This is a great month to fish South Coast waters; the air and sea temperatures are rising and with the warmth comes fish, and lots of them.
Whether you’re fishing the rocks, beach, estuary or offshore, most species can be targeted and good catches can be expected.
Last year was the best start to an offshore game season we’ve had for a long time. Yellowfin tuna, albacore, striped marlin and some decent bities were calling the waters off Narooma home.
Expect the same this year as schools of yellowfin and albacore have been sighted and the odd fish has been caught up off Tuross. Trolling lures will catch almost all of these early season fish, with medium-sized pushers and large bibbed minnows getting results.
Lure patterns, colours and trolling speeds are all up to the individual but we’ve had great success with green pushers and purple bibbed minnows, especially early in the season.
Most fish will come from the shelf to the 1000-fathom line, with fish from 10 to 30kg the norm.
Even though these fish aren’t huge, I recommend using 24kg stand-up as a minimum tackle. Fish to 80kg are a real possibility and it wouldn’t be the first time someone hooked a corker on under-gunned tackle. A fish of this size is a lifetime ambition for many, so stick to the heavier tackle because you never know when Mr Big will turn up!
Montague Island should be fishing well by now, with most anglers targeting kingfish. Jigs, livebait and lead lining with squid will all catch fish but every day is different with these sometimes finicky feeders.
A short stop at the bait grounds in the morning is an ace in the hand, as I have seen many frustrated anglers in the past go straight to the island with jig rods their only weapons. As much as I love chasing kings on hardware, a few yellowtail or slimy mackerel in the tank can sometimes get those rods to bend when nothing else will.
Current and tide will determine where to fish but the north end and Fowlhouse reefs are good starting points.
The inshore reefs have been a little slow with the odd mowie, snapper and flattie being caught.
Some better-sized reds are coming from 60 to 70m straight off Potato Point. Most fish are around 5kg but catching two or three fish per session is about average.
The snapper fishing should only improve from now as the water warms up. When it does, expect some good fishing on the close reef off Brou Beach. It has produced the goods in the past, with soft plastics and unweighted baits the best methods.
Wagonga Inlet will be in full swing by now with whiting, bream, mulloway and big flathead available.
The flatties will be widespread but the bigger fish tend to travel upstream from late November onwards in this system. Large soft plastics and live poddy mullet are the gun methods if a big lizard is what you’re after.
Bream and whiting will start to hang around the sand flats looking for nippers, squirt worms and small prawns. Livebait will definitely work best here but small shallow-running hard-bodied lures fished on a high tide around the mangroves will certainly fool a bream or two.
The odd mulloway should also turn up, but if you’re chasing these marvels, Tuross Lake will be a better option. A few good fish up to 11kg have been caught over the past few weeks on lures and fresh bait.
The local beaches have continued to fish well for salmon. Jack Dart and I had a ripper session a week or so ago, catching and releasing around 35 fish up to 2kg. A lot of the fish were caught on bream gear and small metal shiners – great fun on the light stuff!
As the water warms expect bream, whiting and mullet to show up in the shallow beach breaks. Fresh pipis and beachworms are the best baits.
There’s still some good drummer fishing to be had. The rocks down at Handkerchief Beach have produced well over the past few weeks with cabbage the top bait.
The deeper waters of Mystery Bay should start to see some pelagic action from now until May. Small kingies, bonito, salmon and tailor are all possibilities, with lures and ganged pilchards the best methods.Reads: 499