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Ocean offers up some surprises
  |  First Published: June 2016



The local beaches around the Narooma region have been nothing short of exceptional, with some monster tailor making a welcome return. These greenbacks have nudged 6kg on some beaches, brutes for this area and great fun on the right tackle.

Most have fallen to bait fished on paternoster rigs with wire within the rig.Anglers who fish mono rigs haven’t had a chance against the tailor teeth. If you want to target them, wire trace is a must. Yes, you minimise the chances of catching other species, but at least you will land the greenbacks if they turn up.

Salmon numbers are also on the increase, with bigger fish to 4kg succumbing to bait and lures. The salmon action will only get better as we head further into winter, these fine sportsfish love the cooler water temperatures that this time of year brings.

The best bait to use for salmon and tailor are whole pilchards, blue bait, white bait and metal shiners. Most beaches will hold fish, but the better beaches are Tilba, Brou, Narooma Main and Blackfellows. Expect a few bream too, especially if you use beach worms or pipi for bait. Use a lighter outfit to target the bream – this will pay immediate dividends.

On the stones, the action has varied with some days great and others a little slow. Blackfish and drummer numbers are on the increase now the water is cooling, with some drummer pushing 3kg. At that size they are brutes to hold, and heavy handed tactics are required to land them. Most locals get the better bags when the seas are lumpy and with a lot of white water around. This has varied a lot as winter generally has flatter seas than other months. The general rule is to find the white water and you will find the fish. The golf course ledges, Mystery Bay and Dalmeny headland are the pick of the spots to try, with cabbage, cunjevoi, bread and prawns the best baits. This month is also the time to score a decent snapper from the rocks. These guys tend to move in close during June when the cuttlefish run. Try High Rock at Mystery Bay plus the rocks off Jamieson Point at Potato Point.

Outside, the kingfish action at Montague Island has been consistent with most anglers catching fish every day. Bag sizes vary from day to day, as does the size of the kings but overall they have been good. Fish are averaging 4kg, and have been quite particular to live baits with the odd hoodlum up to 12kg caught. The smaller fish are prolific on jigs with the best action happening down the southern end of the island around the pinnacles. A lot of these fish are under-sized, so getting the legal models can be time consuming but a lot of fun. This month the bigger kings could be on the surface around the North West corner or Fowl House Reef. Every year some massive kings turn up here smashing saury schools – let’s hope this year is no different. Fish to 20kg are hooked regularly, but not many landed due to the shallow water. Troll live slimy mackerel or big bibbed minnows to target them. Expect some XOS bonito on live bait also!

Out wider, yellowfin tuna and albacore can be expected with big fish on the cards. We have seen some solid tuna already and I believe we are in for a cracking season. The water is still 20°C out the front and if this stays around or gets slightly cooler, the action could be the best it has been for years. Troll big skirted lures and bibbed minnows, but for the bigger fish, berley, live bait and cubing is the dominant option. Look out for the vital signs –bait on the sounder, temperature breaks, working birds and current or tide lines.

The estuaries continue to fish well for most species and flathead are still on the chew. Wagonga Inlet has been a standout, with flathead to 88cm caught regularly. I know local guru Hoots recently captured an 88cm fish – a superb effort on bream gear. Soft plastics work well with smaller presentations certainly out-fishing bigger lures. It’s interesting at times that these bigger fish will eat smaller presentations before bigger lures, I’m not sure why, but the old saying ‘elephants eat peanuts’ certainly rings true at times.

Bream, legal snapper and big tailor have also been around in the deeper sections of the main basin with Barlows Bay a good starting point. Lures and fresh bait both work, with the run-out tide fishing best. Up the back of the system, the bream have been alright on soft plastics and hardbodies with quite a few fish caught on poppers. The mulloway action has slowed somewhat, but if you do get one this month it will be on the big side. The coolish waters seem to be best for big fish in this system.

Concentrate around the tailor schools, which are abundant throughout the system. The main basin holds a lot of whitebait so this would be a good place to start. Up at Tuross, it’s business as usual. There’s plenty of smaller flathead through the system, with the lower reaches holding a few bigger girls to 80cm.

There have been reports of mulloway encounters at night by bait fishers, so expect to see a few caught by anglers who fish soft plastics and bigger vibe lures. Again, the lower sections on the draining tide are the time and place to have a crack.

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