Cold southerly winds are the norm at this time of the year but fishos braving the conditions have been rewarded with some exceptional beach action.
With the big swells pounding our coast of late, decent gutters are appearing on most local beaches with Brou, Tilba, Narooma Main and 1080 the pick to fish.
All the usual beach culprits are being caught, with salmon to 3kg the most prolific. Tailor and bream have also had a chew and some local anglers have been bagging out on bream.
Live beach worms have been the best bait for bream but finding quality beach worms has been an effort in itself. Anglers using berley in conjunction with live worms have been getting best results. Pilchards, blue bait, and surf poppers on a paternoster rig have been the undoing of the sambos and tailor. Early morning on a rising tide is the best time.
Rockhoppers targeting blackfish have been having a field day with all local platforms holding fish. Fresh cabbage used with berley has been dynamite, especially after big swells have pounded the rocks for a few days.
Most anglers are bagging out within a few hours on fish averaging 800g or better. Local hot spots have been the Golf Course Rocks and Dalmeny Headland.
Expect some quality drummer this month also, with lightly weighted cunjevoi, abalone gut and bread pieces the best way to tempt them.
Big salmon have been reported with some thumping fish available at Mystery Bay. Ganged pilchards, slowly cast and retrieved, has been an excellent way to target them. Fish to 5kg have been caught with the odd snapper also succumbing to the pillies.
With the cold water Wagonga Inlet has slowed to a crawl with most anglers finding it difficult to get a feed. The water is crystal-clear and the fish very gun-shy.
Those who have been doing OK are fishing a little smarter. If using lures, try lighter leader material and finer-gauge hooks and jig heads. I will go down to 6lb leader at times, especially in clear water. Smaller soft plastics and hard bodies will also improve your chances.
The main channel on a run-out tide has produced good bream and trevally at times, particularly after a drop of rain. The main basin has been the place to fish, though, even with the tough conditions.
Last year the upper reaches fished well for most species during Winter but this season it’s like a desert up there. I’m not sure why but the water in the shallows is the coldest I have ever seen. This in turn has shut down the fishing upstream and I for one won’t be heading back up there until it warms a little.
In the deeper sections of the main basin there have been snapper, flatties, bream and tailor caught on soft plastics. Try to use as light a jig head as practical with small grubs for best results, and remember to fish them dead slow. Those using bait have had a tough time and I recommend using soft plastics at the moment.
Tuross Lake has been fishing well for bream and estuary perch. Try well upstream for the black bream and downstream for the EPs. Hard bodies and soft plastics have accounted for the majority of fish.
The Ecogear SX-40 has been a standout, especially on bream. Fishing these with a twitch, pause, rip, pause action has worked well for me.
Offshore, the snapper fishing is still good with most fishos getting a feed. The reds are not as good as last month but bigger fish have been caught with squid, cuttlefish, pilchards and striped tuna producing results.
Potato Point, to the north of Narooma, has been the hot spot with the shallower reefs on the south-west side of Montague also holding fish. Expect morwong, trevally and leatherjackets while targeting the reds.
The Montague kingies are very quiet. There might be the odd fish on jigs and live bait but wait until next month for the big fish to turn up. Out wide, southern bluefin tuna are a possibility but I would save the fuel for later in the year.Reads: 787