Inlet fish wake up
  |  First Published: April 2006

It amazes me what a difference a month can make, especially in the estuaries.

In February Wagonga Inlet was fishing relatively slowly by its standards but turn the clock forward and it’s on fire once again. With the decrease in boat traffic and angling pressure, the local fish population has woken up and decided to play!

A number of monster flathead have been landed. Over the past two weeks while guiding on Wagonga we’ve caught 3 fish over 90cm with the best 98cm. These fish have weighed between 6.5 and 7.5kg and all were released unharmed. All were taken on soft plastics with Squidgies the standout.

A lot of flathead to 75cm have also been caught with the quieter, weed-fringed bays producing. Remember, take only what you require for a feed and let the big girls go. I release any fish over 60cm on my boat and I hope a lot of other anglers do the same.

Bream, whiting and trevally can still be found in the channels with the rock walls towards the entrance holding some thumping yellowfin bream. Small plastics and fresh striped tuna have accounted for the majority.

Whiting have been prolific on the flats but catching them consistently has been a problem. Your best bet is live squirt worms. Expect a few bream as well.

The main basin has seen some snapper to 3kg caught on fresh squid and pilchards. The east cardinal mark straight off Black Bream Point is the place to fish. Concentrate your efforts around dawn and dusk for best results.


Montague Island has been going great guns for kingfish. Live bait, squid and jigs have all worked at various times with the north end and Fowlhouse Reef the best places. The fish are averaging 3 to 4kg but they still know how to pull at that size on lighter tackle.

Fish of this size are ideal candidates for the guys who like throwing soft plastics. Last week I had a day out with Bennie from Nitro Charters and this is what we concentrated on. After a few hours flicking we managed around 20 fish between four of us – nothing big but great sport on the light stuff.

Out on the shelf the water has been 26° degrees some days. A few marlin have been around but nothing to write home about. When the water cools a little, expect a lot more striped marlin to be patrolling the shelf line.

We don’t get hot water like this often so it’s not surprising we’ve had some northern visitors of late. Mahi mahi, wahoo, and short-billed spearfish have all been caught and if a big blue marlin is around, now is the time to target one.

The guys fishing the stones have had good success with kingfish, bonito, salmon and tailor. The main platforms at the Golf Course Rocks and Mystery Bay headland have accounted for most fish. Lures and ganged pilchards have worked well, but live bait would be the preferred option if targeting bigger fish.

This month could see longtail and mack tuna caught so persist with the live baits.

The washes are holding blackfish, drummer and good-sized yellowfin bream with Dalmeny Headland to the north the pick. Use fresh cabbage weed for the blackfish and drummer and striped tuna cubes, crabs and abalone gut for the bream.

The beaches continue to produce. All the usuals are available with some salmon to 4kg keeping anglers happy. Tilba, Narooma Main, and Brou to the north have been the hot spots. Live beachworms and pilchards are the pick of the baits, especially on the last two hours of the flood tide into the evening.

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