Big lizards and snapper
  |  First Published: September 2004

WAGONGA Inlet’s reputation as a big flathead producer certainly lived up to its expectations as a number of huge crocs (flathead) were caught during the Winter.

I have not seen so many big fish caught and stories told as I have during the past eight weeks. Darryl from Ocean Hut showed me a photo of a flattie one of the local lads caught, estimated around 9kg and over a metre long. It’s the biggest croc I have seen for a very long time. This is a great capture and congratulations to the angler as a quick photo was taken, then the great fish was released.

Some big trevally have also been caught on soft plastics and bait in the lake and while the water is still quite cold, these catches should continue throughout September.

Tailor have been abundant. Look for the working birds and you will soon be in business.

Some of the closed, smaller inlets north and south of Narooma have been producing some thumping big bream on bait and lures. I have found that using smaller hard-bodied lures in the shallower areas works well, with soft plastics definitely getting the results in the deeper water.

When using the soft plastics, don’t be in a hurry to get the lure back to the boat or shore. I have found that the slower the retrieve, the better the results, especially in the colder water. Vary your retrieve; what works one day, doesn’t always work the next.


The Winter bottom-fishing has been the best for many years. Snapper is still the word, with many of these great eating fish being caught. While they have only been around a kilo, the numbers can be quite astonishing.

Mowies have also been on the chew, with a mixture of leatherjackets, red rockies and the like making up the bag. Most of the inshore snapper grounds around Narooma have been holding a few fish. It’s been along time since we have had a Winter snapper run like this and I’m not sure why. Maybe the closure of estuary systems to pro netting might have something to do with it. I will leave that one to the experts.

September should see the return of the kingfish. Kingies at this time of the year are generally jigged though live bait can work, as well as squid on flasher rigs.

When jigging for kingies, if the fish are a little shy try putting a green fluorescent squid skirt over the treble hook, which sometimes gets them to strike.

Montague Island is the go at this time of year. If the tide is pushing south try the northern end and if it’s heading north try the Fowlhouse Reef or south of the island over the shallower reefs.

A proposal has been put forward to close Montague Island to all forms of fishing and diving within a 1.5km radius. Some people think the grey nurse shark is an endangered species and a closure would benefit this species in the long run.

I cannot see the benefit. In 25 years of living here I have not seen, nor heard of, any grey nurse shark being harmed or killed. If anything, the locals protect them because they are a big drawcard to our Summer diving industry.

A petition has been set up and I urge all locals and holidaymakers to sign up because a closure at Montague Island would be a disaster to our community.


The rocks have been fishing well for drummer and blackfish and will continue for the next few months. Cabbage weed and cunjevoi have been the best baits and berley is essential. When berleying for these guys, don’t use too much; a handful every 10 minutes will do the trick. If you get the time, try using a mixture of cabbage weed, sand and bread as berley.

Salmon and tailor in good numbers have been caught on ganged pilchards and chrome slice lures. Some quality fish have been caught at High Rock, south of Narooma at Mystery Bay. This is a great ledge which has yielded quality fish over the years.

The beaches have been a little quiet apart from some yellow-eye mullet and smaller salmon, mainly due to little or no swell. Once the swell picks up, the beaches will fire again.

Try the beaches north of Narooma, like Brou and Dalmeny, for better results.

Blue bait and beach worms will be the best baits but if you’re targeting salmon only, put a couple of lures and surf poppers in your bag.

Overall, this is not a bad month: The westerly winds start to abate and the air and water temperature increase as the days go by.


Trevor Clark fishing aboard 'Aussie fish estuary adventures' with a thumping 44cm black bream caught during winter on a soft plastic grub. Fish was released and caught in a closed estuary system just south of Narooma.


Quality tailor like this are abundant in Wagonga Inlet at this time of the year. Chrome slice lures and larger soft plastics work the best.

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