Wagonga comes alive
  |  First Published: December 2008

The tranquil waters of Narooma’s Wagonga Inlet have come alive over the past few weeks with most species willing to play the game.

Mulloway numbers have increased with fish to 14kg taking baits and artificials. The main basin has been the place to fish with anglers concentrating on the tailor schools having the most success.

Over the last week while guiding we’ve managed four solid jewies from 6kg to 12kg on soft plastics. These fish have been caught at various stages of the day with tide changes, bait activity and overcast weather the key ingredients.

A few gun local anglers have done well using unweighted fresh squid after dark on likely-looking points and bommies. A fair bit of patience is required to target these golden brutes but once it all comes together, you’ll know it was certainly worth it.

Flathead to 95cm have to been captured with soft plastics again proving effective. These bigger fish are quite widespread throughout the system so moving around is definitely required.

I’d be concentrating around the edges and fishing in 6m to 9m with bigger lures with the water temperature around 22°. Big flathead can be quite lazy at times, making a bigger lure more attractive as a decent feed.

You can expect smaller fish to 50cm with legal pinkie snapper, bream and flounder. These ideal table fish are best targeted with smaller lures and fresh bait like striped tuna, squid and live bass yabbies.

Tuross is fishing OK without being dynamite. With the entrance now closed you can expect the water to warm very quickly with whiting and bream numbers increasing, especially in the shallows.

These fish can be targeted on live squirt worms, bass yabbies or surface lures with early mornings best.

Flathead have been caught in the lower sections with live poddy mullet working well. Soft plastics have worked but quite a lot of casting is required to get a decent bag.

Further upstream, bream, estuary perch and bass have been abundant in the snags. Good casting skills will be needed because the fish are tight to the structure.


Outside, yellowfin tuna to 30kg have been patrolling the continental shelf line with anglers trolling skirted lures and bibbed minnows getting them.

A few albacore to 8kg are mixed with the tuna. These fish will be around for most of January, it’s just a matter of locating feeding fish.

Even though lighter tackle up to 15kg suffices for these fish, I would still be using 24kg as you never know when Mr Big might come along.

January will also see increased marlin captures. Trolling lures and switch-baiting are the best methods with striped and blacks the most prolific but out wider blue marlin are on the cards. These brutes are generally targeted in very deep water and with larger lures so good luck if you connect with one.

The inshore reefs like Brou, Potato, Tuross and the gravel patch off Dalmeny will continue to fish well for snapper, morwong, smaller kingfish and flathead.

Use fresh bait where possible, which shouldn’t be too hard because the striped tuna have been thick in close. Trolling a couple of small Christmas tree lures will give you all the fresh bait you need.

At Montague Island the kingfish have been patchy with some days great and others poor. On the good days jigs have worked particularly well with the northern end and Fowlhouse Reef producing fish to 8kg but most are 3kg to 4 kg.

Remember the kingfish legal limit is now 65cm and pay close attention to the marine park rules about live-baiting at the northern end of the island.

Beach anglers are having a great time with salmon in plague numbers at times. I thought they would have tapered off with the warmer water but not so.

Almost all beaches are holding fish, with the better ones Tilba, Narooma Main, Kianga and Brou. Most methods are working with paternoster rigs rigged with bait and surf poppers popular.

Tailor numbers have picked up and there are quality bream from Tilba on live beach worms, with tuna cubes a close second.

Expect bigger and more whiting this month from the close gutters on light line.

After dark, mulloway and gummy sharks are possible opponents with big, fresh slab baits like tailor ideal. Fish the deeper sections of the gutters on a rising tide.

The rock fishing brigade should be happy with salmon, tailor, kingfish and surface speedsters like frigate mackerel, striped tuna and bonito.

Anglers fishing shiners will fare best using higher-geared reels. Quite often the faster you wind, the better the action.

If high-speed spinning is not for you, pilchards on ganged hooks will get results. Better ledges to try are the Golf Course Rocks in town, Mystery Bay or the north breakwall.

If you’re after a feed, blackfish and bream will take lightly weighted baits like cunjevoi in most washes.

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