Game season a ripper
  |  First Published: April 2008

The game season off Narooma has been a ripper when the weather has allowed, with a string of notable captures.

Yellowfin tuna have been around in numbers although the average size is smaller than in previous seasons. Trailerboat anglers and charter clients are getting into them with some boats encountering up to a dozen fish a day.

Most are less than 40kg but there is still the occasional 60kg-plus fish being caught. The best I have heard of was a stud 85kg fish, an exceptional capture by the angler on 24kg stand-up tackle.

Most fish have been caught from the shelf to the 1000-fathom line so if you head out wide make sure the weather is suitable for the size of boat you have.

Expect a few striped and black marlin, too, especially if trolling slightly larger skirted lures. Slow-trolling live slimy mackerel and switch-baiting should also produce.

At last Montague Island’s kingfish have decided to wake up, with good numbers being caught on live bait and jigs. The majority are between 4kg and 6kg with the odd 15kg thumper.

Most fish have been taken on the northern end of the island but the Fowlhouse Reef on the western side has also produced.

Often in April the bigger fish will be on the surface around the Fowlhouse chasing sauries and can become quite hard to catch. The best method I have found when this happens is to slowly troll a large live slimy mackerel.

The water is quite shallow through this reef so heavier stand-up tackle is required to stop the kings reefing you. If you have the patience you will get a few but be prepared to lose a few baits to the seals as well.

The reefs have been fishing well for months and should continue so. Snapper, morwong, sand and tiger flathead and smaller kingfish have been in good numbers although most are not big.

There have reports of gummy sharks north of Narooma with Brou and Potato Point the best places to try with fresh striped tuna or squid.

The beaches will continue to fish well for salmon and tailor with enough bream, whiting and mullet to keep things interesting.

Live beach worms have been the standout bait with a lot of salmon caught on lures and blue surf poppers fished on a paternoster rig. As the cooler months approach expect the salmon fishing to only get better.

A few mulloway are still being caught at Tuross off the beach but you’ll need to put in a lot of time.

The inside of the north Narooma breakwall is the place for ripper bream on striped tuna on the ebb tide.

There are still a few bonito off the golf course rocks with a lot of tailor on lures and ganged pilchards, with the mornings definitely better. There have been increased reports of bream and blackfish in the washes.


In Wagonga Inlet the channels are still holding good numbers of bream, whiting and flathead with huge schools of mullet towards the entrance.

Every day on the flood tide anglers are having a ball on mullet near the 8-knot sign on the eastern side of the channel near the main wharf. Bread or dough is all you need for the mullet, with fish to a kilo common. Berley will increase catch rates because the water there eddies and seems to hold the fish.

Up in the main basin mulloway numbers have increased. Some of my clients managed fish of 10kg and 6.5kg there on the last moon on lures but anglers using bait have also fared well.

If using lures, concentrate your efforts around whitebait schools and always scan for busting tailor – mulloway love them and a lot of fish caught in this system are found around the tailor. You do lose a few lures to the choppers but the rewards will see you smiling for days. This action will last for a few months yet.

Further upstream, bream and whiting have been busy hitting lures and baits.

Surface lures like poppers and walk-the-dog patterns have produced some exciting visual fishing. The hook-up rate on the surface isn’t usually high but it’s fun to see fish smashing your lures.

Expect some good bream around the racks with suspending hard-bodies fished at 1m best. Anglers fishing fresh bait are also getting great results. Fish the bases of the racks with lightly weighted baits and hang on!

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