Kingfish conquer the coast
  |  First Published: July 2016

Even though it's the middle of winter, some exceptional fishing is still on offer for those willing to brave the elements. Narooma's Wagonga Inlet should be in shut down mode with the water at a cool 15°C. But this isn't the case, with a host of species playing the game.

Bream, trevally, flathead, salmon, tailor and blackfish continue to do the right thing by anglers, with some sessions topping 40 fish which is pretty good in the cold conditions. The key to these solid bags and consistent results is to find the bait. Once you have done this, fish will follow.

The main basin is loaded with whitebait, and a dead giveaway as to their whereabouts is the presence of diving terns and feeding pelagics like salmon and tailor. It's not uncommon to see three or four different patches on top at any given time, so concentrate your efforts around these schools for great success. Anglers who cast a mixture of soft plastics, vibes and metal shiners will have success, with 70-80mm fish style plastics a stand out choice at present. Bigger than average mulloway is also on the cards and fish to 20kg are a possibility. I know of one visiting angler who rang me and told me of the one that got away. His voice told it all, with his estimation of a 22-25kg silver slab gaining freedom after a 45-minute tussle when the hook pulled.

If the bigger prey isn’t for you, then the lower sections of the system in the channels on the eastern side of the Highway Bridge also fish well. Some cracking bags of blackfish have come from the walls, especially on the inside edge of the southern breakwall. Anglers who fish the flooding tide with fresh weed and nippers have had the best luck. The channels in winter are excellent for bream, trevally and tailor and anglers using bait and soft plastics have really got stuck into them them. The draining tide is the time to fish, with the last two hours the optimum.

Offshore the kings at Montague are still going strong, which has a lot has to do with current. When the current is there, the western and southern end of the Island is where most of the action happens. Troll smaller deep divers for numbers, but the bigger fish respond better to live bait. The bigger fish have been on the surface at times, so pitch livies to them if you get close enough. Surface fishing is rewarding and exciting. The kings are good fish too, averaging 6kg with the odd hoodlum nudging 15kg.

Closer to shore the snapper have been excellent. Every season the red fishing seems to get better and the fish seem to be getting bigger. This is awesome for the locals and visitors as it gives you another option if the kings don't come to play. Local skipper Ben from Playstation said every year improves, which is great to see and I can't see any reason why it would change. Potato Point and Tuross are snapper hotspots, and fishing in 50-60m will see fish caught with fresh squid, pilchards and tuna strip baits all working wonders. While you’re catching snapper, put live bait out too, as these areas hold some thumping kings.

Further offshore SBT are starting to show alongside a few yellowfin tuna. The next few weeks should really see the place fire up for these giants. Switched on crews doing the miles and hard yards have caught a good amount of broadbill swordfish. It's a very exciting fishery opening up, who knows where it will end, it just may be a year round fishery, which would be awesome for all anglers – only time will tell.

On the beaches and rocks it's the usual story with some solid fishing to be had. Salmon are abundant on any beach with a half decent gutter and most headlands are producing results. The main beach in town has been excellent, there's a cracking gutter right in front of the surf club that has been serving up the goods for weeks now. It should continue to fire as long as the gutter stays there. The golf course rocks has been firing on all cylinders for pelagics with salmon to 3kg a common capture.

Anglers using a variety of different techniques have caught plenty with metal shiners on lighter gelspun tackle a fun way to target them. There have been a few reports of kingfish from these rocks, I haven’t seen these fish but it certainly wouldn't surprise me. Bigger kingfish have made a welcome return in close every winter for the last few seasons, so drift a larger live bait for a good chance. These fish should be at Mystery Bay and to the south of Narooma as the water here is a little deeper and a known kingfish hot spot.

In the washes blackfish and drummer will keep the bread and butter brigade happy with bream on the cards also. Cabbage, peeled prawns and cunjevoi should do the trick. Berley also helps.

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