Offshore trips fruitful
  |  First Published: June 2006

This is a great time to fish offshore for a large variety of game and reef species.

In the 2005 season we caught our last marlin on June 28. Watching whales swim by and looking at snow on the mountains while fighting a marlin on the Twelve Mile with 20° water under us was special. Let’s hope we can repeat it this year.

Yellowfin, albacore and southern bluefin tuna are in good numbers and this is prime time to be berleying, with fish coming right up to the boat on flies, lures and bait.

Flyfishers and light spin tackle enthusiasts can have lots of fun with albacore as they glide through the berley. Surface poppers and flies entice plenty of spectacular strikes and jigging with small metal lures may bring fish up from deeper down.

Put out a live bait for marlin and have a shark trace handy because makos are likely to appear in trails. If you have albacore around the boat and they mysteriously disappear, it’s likely a shark is hanging around.

Trolling will produce good fish, especially around schools of sauries. Marlin and tuna chase these baitfish so staying in touch with the schools and pulling lures may be the best option. The kings at Montague are highly targeted at this time of year using this method.

Offshore winds allow anglers to troll close to shore for a variety of light-tackle sportfish. Working the cliff faces will produce bonito, salmon, tailor, the odd kingfish and some small tuna species. Diving and skirted lures work best with small metal lures used to cast at schooling fish.

It’s prime time for reef fishing and some excellent catches have been made. Some of the locals in the know who anchor and berley have caught exceptional bags of snapper to 8kg. Gummy sharks, morwong and large tiger flathead have also been encountered.

For those who wish to drift, there is good fishing for most reef species in prime areas such as the Lobster Patch, Goalen Head and Bunga Reefs to the south, Mystery Bay and Camel Rock to the north and the Twelve Mile should produce large nannygai, morwong, ocean perch and Tassie trumpeter.

Another technique frequently used on snapper now is jigging on the inshore reefs. Find a pinnacle and work it over with different soft plastics until you find what works. Keep moving and find new areas, trying a variety of depths to keep producing results. Light spin rods and braid provide heaps of fun for a variety of reef species.


The warm offshore water pushing into the estuaries that remain open to the ocean is having a good effect on the fishing. With land temps cooling, estuary water can get very cold but when the tide comes in yellowfin bream move in and start to feed. Nippers, prawns and lures all work but the most productive approach is to berley and bait with tuna.

Use strips of striped tuna in the channels as the tide pushes in and then go onto the flats as the tide covers the oysters and weed. Nippers and lures can be fished while the tuna baits sit out in the berley. Flathead, trevally and large mullet will also feature in catches while berleying.

Good luderick are hanging around the bridge, boat ramp and off the rock walls. Cabbage weed is catching the better fish with green weed from the golf course taking its share too.

Off the rocks there have been good schools of drummer and some nice pelagics in close. The Blue Pool, the main headland, Camel Rock and the rocks at the entrance to the harbour have produced drummer on abalone gut, cunjevoi and cabbage fished under a float or with a small ball sinker straight to the hook. Nice bream and trevally have been a by-catch.

Bonito, kingfish and salmon have been cruising the rock ledges and some of the local kids in the sports fishing club have produced several records on lure and fly. One angler will cast a hookless lure to tease a fish into range while the other angler wields a fly.

Those wishing to sit out the cold nights on the beach around the full moon have encountered some very nice gummy sharks.

Salmon are plentiful and often prove a problem when chasing gummies. Tailor are in reasonable numbers off the beaches and adjacent headlands whether you’re using bait or lures.

A highlight on the beaches is the numbers of bream. Use berley to bring them in close where you can target them on light tackle.

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