Wide Outlook for February
  |  First Published: February 2009

Sportfishers fishing the wider grounds off Narooma have done extremely well of late with a host of gamefish on offer.

Marlin has been top of the agenda with a number of notable captures taking place over recent weeks. The best I’ve heard off was a 135kg black taken while trolling a live striped tuna near Montague Island. The lucky anglers from Melbourne caught it on 24kg stand-up tackle and took just over an hour to land.

There have been reports of good numbers of striped marlin out at the shelf and if the weather does the right thing a lot more stripes should be encountered. Consistent windy weather has made it difficult for smaller boats to venture out wide but anglers in bigger boats or on charter have done well.

Most of the fish are responding to trolled lures or switch-baiting live bait after being teased up. This is a great method on marlin with a lot more crews having a go and getting more consistent hook-up rates and captures. Thankfully, most fish are tagged and released to fight another day, which is awesome to see.

With the water a warm 24ºC, yellowfin tuna to 40kg, mahi mahi and possibly wahoo are all on the cards, but a lot depends on currents, bait and temperature.

At Montague Island things are in full swing with kingfish having a fair go. They are belting jigs with gusto, and the northern end is the place to fish. A few locals I’ve talked to reckon it’s the best they have seen for years, which is great for the visiting fishers and locals.

Most fish are around the 4kg mark with the odd fish to 10kg. A few of the bigger models are being caught on live slimy mackerel, but please be wary at where you’re fishing with the Marine Park rules.

If live baiting is for you, I’d be spending more time around the Fowl House Reef on the western side of the Island. Good markings of fish have been present with early mornings seeing the fish on the surface.

Anglers fishing the bottom are happy with snapper to 2kg, and they are plentiful on the inshore grounds. Both Tuross and Potato Point are worth a look with the 60-70m area a good starting point. Drifting with paternoster rigs is all that’s required with fresh squid or tuna the top baits.

Mixed in with the reds are morwong, pigfish and heaps of flatties on the sand/gravel edges.

Over the last few weeks the beach action has certainly turned around for the better. With the water temperature increasing, whiting have really turned it on with some quality bags being caught. Fresh pipi and live beachworms are the best baits. Some good bream are mixed in with the whiting, with yellow-eye mullet a great by-catch also.

Beaches that are worth a look are Narooma main, 1080, Tilba and Brou. The northern end of Blackfellows Beach (Tuross river entrance) has also produced the goods.

Salmon and tailor have made a welcome return of late with pilchards, surf poppers and metal lures getting results. The salmon action has been very quiet but the last few weeks it has really picked up. This has been mainly due to increased white water on the beaches. Fish to 3kg have been caught but most are 1.5-2kg.

The rock fishing for bread-and-butter species like luderick and drummer has slowed with the increased water temperatures. Drummers are almost non-existent at present with plenty of effort needed for a feed of blackfish fillets.

Dalmeny and the lower section of the Golf Course Rocks have produced a few fish with berley an absolute must for more consistent results. However, if you’re targeting the pelagics you would have a smile from ear to ear.

Kingfish, striped tuna and frigates have been caught from the Golfie front ledge as well as High Rock at Mystery Bay. Throwing chromed lures has produced the best results, though live bait under a balloon may produce bigger kingfish.

In the estuaries it’s all go with all species chewing. It really depends on what you’re after and what technique you want to use – it’s that good. Wagonga Inlet is certainly the pick with early mornings fishing best, regardless of tides. Monster flathead and mulloway have been captured mainly on soft plastics with a few duskies falling to poddie mullet.

The fish are quite widespread throughout the system, but fishing whitebait schools is a good place to start. If the wind allows, some big bream and legal snapper are in the deeper sections. Using lightly weighted plastics has seen some great captures of both species, with blades also picking up fish.

In the channels both whiting and bream can be caught. Use live Bass yabbies or squirt worms for bait. The run-in tide is the time to fish with sparse amounts of berley used increasing bag sizes.

Up at Tuross the fishing has been okay but certainly not as good as previous years. There’s still some solid flathead around with our last trip yielding 30 odd fish for the day, with the best a croc of 94cm. That’s a solid fish in anyone’s books.

A little further upstream bass and estuary perch are among the snags with hardbodied lures fished close to structure getting results. The mornings have been good for surface lures with poppers and walk-the-dog presentations catching fish.

A few bream are around to but are patchy, but once you find them expect some solid action. Again upstream is the place to fish although there are a lot of fish among the oyster racks, but they can be very skittish and hard to entice.

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