Warm water hanging around
  |  First Published: August 2016

This part of the coast is experiencing some crazy currents for this time of year with 22°C water off Narooma. That’s warm, but even better still, there are marlin in it, which is nuts!

I know of several fish caught and a few others lost over recent weeks, with the best at 90kg. These fish have been wide and caught while trolling skirted pushers. I don’t expect this marlin action to last too much longer, and this warmer pocket of water will move on and be replaced with cooler water around 17-18°C.

At this temperature, it’s tuna time and I think this season will last a fare bit longer and may even last the rest of winter. There’s already been some cracking yellowfin caught with most fish averaging 40kg, and the odd better fish top. Cubing has been very productive, though some crews trolling larger bibbed minnows and smaller pushers have fared better. We quite often troll first to locate the fish, then revert to cubing once we’ve found them. This method works very well on school fish, around 30-40kg, with albacore a possibility too.

I’d expect to see a few SBT in coming weeks when that water cools down, as the longliners have been getting them, so it’s only a matter of time before the recreational fishers get amongst them too. Most of this action will happen along the shelf and second drop-off, but a lot will depend on prevailing currents, bait activity and water temperatures.

At Montague Island, it’s a lottery at the moment, as some days there’s kings and others it’s like a desert. If you get a good day, then it’s quite good with fish to 8kg, mostly caught on live bait and a few on jigs.

Those fishing the bottom are getting good results on snapper with most reefs producing fish. The southwest corner of Montague has fished well, as has the reefs off Potato Point. The close in reef at Brou in 10m of water is worth a look, as this little patch isn’t big but holds some fantastic sized snapper at times. Better baits to try are fresh squid, cuttlefish, pilchards and striped tuna strips. Anglers casting plastics at snapper will also do well at this spot.

In the estuaries, the fishing has remained consistent without being red-hot, with the lower sections fishing better. The channels from the drop-off to the charter boat wharf in Wagonga Inlet has been the pick for bait anglers with bream, trevally, blackfish and the odd flathead succumbing to fresh baits. Live Bass yabbies have worked, especially for trevally but the pickers do get into them. I’d prefer something more robust like slimy mackerel fillets or striped tuna cubes fished with a little berley from an anchored boat.

If using soft plastics, go for slimmer profile plastic, as these will look more like an injured baitfish drifting through the water column. I prefer natural colours in the 70-90mm range.

Further upstream, the main basin is alive with tailor, with bag limits reached quite easily on most occasions. Casting metal slugs or trolling deeper diving lures will do the trick with fish averaging 40cm and bigger.

We’ve caught some monsters there recently when targeting mulloway, and a few have been pushing 70cm in length, with some bigger ones lost due to bite offs. These speedsters will remain in the estuaries for the winter term and will be viable options when all else fails.

If you’re after flathead, they have been sporadic, but when you do find a few they are good size. Local guru Hoots caught a cracker during the week that went 90cm, which was released in great condition. I’ve heard of a few others around the 80cm mark also caught, and it looks like last month’s flush has really turned the big girls on.

Those after bream are doing it tough, particularly upstream where the water is becoming quite clear. Long accurate casts are needed close to structure with hardbodied fished slow scoring a few fish.

On the beaches, salmon continue to do the right thing with most beaches holding plenty. Anglers are catching them using a variety of techniques, though bait anglers are faring better. Paternoster rigs with bluebait/popper combination has worked a treat.

A few die-hards are still casting shiners into the washes and getting plenty, but they appear to be on the smaller side. Those using bait have got fish to 3.5kg, and at that size they know how to pull. This action will only get better through August, with XOS tailor on the cards as well.

Winter on the stones means drummer, and if early indications are anything to go by, we’re in for a cracking season. A few locals have done extremely well at both Dalmeny Headland and Mystery Bay rocks, using mainly cunjevoi for bait. A no-nonsense approach is required in the tackle department to get these guys away from their rocky homes, but it’s great fun.

Rock anglers can expect a few groper too, with blackfish available to those using cabbage under a float. A little sand/cabbage mixture for berley wont hurt either, but remember to only use it sparsely.

Those after the pelagics shouldn’t have too many problems with salmon, tailor and bonito abundant off the rocks.

Casting metal slugs or whole pilchards on ganged hooks should see the rod bend the right way.

Good luck on the water.

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