as the water cools further with some decent greenbacks getting around. Every May big tailor enter the system with fish to 3kg and bigger possible. What gets me excited though is what’s following the tailor – mulloway, and big fish too! I know of a few studs already lost the last few weeks by bait anglers fishing big livies at night. It’s just a matter of time until someone gets a 20kg+ fish and I for one hope it happens on my boat. Concentrate your efforts around the early morning tide changes and around the dense bait schools. If you see tailor crashing on top then cast softies to the back edges of the schools.

Offshore, the game crews are still getting among the beakies, though they have thinned out a bit. This is to be expected as the marlin season draws to a close. There will still be the odd fish caught right through May as there always is, and quite often they are bigger solid fish. If I recall last May there were a handful of 140-150kg striped marlin caught. Let’s hope this season is the same.

Yellowfin is what everyone wants, with fish to 90kg and bigger on the cards. These jumbo sized turbo bruisers don’t get to that size for no reason and can be cagey buggers to catch, just like a humble bream on the flats. If the hard yards and time on the water is spent it can be done. Trolling a mixture of deeper divers and skirts should work, though the traditional berley/cube method is foolproof and accounts for the majority of big fish. Where they are is a lottery in itself, a lot will come down to prevailing conditions like bait, water temperature, tide and the like. The shelf is where a lot of crews will start, but if we get the right conditions near Montague Island it may be worth a look there also. There were some solid fish caught last May/June, not jumbos but 50-60kg fish so don’t overlook the northern end of the rock, it just may pay off.

Anglers after kings have done it tough, as they are there one day and not the next. They’ve become notorious for this but when they do play the game, fishers using live bait and jigs have done well at times. Bottom fishing for snapper, morwong, flathead, and in the deeper water blue-eye trevalla has been excellent, so getting a feed shouldn’t be too hard. Most of the inshore reefs are holding fish, it may take a few drifts to locate them but persist and you will get the desired results.

The rocks and beaches continue to fish well for bream, whiting, salmon and tailor. The beaches in particular have been good with Narooma Main, Brou and Tilba to the south the pick of them. Each of these beaches has plenty of deep gutters close to shore so all are worth a look. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few gummy sharks come from Brou Beach either, it’s this region’s hot spot for them and it’s a great time of year to target them.

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