Live baits are going swimmingly
  |  First Published: April 2017

We’ve finally received some decent rain over the last week with around 100mm falling in that time. To say we needed it is an understatement, as the last decent drop was way back in June 2016. This will only improve the fishing further, especially in the estuaries. The water clarity has been crystal clear. That’s not saying the fishing has been slow – far from it, but it will only get better now.

Wagonga Inlet has been good without being dynamite, there’s plenty of fish there, you just have to work for them. The deeper sections of the main basin and Forsters Bay (12-13m) have seen plenty of flathead, although the size isn’t there. Flatties to 70cm and bigger are possible. The majority being captured are between 40-50cm, so they’re nice eating size.

There have been some solid estuary snapper and bream from the same grounds, so if conditions suit, getting a smaller presentation down has reaped rewards. This year has been slow for mulloway. I’m not too sure why, because the bait is there. Tailor are thick at times and I’ve only heard of five or six fish caught there and all on bait, except one, which fell to a soft plastic. Hopefully this picks up over coming weeks. Time will tell.

Up at Tuross fishing has slowed up, especially the flathead fishing. It’s the quietest I can ever recall and that’s saying something. There’s plenty of smaller fish to be caught, but the bigger girls have shut up shop for most anglers anyway. Sure there’s the odd one getting about, but gee you have to work hard for them.

Mulloway are about, and lots of them. I know of a few local anglers that are getting three and four fish per night, sometimes more on bait with fresh squid the go. The lower sections seem to be best. I’ve also heard of a few coming from the rock bars in the river section, so that may be worth a look.

Bream and whiting numbers are still pretty good for the surface casting enthusiasts. Most bays with weed-covered sand flats are producing the goods. With the lake having a cracking entrance more weed edges should continue to develop and improve the fishing even more.

The beaches will continue to fish well for salmon and tailor with enough bream, whiting and mullet to keep things interesting. Live beach worms have been the standout bait. A lot of salmon have been caught on both lures and blue surf poppers fished on a paternoster rig. As the cooler months approach, expect the salmon fishing to only get better.

A few mulloway are still being caught up at Tuross off the beach, but a lot of time has to be put in to constantly get results. Anglers who put in the hard yards chasing these majestic fish deserve every one they catch. They put in the time and get the rewards. If you’re after a mulloway, Blackfellows Beach on the southern end is certainly the place to have a look. Use large bunches of live beach worms or fresh tailor strips for bait.

The Narooma Breakwall is the place to fish at present if you’re the rock hopper type. Some ripper bream are being caught on striped tuna on the inside of the north wall. Fish the ebb tide and you should be in business. There are still bonito off the golf course rocks, with a lot of tailor around too. Most fish have fallen to lures and ganged pilchards. A morning session definitely gets better results.

There have been increased reports of bream in the washes with luderick numbers on the increase as well. Down at Mystery Bay the High rock ledge is still producing if you’re after pelagic species. There have been good reports of kingfish to 70cm down there, so it’s worth a look.

Anglers fishing offshore are having a ball too. With water temperatures hovering around 22-25°C, striped, black and the odd blue marlin can be expected on trolled lures and live bait. It probably hasn’t been as good as last season. Most crews are getting a couple shots per day. There have been quite a few smaller blacks in close and I know of two separate fish that were hooked in 50m of water off Potato Point in the last few weeks. Both these fish were hooked on live bait fished deep for kingfish, so there must be a few there.

Other species like mako sharks, yellowfin tuna and mahimahi are all incidental catches at this time of year when trolling lures or live baiting in the warmer water. At Montague Island the kingfish should well and truly be firing by now. Live slimies and jigs should get you a decent feed. Snapper, morwies and most bottom dwellers will be willing to take a bait. All reefs should hold a fish or two. The flatties will be firing on the inshore grounds with the sand in 35m straight off Dalmeny a great place to start.

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