After a sluggish start to the kingfish season these hard-fighting brutes of the reefs have finally woken up and made Montague Island home once again.
The kings are averaging 4kg to 5kg with the odd bigger fish up to 12kg being caught on live bait. Jigs are working well on the smaller fish with 125g Raider jigs the lures of choice. You might have to go to 200g jigs on occasions due to the current, so it pays to have an assortment of hardware on board.
If the kings become a little shy due to boat traffic, try putting a green lumo squid plastic over the treble hook of the jig and wind flat out. This added colour and action to the jig can sometimes turn a frustrating day into an awesome day, I have seen it happen.
Current and tide will determine where to fish but as a general rule the kingies will bite best with a north -south current. If this is happening, fish the north end of Montague, anywhere from 30 to 70 metres and watch your sounder at all times.
If you come across some likely soundings, drop the jigs down and hang on. The Fowl house Reef on the western side of Montague is also worth a look. This section is quite shallow in places so be aware if using jigs.
Offshore has been fishing great guns with yellowfin tuna and albacore plentiful. Trolled skirted lures and bibbed minnows have worked a treat, with the Rapala CD-18 in mackerel colours a standout. The fish aren’t huge at 10kg to 30kg but captures of a dozen or so fish have been the norm with the continental shelf and beyond the place to fish.
The marlin action has been a little patchy but this month should see more captures. As the water warms further expect some northern cousins to visit our local waters throughout February. Wahoo, mahi mahi and even short-billed spearfish are all a possibility and after looking at the surface temperature charts, there is some hot water coming our way.
In the estuaries Wagonga Inlet continues to amaze me. While guiding there last week we had a remarkable capture on 6lb braid and bream tackle.
Throwing lures at busting tailor on the surface, we had an encounter that will last with me for a long time. Fishing quite deep water, we hooked something a lot bigger than the tailor we were catching the previous casts.
After 25 minutes and a fair bit of boat handling, a beautiful 13.73kg mulloway was grunting its final on the boat floor. Steve, the lucky angler was ecstatic, as was I at a great effort on such skinny line. There have been several other good mulloway caught lately so this coming moon could be worth ago.
Flathead have been plentiful on the flats and in the channels with some bigger models being taken in the shallower waters from Punkella Creek upstream.
Soft plastics have accounted for the majority of fish but live poddy mullet will catch fish, too. You should be able to get the poddies from the shallow flats near the Fisheries office or around the Mill Bay boat ramp on the northern side of the main road bridge.
Bream, whiting and some quality trevally are patrolling the sand flats – use live bass yabbies or squirt worms.
Up in the Tuross River the bass will be in full swing. Surface lures, deep divers and soft plastics will all catch fish but I suggest fishing well upstream this season. Tuross has seen a lot of fresh over the past three months and the bass would have taken advantage of this to head upstream.
A canoe is ideal for this type of fishing. It’s great fun and a rewarding way to target this fine sport fish.
Black bream will also be available on the upper tidal zone limit. Slowly-twitched lightly-weighted soft plastics are the best way to tempt them. I especially like the 85mm Squidgy Flick Bait in flash prawn colour on a resin head at this time of year.
The rocks and beaches will continue to produce all the Summer usuals; whiting and bream should really have a chew this month. Use live beach worms and pipis, light line, and a little berley and watch your catch rates soar.Reads: 621