Prime time to wet a line
  |  First Published: February 2007

This is prime time to wet a line around the Narooma area with anglers fishing the rocks, beaches, estuaries or offshore all getting in on the action.

Offshore should be in full swing with the water temperature anywhere from 21° to 25°, depending on the currents. With water like this, striped and black marlin will be about.

It’s usually the time when smaller blacks to 80kg start to patrol the currents close to shore. Places like Montague Island, the reefs off Potato Point and Tuross are all worth a look, especially if striped tuna and slimy mackerel schools are present.

Out wider, striped marlin, yellowfin tuna and various shark species will be on the cards. The shelf is where most anglers will head and it is a great starting point. Some days the fish may be wider, closer to the second drop-off, or further up the coast around the Tuross Canyons.

It also pays to listen to the marine radio channels. Sure, there’s a lot of useless chatter but sometimes other anglers let the cat out of the bag on where they’re doing well. I have had this happen to me on more than one occasion and a quiet day has turned into a memorable one just by listening to the radio!

Trolling skirted lures or slow-trolling live mackerel or striped tuna are both great ways to catch fish. I prefer trolling lures until I find concentrations of fish and then revert to livebait as required. Switchbaiting is also popular for alert game crews and can prove deadly on marlin and tuna at times.

The inshore kingies have been good at Montague Island with jigs, livebait and squid on flasher rigs working well. The fish are quite wide spread but the northern end has seen a lot of the action.

The kings aren’t huge, averaging 4kg, but there are some bigger models in with the school fish. Early mornings there have been bust-ups of these bigger fish as they hammer the saurie bait schools. A lot of this action is happening on the Fowl house Reef and the northwest corner of the island.

Expect this action to continue but remember, early morning is usually the best time to target them on the surface.

The guys chasing bread-and-butter species like snapper, flathead, long-finned perch and morwong should have little trouble finding a feed. Almost all reefs will hold fish with Potato Point the pick of them. Fresh squid, pilchards and striped tuna fillets should see some quality action.


Wagonga Inlet and Tuross Lake estuaries have been firing, especially for whiting, bream and flathead. Live nippers and squirtworms have been great for whiting with tuna cubes and fresh local peeled prawns working best on the bream.

Flathead have responded well to a range of soft plastics with lures up to 80mm in natural colours working best. Rigged with jigheads from 5-11g, this size of lure is perfect for water to 8m.

If working deeper water, upsize your lure to 100mm and a jighead of 11-15g depending on wind, current and water depth.

There have been a stack of flatties to 90cm caught in both these systems of late with the best guiding session I have had producing four flatties from 80-90cm in a morning. All of these fish were in peak condition and full of roe, obviously getting ready to spawn.

It still amazes me that some anglers still keep these big girls for glory – please have some common sense and let these breeding female fish go. It’s now only a minority that keep them but that’s still too many in my books.

For those of you who do the right thing, the next generation of estuary anglers is already thanking you!


Over the past few weeks the beach action has certainly turned around after being a little slow. With the water temperature increasing, whiting have really turned it on with some quality bags caught on fresh pipis and live beachworms.

Some good bream are mixed in with the whiting, with yellow-eye mullet a great by-catch. These fight hard and are good on the plate if prepared correctly.

Beaches that are worth a look are Narooma main, 1080, Tilba and Brou. The northern end of Blackfellows Beach (Tuross River entrance) has also produced.

Salmon and tailor have made a welcome return with pilchards, surf poppers and metal lures getting results. The salmon action has been very quiet but in the past few weeks it has really picked up. Expect this beach action to continue right through February.

The rockhoppers who target groper have been having great success. A few local boys are getting three to four fish every time they go, some to 17kg. These are big groper which certainly know how to pull and know where home is. Most of these fish are also being returned to the water, which is great to see.

Live red crabs and cunjevoi have been the preferred baits. Best spots to try are Mystery Bay and the golf course rocks but with the increased groper populations over the past few years, most rock ledges with a decent wash will hold fish at some time.

The pelagic action continues to be good for big salmon, bonito and smaller kingfish. They have been caught using a variety of methods but livebaiting is producing the best results.

Fishing the front ledge at Mystery Bay is the go but get there early because spots are limited at this ledge. You can catch all the livebait you want at this location with slimy mackerel and yellowtail prolific.

Throwing an unweighted whole pilchard into the wash at the southern end of the ledge is also worth a look because some respectable snapper get caught here every summer.

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