Promise of cold moorings
  |  First Published: June 2017

Winter’s here and with it comes the promise of cold mornings with westerly winds, especially when fishing the local estuaries.

Some anglers have the perception that the local waterways go quiet during the winter period but that can’t be further from the truth. Smaller systems like Mummaga Lake, Corunna Lake and Wallaga Lake just to the south of Narooma fish extremely well during this time and the results can be quite astonishing, to say the least.

Sure, the fish become more sluggish with the colder water. A few minor tackle adjustments with varied techniques will still see heaps of action for those in the know.

Last winter Wagonga Inlet fished amazingly over this time with most of the summer time species still chewing at times. Yes the deeper water in the main basin was quiet, but the upper reaches in the shallows were nothing short of brilliant. The shallower edges between 1-4m were chockers full of whitebait. This was the catalyst to the great fishing with schools of monster salmon to 3kg filling their quota and at times smashing the surface to a foaming mess.

This commotion caused other species to get in on the act with trevally, bream, flathead, tailor, decently sized snapper and the odd mulloway all succumbing to soft plastics and bait. This action continued right through winter and I think it will happen again this winter. The bait is already there, the salmon are there; all it needs is you there.

The smaller estuaries listed above are also fishing consistently. Concentrate around the shallower margins and use lighter leader as the water will be clearer as it gets colder. Use smaller presentations if using soft plastics and the freshest of baits if bait fishing is your method. I also like to use blades during the cooler months. They work a treat if fished the right way and are dynamite on bream and flathead. Even the occasional big whiting and luderick fall victim these little bits of metal.

Offshore the tuna brigade are in full swing with a heap of smaller school-sized yellowfin between 20-35kg falling to trolled lures and cubing. There has been the odd better fish caught. The best I’ve heard of was 78kg – a solid fish but there will be bigger fish encountered. This month will see some very big yellowfin caught, fish to 80kg+ can be expected, the longliners are catching a few with the shelf the place to fish.

There’s a stack of bait there from the 70-fathom line outwards. This is where I’d be concentrating. The water is still 20°C out wide and will cool as the month progresses. You will find albacore with the yellowfin with albies to 20kg definitely possible. If sharks are your quarry then bring the big gear out, there will be some solid makos patrolling the currents with the tuna. Every June some massive makos turn up and this year won’t be any different.

At Montague Island the kingfish have been good without being spectacular. Some days are better than others with current direction playing a big part in their feeding habits. When they are chewing the north and southwest corners have been productive. Jigs, live bait and squid all work at times. There have been a heap of solid bonito around and maybe a stray yellowfin towards the northern end of the island. This used to be the hotspot donkey years ago throughout June and I know of a few locals that got the odd tuna last year at this time. It’s also well worth a look.

On the beaches the salmon have been very good with large numbers available on most beaches. Both Tilba and Brou beaches have been the pick with both having great looking deep gutters lately. The fish have responded to a range of methods with cut and whole pilchards working well rigged on paternoster rigs. Another method here is to have a surf popper on one dropper and a bait on the other. This works extremely well and you will be surprised how many fish get captured on the popper.

With the cooler water expect some jumbo tailor too. We always get big fish at this time of year with fish in excess of 3kg possible. Those after bream will still get a few fish and the estuary entrances are a good place to start. The entrance to Tuross along Blackfellows Beach has been good for bream. Beachworms and pipis are the preferred baits. There still may be the odd whiting available. The water is getting colder for this tasty species.

Those anglers fishing the rocks are in the transition period with the pelagic species. Salmon, tailor and bonito will still be abundant though kingfish, striped tuna and mackerel tuna will be heading north again. Of course there’s exceptions to the rule; many nice kingfish are caught in June. They are mainly incidental catches with no decent numbers to them.

For the LBG diehards I’d be fishing Mystery Bay to the south of Narooma or the golf course rocks in town. Both are great platforms and relatively safe in moderate seas. If a feed is what you’re after, get in line. Luderick, drummer, groper and bream will all be keen for a chew. Dalmeny headland, the golf course rocks and the southern breakwall will all turn it on.

With the bigger seas we have experienced lately these species have really played the game and this will continue right through winter. The better baits to try include cunjevoi, prawns, cabbage and crabs.
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