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It’s an offshore cornucopia
  |  First Published: February 2008



The offshore action wide of Narooma has been excellent with a wide range of game species on offer. With the water hovering around 24°, this action should continue for a few months.

Marlin is the buzzword and game anglers are in for a field day. Over the past few weeks I have heard of at least a dozen fish caught and tagged with many others winning their freedom.

Most fish have been striped marlin to 120kg but blue and black marlin will also be hovering around. Bait concentrations from the 70-fathom line are prolific, especially down deep with slimy mackerel schools blacking out sounders at times.

Striped tuna schools are abundant on the surface so slowly trolling a live bridled stripey could well produce a strike. A lot of the action has been on the shelf with The Kink and Tuross Canyons consistent areas to try.

If the weather is kind and you’re confident enough to travel to the second drop-off, it also may be worth a look. This area is the territory for big blue marlin with huge pusher lures to 16” and 80lb chair outfits the norm. This style of fishing isn’t for everyone, but when it all comes together you’ll know it was worth it.

Blue marlin are tough customers and every February a few brutes get hooked but most win their freedom. If you are lucky enough to tangle with one, good luck and have the chiropractor booked for the next day!

Those after smaller pelagics will find yellowfin tuna to 40kg but expect the run of fish to be smaller than that if the water is any warmer than 24°. Smaller pushers and bibbed minnows work to great effect on mid-size fish with green and purple colours among the favourites.

There remain some solid yellowfin at Montague Island with most fish coming from the northern and western sides. These are mostly school fish averaging 30kg with trolled lures again doing the damage.

ISLAND KINGS

The kingfish should be in full swing. Jigs, livies and trolled lures will produce with the north-western corner and Fowlhouse Reef good starting points. Tides and currents play an important role with the kings so pay attention to what’s going on around you and fish spots accordingly.

Wagonga Inlet will still fish well despite increased angling pressure over February. Flathead, bream, blackfish and whiting will all be available on lures and bait.

Some big flathead have been caught lately with the best I have seen 96cm, a very nice fish that was released by one very happy angler after a few photos – great to see.

A lot of these bigger fish have been caught in the lower section of the inlet with the weed edges in around 7m to 8m running hot.

Yellowfin and black bream should be around the oyster racks and weed edges with softies, poppers and hard minnows doing the trick.

The whiting will be in full swing with squirt worms or nippers achieving the desired effect. The sand flats near the Fisheries office are a great place for shore-based anglers; fish the flood tide early in the morning for best results.

There are still a few jewies around though they are not big. We’ve managed seven over the last month in Wagonga averaging 5kg – great fun on light braid. All were caught on soft plastics fished around tailor schools, including some in the middle of the day so never give up.

TUROSS FIRES

Over at Tuross things are also going well. Big flathead, whiting, bream, blackfish and tailor are being caught throughout the system with bass and estuary perch captures increasing further upstream.

Anglers using a range of hard-bodies and plastics have done well, especially late in the afternoon.

The beaches will continue to fish well for bream, salmon, tailor, yellow-eye mullet and whiting. Most beaches will hold fish with those south of Narooma the pick of the bunch.

Try to fish the deeper sections with a lot of white water around. The rocky corners will also produce bream especially. Tuna cubes are dynamite for bream and this tougher bait can handle the pickers a lot better than softer baits.

Anglers after bigger prey like mulloway and gummy sharks could also hit paydirt. A few are always encountered particularly at beaches like Tilba, 1080, Blackfellows and Camel Rock. Better baits include fresh squid, tailor fillets, bunches of live beach worms and live mullet or whiting. Fish after dark on a rising tide.

Off the rocks salmon, tailor and bonito can be expected with most platforms holding fish. The main ledge at the golf course rocks and Mystery Bay’s high rock would be the pick with Dalmeny Headland also worth a look.

A fresh pilchard slowly retrieved on ganged 4/0 hooks is the best way to tempt them. Use only a small ball sinker running straight down to the hook.

A few kingfish are caught this way every year so slightly heavier tackle will at least give you a fighting chance. It also pays here to have a long-handled gaff on hand; you never know when you’ll need it.

Bream, blackfish, drummer and trevally are always on the cards in the washes so have that light outfit ready. A little berley helps when chasing these fish with fresh prawns, cunjevoi, bread and cabbage the baits to use.

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