Bring on the hot fishing
  |  First Published: October 2016

Spring is well and truly here with some warm days making it an ideal time to wet a line. The estuaries in particular will be hotting up as each week passes. Water temperatures will start to increase, and in turn, Summer techniques will come in.

Both Narooma and Tuross estuaries are firing up nicely. The next few months will be something to remember. We’ve had rain at the right time over cooler months and both systems had quality flushes, which every estuarine system needs a few times a year. This has seen a stack of bait enter both systems. I expect the prawning season to be a cracker.

In Tuross, the river section seems to fish better in October, especially for flathead and bream. Due to it being quite shallow, water warms quicker than deeper tidal areas, and the fish respond to it. Concentrate from the main highway bridge to Four Ways, fishing water depths of 1-3m with smaller prawn imitations and blades. There’s already been solid flatties caught around the 80cm mark, so all looks good.

For those targeting bream, slow rolling hardbodies over the flats will work. If the water is warm enough, an early season surface session is not out of the question. I’ve regularly caught bream on surface in 15°C water, especially if smaller jelly prawns are evident. There’ll be EPs in snags mixed with the bream, and again, hardbodies and plastics will work.

At Wagonga, the big breeding female flathead will start to stir, heading downstream to spawn. This month is the start of it all for them, and some cracking fish to 90cm should be readily available. Concentrate around the basin margins in 6-9m of water for a good place to start. This month will see an increase in tailor numbers, and that means mulloway. These silver slabs will be stalking tailor schools, so cast your plastics near them and you’ve a great chance of getting connected. Sure you’ll loose a few lures to the choppers, but the end reward might just be worth it.

Outside, fishing the bottom has had good results with snapper, morwong, sand and tiger flathead, pigfish and kingfish all chewing at times. Reds have been excellent off Potato Point with water depths between 40-60m. Every day has been different for where to find them. Drifting first then anchoring once you’ve located a patch has worked for some switched on local crews. Catches of 15-20 fish are usual with the average fish at 2kg, but there’s still the odd better fish at 5kg. This action should continue for a while yet, but the reds will spread out a bit.

At Montague Island there’s been the odd patch of kings turning up, which is great to see. These fish are anywhere between 65-90cm, just on legal size up to some pretty solid fish. Jigs, live baits and squid have all worked. Live bait seems to be getting the bigger fish at present. The Fowl House Reef and southwest corner over the rip have been the places to fish.

Later on this month, yellowfin tuna and albacore should be patrolling the shelf line. Trolling is certainly the way to go early in the season. They’re getting a heap of albies north of us, so it shouldn’t be long before they’re on our doorstep. I know of a few better yellowfin coming from crews fishing very wide at 70-80kms, so if you have the fuel and seaworthy boat, it’s worth a look.

On the beaches it’s been a little hit and miss. We’ve had very calm seas of late, making the salmon fishing tough at times. In saying that, they’re still being caught. Fishing peak periods and tides has been important for consistent results. Anglers have been spinning the beaches with chromed slices up to 50g. This enables you to fish each gutter along a beach, fishing the more productive areas and not waiting for the salmon to come to you. When we get the right conditions, beach fishing will pick up for bream, whiting and mullet. This month is ideal for these species and pipi or live beach worms are gun baits. Better beaches to try include Brou, Tilba, Coila and Narooma main.

The rock-hoppers are also in the transition period, with a good mix of all species playing the game. If a feed is what you’re after, then luderick, drummer, bream and snapper can be found on most headlands. Mystery Bay to the south, and the Golf course rocks in town, are the better places to try. Use fresh crab, cunjevoi, peeled cooked prawns or cabbage as bait. For the reds, fresh squid or whole pilchards should suffice.

Sport-fishers who like throwing medium-sized chromed lures are in for a treat. Bonito numbers are excellent at the minute, and will only get better as the month progresses. These speedsters are solid fish with the average at 3kg. On the right tackle, this is great sport. If you look after them correctly, they’re pretty good on the plate, especially smoked. You can expect the odd kingfish mixed in with the bonnies and if all else fails, salmon are a great back-up.


Clean yellowfin bream, like this couple caught by Jimmy Downes, will be chewing at well presented hardbodies over the flats.


October will see the whiting start to play the game. With a few warm days, the flats warm up and then it's surface time. Bring it on.

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