With Summer come longer days, warmer water and the promise of big, fast gamefish.
In saying that, we have already had a pretty good start to the offshore season with tuna to 60kg succumbing to trolled skirted lures and big deep-diving minnows. The fish are widespread from the 60-fathom line to the second drop-off, with the water hovering around 19°.
Albacore are also plentiful with fish to 12kg common. These great eating fish have been more prolific from the shelf to the second drop-off.
As we head further into December, expect the water temperature to rise sharply and striped marlin to arrive. We always get a few beakies this month by trolling lures – you get to cover a lot more water and hopefully find the fish.
Concentrate your efforts around bait schools, particularly striped tuna, as these speedsters have been prolific over recent weeks. The current usually pushes hard this month so watch out for current lines, tide lines or temperature changes and fish them accordingly.
At Montague Island the kingfish have been sporadic, to say the least. When they do decide to chew, the action is fast and furious with jigs and live baits working well. The north and western sides of the island are where most of the action is.
Big bonito have been hammering the bait schools. These guys are great sport and not bad on the plate if looked after correctly. Trolling smaller deep-diving minnows should produce a fish or two.
If targeting bonito try fishing over the shallower grounds south of Montague, especially if the current is pushing hard to the south. Expect the odd kingfish also when fishing these shallower sections, though they are usually smaller models.
The reefs closer to shore should keep the bottom-bouncers happy as snapper, morwong and flathead continue to do the right thing. Almost all the local reefs north and south of Narooma are holding fish.
The best ground lately has been Potato Point to the north. Some snapper to 7kg have been caught there recently with local fishing nut Slab getting among them. Some locals are getting their bag limits inside a few hours but the boys are doing the right thing and keeping only enough for a feed, which is great to see.
This action will continue right through Summer. The reds will get a little smaller but kingfish are a huge possibility. Every year some big hoodlums are hooked at the Point, always take fresh bait, jigs or, better still, livebait.
Wagonga Inlet has finally decided to wake up with an array of estuary-dwellers available. Big flathead, mulloway, tailor, bream, snapper and whiting have all had a chew at times with the mulloway action the best for years.
Anglers targeting these bronzed marvels have been having great success on bait and lures. Most of the fish have been hooked during the day with the tide changes and fishing around bait concentrations the key. I know of at least six fish from 6kg to 16kg caught on soft plastics and many more lost over the previous week or so.
The guys using bait have also had a field day with fish to 16kg caught and a few lost. Live tailor, squid and yellowtail have been the preferred baits.
I have fished this system for a long time and never seen so many jewies around. I’m not exactly sure if there are more fish this year or it’s just a case of a lot more anglers targeting them; I suspect the latter.
My mate Andy Clothier caught a 13kg jewie the other day on his first time ever targeting them. He actually got the fish after only 10 minutes of throwing lures – some guys get all the luck. It just goes to show if you haven’t got a lure or bait in the water you have no chance.
Expect this action to continue for a few months yet, there are a lot of mulloway around and some big fish among them.
The flatties have really fired to with fish to 70cm quite common. While guiding there the other day we had a great session which yielded 11 duskies over 60cm with a lot more fish under that.
It’s great to see these bottom-dwellers in good numbers with most anglers these days doing the right thing and letting go any fish over 65cm. These big girls are quite widespread now, with the deeper sections of Barlows Bay producing the goods. Soft plastics and live mullet have worked well.
The Tuross River has seen some great early-season bass action. Fish to 42cm have been caught on various crankbaits, surface plugs and soft plastics. The hot weather has really turned on these guys early and all indications so far point to a fantastic season.
The upper reaches are certainly the place to fish and having a canoe will help. The lower sections have been great for flathead and catches of 20-plus fish have been the norm but this will slow down a lot as we head into the busier holiday period.
Tuross always fishes great guns early. The water warms quickly in the shallows and this system has miles of shallow banks. Expect great whiting action this month, too, with squirt worms, nippers, small worm imitation soft plastics and unweighted surface lures all working at times.
The beach action has been steady without being red-hot. Bream and whiting have been around but hard to entice to bite. Anglers who have downsized their tackle have had best success with live worms, pipi and fresh peeled prawns the best baits.
Fishing the rocky corners of beaches on a rising tide close to dark has been a key to good bags. Narooma Main, 1080 and Handkerchief beaches are the best bet at present.
The rock fishing looks set to continue on its merry roll as blackfish and drummer continue to chew.
Big groper are also on the cards with a few keen local rockhoppers getting some big fish. I know of a few blues to 16kg caught recently and photographed and released in good order – great to see!
The pelagic action should only get better as we head further into Summer with kingfish, striped tuna and frigate mackerel all possible. Fishing early in the morning with chrome slice lures should produce fish. Try Dalmeny Headland, the golf course rocks or Mystery Bay for the pelagics.
On another note, the final submissions for the marine park closed on October 15. Let’s hope for all our sakes that the MPA does the right thing and won’t completely shut us out from our fishing hot spots. Surely they realise the South Coast is a fishing holiday destination. We can only hope they see commonsense and realise the detrimental effect total closures will have to our communities!Reads: 1161