Tuna season May be starting late
  |  First Published: May 2017

It’s a cracking time to fish the waters off Narooma with the sportsfishing fraternity licking their chops in anticipation of what’s on offer over the coming month. May is traditionally the start of tuna season, although over recent years it’s been a little later. The water was still quite warm and hovering around 22°C recently.

Don’t worry; this is good. There are still plenty of marlin being caught with a few smaller yellowfin starting to show up too. I’ve talked to plenty of skippers and most think the seasons are getting later as each year passes. In some cases it’s a 12 month proposition depending on currents, bait, water temperature and quality.

The beaks seem to be wider lately with the shelf the place to fish. There have been good reports that the Kink, southeast of Montague Island, is red hot some days. Trolling has been the go as the marlin are thinning out a bit and you get to cover the ground to find the fish. The added bonus here is yellowfin tuna and decent albacore will hit the same pushers, so you’re opening up the egg basket.

I’d expect to see bigger tuna later in the month with jumbos to 90kg certainly possible. May usually sees stable weather so a berley cube trail along the shelf line is worth a go. Closer to shore the kings at the island were very good but they have slowed up a bit recently.

This is likely due to a cold current that edged up the coast. Once this cool water moves on expect the kings to fire back up with jigs, live bait and squid fished on flasher rigs all working at times. I’d be concentrating around the southern pinnacles or Fowl House Reef for best results.

Anglers fishing the rocks have had mixed results with the water temperatures we’ve experienced of late. Some days it’s a warm 20°C and the next back to 16°C. It all depends what the currents are doing and what’s being pushed in close. Hopefully it will move on so anglers can again get amongst them. When the temperature does rise, expect school sized kingfish and bonito with a chance of mackerel tuna.

Smaller chromed lures and whole pilchards fished on ganged hooks work well. Yellowtail and slimy mackerel are awesome if live baiting. The best ledges to fish include Mystery Bay and the Golf Course Rocks in town. The washes are holding good blackfish and drummer with cabbage, cunjevoi and lightly weighted nippers getting good results.

Berley has been a key ingredient to better catch rates as well. It’s a little more work, but the end result makes it all worthwhile. Dalmeny Headland to the north of Narooma has been the pick of the spots to fish.

In the estuaries it’s all systems go with Tuross fishing extremely well at present. Anglers using fresh bait like striped tuna, prawns and Bass yabbies have caught bream, whiting and flathead. The best time is when the fresh saltwater hits the slightly dirty water on the incoming tide. There’s still some fresh water coming down the river after recent rains, so fishing that tide line is working well.

Anglers using soft plastics have caught nice flathead although they are hard to entice at times. We’ve had pretty good fishing on deep running hardbodies fished around the shallower margins away from the stronger flow areas. Concentrating in water from 2-4ft has been good with a methodical slow retrieve. Intermittent pauses are working better. Darker colours are the go, but as the water clears further I’d be using more natural colours.

There are still a lot of mulloway being captured mainly by bait anglers. The soft plastic brigade are getting their fair share too. The lower reaches are definitely the place to fish. The tide change is the premium bite time. If you can coincide that with an early morning, all the better.

Wagonga Inlet just south of Tuross is holding some very big flathead with the upper reaches being the prime area to fish. Live poddies and larger soft plastics have accounted for most of the fish, however bigger blades are worth a go in the cooler dirtier water. If you’re after a feed I’d suggest Dalmeny or Corunna Lake. They are full of flatties from just on legal to 50cm – great eating size and ideal for the kids.

This month the big tailor will enter the system with fish in excess of 10lb possible. These greenbacks can play havoc on tackle so beef it up and you should land a few. It wouldn’t surprise me to see some sizable mulloway following the tailor schools too. Again, large softies or bigger vibed presentations should entice a strike or two.

For those anglers targeting the sambos off the beach, Coila and Blackfellows have fired with the latter a standout at the southern end. There’s a cracking gutter there that’s been fishing well for a few weeks now. A paternoster rig, rigged with bait and poppers will work, as will shiners cast amongst the suds on light gelspun line. This is a great way to target salmon. It’s easy and loads of fun.

Sure you will lose a few when they get in the shore dump, but if you change the trebles to single hooks you will land more fish. If you’re after a feed, the entrance to Brou Lake on Brou Beach has been excellent for bream. It’s a bit of an effort to get there. The results will soon fix that.

This coming full moon is worth a look for mulloway and gummy sharks. This same section of beach has produced plenty of both over the years so it may be worth taking the big sticks with you.

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