Eyes turn to yellowfin
  |  First Published: May 2008

May means yellowfin tuna around Narooma and if the past few weeks’ captures are anything to go by, we can expect some memorable angling this month.

’Fin to 60kg have been captured, mainly by fishos trolling skirted lures for marlin, but a few game crews have already had success berleying and cubing.

Most of the action has occurred at the continental shelf so heavier tackle is recommended. I wouldn’t use anything under 24kg stand-up because tuna to 90kg are real possibilities. At this size they are brutes on any tackle and anyone who has had the pleasure of tangling with one will surely agree with me.

There should be a few mako sharks to 200kg – a real handful.

Over the past few seasons yellowfin have been caught at Montague Island in increasing numbers. The average size seems to be around 30kg but every year is different and with the abundant bait, especially sauries, bigger fish could be on the cards.

Traditionally the north end of the island has been the spot over recent years but the Fowlhouse Reef and southern pinnacles are definitely worth a look.

Above-average kingfish are possible, especially in the cooler water that May brings. Trolling live slimy mackerel and bibbed minnows will bring results, look out for bait on the surface and always watch the sounder.

School fish to 6kg will be available with jigs, live bait and squid fished on a flasher rig bringing the results.

The snapper action has been good and will get better. Anglers anchoring up and berleying will do well with unweighted pilchards and fresh squid strips. Fishos targeting reds on soft plastics should clean up, especially in slightly deeper water, with reefs off Potato Point and Tuross good starting points.

Other species like morwong, john dory and the ever-reliable flathead will make up the rest of the bag.

The Golf Course Rocks have been fishing well for salmon and tailor on lures and ganged pilchards. Slow-rolling a pilchard at various depths has been a key to success, with the fish on the surface some days and other times down deeper.

Some big drummer and blackfish have been caught and we can expect more through the Winter. Red crabs and cunjevoi are the pick of the baits with berley a must for consistent bags.

Anglers spinning from the Golf Course and High Rock at Mystery Bay have a good chance of mackerel tuna and big bonito. In recent Mays there have been good fish from both platforms so a few early-morning spin sessions are on the cards. Chrome lures up to 50g are ideal but change the trebles to heavier ones because the standard hooks on most chromies are not up to scratch.


The main channel in Wagonga Inlet is holding good quantities 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 the mullet near the 8-knot sign on the eastern side of the channel near the main wharf. Bread and dough are all you need for mullet to a kilo. Berley will increase catch rates as the water eddies and seems to hold the fish.

With the cooler water this month expect bigger trevally to enter the system. Plastics up to 80mm should do the trick with natural colours best. Live nippers, fresh local prawns, striped tuna cubes and worms will also work.

The main basin has also been fishing well and should continue so. Tailor numbers are on the increase with fish to 3kg common. Cast smaller chrome shiners at working birds and drop a big soft plastic beneath the tailor schools for a mulloway.

A lot of jewies are caught this way in the inlet. You do go through a few plastics but if you do hook up it will be worth it.

Up at Tuross things have slowed down but there are still some quality fish. Flathead will start to move upstream this month, try the river itself with smaller soft plastics and fresh bait. The shallower banks will work well as the water cools off.

Down the front of the system, blackfish and bream should be abundant with mullet schools active. Anchor and berley with fresh bait like peeled prawns or squirt worms.

A few mulloway should be lurking around the mullet schools with bigger soft plastics the best way to tempt one.


On the beaches, things have been hot with salmon in plague proportions. Every person I talk to is having a ball on fish to 3kg. Any beach with a decent gutter is producing.

Pilchards, blue bait and surf poppers on paternoster rigs are ideal baits.

Tailor numbers are also increasing and bream to 45cm are around on live beach worms and mullet fillets, with Blackfellows Beach, just south of Tuross, a hot spot.

Other beaches to try are Tilba, 1080, Narooma Main and Brou.

Expect a few gummy sharks this month, especially after dark on a rising tide. Fresh squid and tailor fillets are perfect baits.

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