Variety of fish for January
  |  First Published: December 2016

It’s all systems go around the Narooma region with a horde of species on offer for a variety of techniques. It depends on where you fish and what you target, but whatever it is, you’re in for some serious fun. The local estuaries are firing nicely, with monster flathead to 95cm, mulloway, bream, whiting and luderick all having a chew. Both Narooma’s Wagonga Inlet and Tuross Lake to the north are great places to fish. The latter is home to some massive flathead.

This season has seen flathead to 95cm caught by anglers using live bait and soft plastics. The fish have been wide spread and can be found from the lower sections of the basin to upstream of the bridge. Concentrate your efforts around the weed edges that drop into a little bit of deeper water. This area is where we’ve had our best success producing cracker flatties to 96cm while guiding. This red-hot action will continue, unless we get a massive downpour that floods the river. If this happens, it’ll shut the bite down.

Anglers after bream and whiting are having good success. Anglers fishing around the entrance after dark with nippers and squirt worms have fared best. With the water warming, expect these species on the flats for the surface fishing fanatics. This type of fishing is awesome, visual and catches plenty. It’s a stack of fun. The upper reaches of the Ros have also seen solid mulloway caught recently.

Local gun angler and offshore charter skipper Nick Cowley landed a 101cm model from the snags while targeting EPs. It was caught on a little Squidgy Prawn and took Nick some 20 minutes to land on the skinny tackle he was using. That’s a great angling feat and even better that Nick released the fish to fight another day. I heard of another 10kg fish caught just a little further upstream, so they’re definitely about.

At Narooma, the place is loaded with tailor and mulloway. We managed a 9kg fish there last week and dropped two others also. These mulloway have come around 9.00am in the morning on plastics, so it seems the time of day doesn’t matter. The amount of mulloway I’ve caught between 9-11am with a tide change is crazy. It seems outrageous, but the diary doesn’t lie.

If the mulloway don’t play, there are some solid flathead, bream and pinkie snapper under the tailor schools as well. In the channels, whiting are going nuts for bait fishos. I know of a few locals who are getting their bags inside a few hours. The key is squirt worms if you can get them.

Further upstream of the power lines, solid bream are being caught around the oyster racks and rockier edges on the western bank. Smaller softplastics and surface lures have worked as will a lightly weighted bass yabbie or fresh tuna cube. You can expect the odd flattie and trevally also. Those fishing offshore are in for a good time as kingfish are all the rage at Montague Island. These hard fighting brutes are in great numbers with an average size at 70-80cm.

There’s been the odd better fish over the metre mark, and I heard of a 12kg model taken on a jig – a good fish in anyone’s books. The kings can be found pretty much anywhere. The northern end of the island in 60m of water has seen a lot of the action. Jigs are working a treat on the school fish with live bait accounting for most of the bigger models.

A little further east, the gamefishing fraternity are getting excited for black and striped marlin, yellowfin tuna and some sizable bities already being captured. The water is a warm 22°C – ideal for marlin. They’re playing the game. Even though it’s early in the season, some solid beakies have fallen to trolled skirted pushers – they’re mainly stripes, but there are awesome fish up to 130kg.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this month saw a few very big blue marlin hooked. Every February we see some and all indications are there that it will happen again. Those targeting the tuna have had the best results trolling bibbed minnows and smaller pushers up to 8”. The yellowfin aren’t huge – they’re up to 30kg, with some decent albacore pushing 10kg. At that size, they’re ideal for the plate.

On the beaches, it’s business as usual. There are loads of salmon on most beaches with a half decent gutter. These speedsters are falling to all techniques. Paternoster rigs with a bait and popper combination are effective. Anglers casting small metal shiners on light gel spun are having a ball with dozen-fish sessions. Mixed in with the sambos are solid tailor to 1.5kg+, good bream and whiting just past the shore dumps.

These bread and butter species will only get better as the weeks pass with live beach worms, pipi and tuna cubes being the preferred baits. Better beaches to try include Brou, Narooma Main and Tilba Beach to the South. Summer is prime time to target a mulloway off the beach. If this is your quarry, concentrate on either Brou or Blackfellows Beach with fresh tailor fillets or bunches of live beach worms – these are the gun baits.

For the rock-hopper brigade, the pelagic action will be in full swing. Bonito, salmon, tailor, striped tuna, kingfish and frigate mackerel are all possible opponents. Anglers casting metal shiners and poppers will be in for some serious fun as these speedsters hit them with gusto. For those after bigger kingfish and possibly a decent tuna, live bait may be a better option.

You can catch livies at most local platforms when a little berley is used. Another favourite is casting lightly weighted full pilchards on ganged hooks. Slowly wind these tasty morsels back in and watch the fish climb aboard. Better ledges to try include Mystery Bay to the south, the Golf Course rocks in town and Dalmeny Headland to the north. All of these headlands will produce at times.

If you’re after a feed of tasty fillets, the inside on the south break wall has seen some good luderick fishing. Anglers using fresh cabbage weed have fared best. Berley is a key ingredient for more consistent results.

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