Beaches on fire
  |  First Published: September 2005

I can’t really believe that spring is here. I should be pumped at the prospect of warmer weather and more fish but I’m not.

Did we really have a winter? Sure, we got a bit of rain and a few screaming southerlies but this winter’s fishing was nothing short of exceptional.

The local beaches have been on fire for months now with salmon and tailor prolific. Salmon to 3kg and some monster tailor to 6kg have been smacking baits on most beaches.

Tilba Beach, south of Narooma, has seen some awesome fishing of late.

Jack Dart, a local beach fanatic, has been having a ball. He’s braining them on every trip. Last week Jack called to tell me about one session in particular, when he caught salmon, bream and big tailor to nearly 5kg and lost two other fish the same size, if not bigger.

Other reports of fishos getting busted up and broken off have been numerous, so if a big greenback tailor is on your list I know what I’d be doing. Pilchards, bluebait and shiners have all caught fish. Try them all and stick to what’s working on the day.

Wagonga Inlet has been fishing consistently over the past few weeks. The big downpour of a few weeks back shut it down for a while but with the cleaner water, good bream, trevally and some sizeable duskies have turned up.

The main channel is the place to fish, with soft plastics catching the majority of fish. Work the run-up tide close to the rock walls for best results. The main basin is loaded with tailor, the better fish being caught on trolled deep-divers.

Snapper, bream and flatties are being caught close to the weed edges, especially in Barlows Bay. Flick some small softies like the Berkley Gulps or Squidgy Flickbaits in the evil minnow colour and a feed won’t be far away.

The rocks have produced all the usuals. Blackfish and drummer are abundant in the washes with the golf course rocks the best place to try with cabbage and cunjevoi.

High Rock down at Mystery Bay has produced some pan-sized snapper on unweighted pilchards on ganged hooks. Good-sized salmon can also be expected with bonito an outside chance.

Offshore, the bottom bouncers have been having a ball. As on most of the South Coast reefs, snapper have been prolific. Reds are averaging 2kg but some good fish up to 6kg have been caught.

The northeast corner of Montague Island has been a hotspot. The water here is 50 to 60 metres so a decent-sized lead is needed to get to the bottom.

Brou and Fullers reefs are also holding snapper, with Brou the spot if you’re chasing big fish. Whole squid heads and cuttlefish have been the gun baits.

Fullers Reef has had good numbers of sand flathead and morwong too. I saw some locals’ catches there a few weeks back and they were impressive, with five different edible species and quality-sized fish.

The kingies at Montague have been spasmodic to say the least. One day you bag out, the next two days, nothing. When they are on, jigs have worked well.

Livebait has been getting the bigger fish but bait has been hard to get. Bonito have been at the island in numbers and have taken jigs, trolled deep-divers and livebait.

The game fishing scene has been non-existent. Let’s wait another month or so and hope the small yellowfin and albacore we got early last season turn up again. They were good fun.

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