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Little things count now
  |  First Published: December 2004



Narooma and surrounds are in full swing during January as tourists and locals jockey for prime fishing locations.

With a lot more lures and baits in the water than normal, it’s the little things like fresh bait or slight tackle adjustments that can make the difference to catching a feed or not.

Wagonga Inlet will fish well even with the increased angling pressure. Flatties, bream, whiting and the elusive mulloway all available.

With the boom in soft plastics over the past few years, a lot more flathead are being caught. It’s a great way to catch these bottom dwellers but it also puts more pressure on the local flattie population.

If we are to continue catching this ever reliable estuary species in years to come, it’s up to us to be responsible for our own actions. In other words, please let the bigger fish go.

I have a rule on my charter boat that any flattie over 60cm is destined for release. You catch enough fish under this size for a decent feed and it’s not a bad feeling watching a 60cm-plus flattie glide back to the depths.

There have been a number of jewies caught recently in Wagonga Inlet and Tuross Lake. Most fish have fallen to large soft plastics but live tailor have also accounted for a few.

A few local lads have persisted throwing softies around the tailor schools because this is where most of the jew have come from. It can prove expensive because of shredded plastics but the reward of a gleaming jewie on the deck soon makes that a distant memory.

I expect a lot more jewie captures over the summer months as more anglers target them, especially with larger soft plastics.

Bream and whiting should be abundant in the warmer water by now. The sand flats from the main bridge up to the drop-off at the end of the main channel will hold fish. There are some great pockets of deeper water through this section and a live nipper or freshly peeled prawn should produce.

Anchoring and berleying is the go here as the tide can sometimes move pretty fast. Fish the last couple of hours of the flood tide for best results.

The bass fishing really picks up this month at Brogo Dam, south of Narooma. Spinnerbaits, soft plastics and hard-bodied lures will get results.

I also know of a few nice bass coming out of the top reaches of the Tuross. I have had great success there using surface plugs on hot late Summer evenings. It’s great watching a 40cm bass smash a surface lure only a few metres from the bank – really gets the heart pumping.

OFFSHORE

The boaties have a lot to look forward to in January. With water from 20° to 24°, black and striped marlin, yellowfin tuna and albacore can all be expected. Where the good water is will determine where the fish are.

There should be a few bities around with mako and hammerhead sharks the most prolific. Striped tuna should be in numbers to feed everything.

The Montague Island kingfish scene was non-existent to the time of writing so let’s hope these tackle-busters turn up soon. When they do arrive, live slimy mackerel will do the damage but the jig fishos will also get their share.

Most of the inshore reefs hold good snapper, mowies and flatties with Brou and Fullers reefs good places to try. Fish for the flatties in 30 to 35 metres straight off Dalmeny headland.

ROCKIN’ AND REELIN’

The rock-fishing brigade will have great fun with the warmer water coming in closer. Bonito, frigate mackerel and the odd kingfish can be expected on lures and live bait.

Salmon and tailor will also be around with the golf course rocks and the ledge down at Mystery Bay the best places to try.

There should still be some blackfish and bream hanging close to the rock washes, where fresh cabbage weed and black crabs should get results.

The beaches will hold good bream and whiting with live beach worms doing the damage. Brou Beach is a great place to start; it’s around 7km from Dalmeny to Potato Point and always holds some decent gutters. Some good jewies and gummy sharks are also caught here in the warmer months so an evening session can be very rewarding.

These boys look pretty happy with the 87cm flattie they caught and released in Wagonga Inlet on a 100mm Squidgy soft plastic. Fish of this calibre can be expected over coming months.

That’s 90cm of breeding stock flathead being released. When lifting big flathead, always make sure you support their weight under the belly to avoid unwarranted internal stress.

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