Wagonga to Slow as Water Cools
  |  First Published: June 2009

July can be one of the most challenging months to get some fishing consistency - especially for those anglers fishing the estuaries.

Narooma’s Wagonga Inlet has fished well of late for a variety of species but expect the action to slow up as the water temperature drops further. Over winter, the water becomes crystal clear, making fishing difficult but fine tuning the tackle department can make the difference to a fishless session or a good one.

Anglers after bream in the upper reaches or around the racks will have to downsize their leaders in order to get bites. It doesn’t matter how fresh your bait is, or how good your artificial presentation is, they can see everything. Going light is the go and by that I mean using fluorocarbon straight through to the lure if casting plastics or hard-bodies.

If using bait use either 2 or 3 lb leader and smaller hooks. Sure, you are going to lose the odd fish due to the lighter stuff but better that than not getting bites at all. One thing to do is always check your leader after landing or even losing a fish for scuff marks or abrasions. What I do after every fish that’s been hooked, regardless if landed, is to retie the hook or lure to the leader or mainline. It may seem a little extreme to some but it will put more fish in the boat.

Up in the main basin, tailor have been prolific and they will continue to be. Fish to 70cm have been caught mainly by anglers fishing deep for flathead and mulloway. Soft plastics have worked on the bigger fish with small chrome lures cast to feeding schools catching the smaller fish to 45cm. Under the tailor snapper, bream, trevally and flathead have been caught, especially when the tailor are having a decent chew. It’s like a mobile burley trail already done for you and the fishing can be exceptional.

Another area to try is the channels from the drop-off to the breakwall. Trevally and bream are the species to target with stick-bait presentations the go.

There’s plenty of blackfish also. Drifting a well-presented weed offering under a float will see some tasty fillets for the pan. Use a little sand/weed burley to but use it sparsely.


Up at Tuross the river is fishing quite well for bream and estuary perch with hard-bodies catching the majority of fish. We have had some good success fishing the snags and rock bars that frequent the river from fourways to Bumbo creek. The fish are widespread but once you locate a patch you will do well. Just remember that estuary perch are in closed season so don’t be caught with any in you’re possession, you will get fined. There’s still a few flatties in the lower sections but with the cold water expect a lot of casts between fish.

Outside, snapper fishos are in for a treat as these fine table fish are really having a go. Almost all reefs are producing with the Tuross and Potato Point grounds firing. I know of at least 5 fish over the 6kg mark caught lately and it should only get better. These bigger fish have been caught on fresh cuttlefish strips and squid with the saying fresh is best paramount.

Most anglers are drifting with paternoster rigs as the current hasn’t been strong but anchoring up on reef and fishing your drifted baits over gravel is certainly worth a look, too.

With the reds morwong, trevally and john dory can be expected to make up the remainder of the bag. If fishing out wider blue-eye and Tassie trumpeter have made the canyon walls home with fish to 12 kg being caught. This deep water bottom-bouncing isn’t for everyone but if after a good feed I’d fully recommend it. A few pieces to the puzzle are needed to get results but that’s half the fun in fishing I reckon.

At Montague Island there has been good kingfish caught on live bait but I’d expect July to be pretty quiet. There may be the odd hoodlum on the surface but a lot will depend on prevailing sea and current conditions. Out wider again there will be yellowfin tuna around. So far it’s been a little slow with the odd fish to 90kg caught but certainly a lot of water between them. I still think it’s going to be a late season so if planning a trip to Narooma give the boys at Ocean Hut a ring and if at Bermagui give Scottie a buzz at Bridge Motors, they all have a pulse of what’s going on where.

Anglers fishing the beaches are getting the most consistent results with Australian salmon in plague proportions. These fine sportsfish are everywhere with brutes to 4kg common. At that size you will find it difficult to find a species that will fight as hard as they do, they never give up and on the right tackle a formidable opponent. All beaches are holding fish at one time or another with Narooma main, Dalmeny, Brou and Blackfellows all worth a look. Better baits to try are bluebait, pilchards, whitebait and bunches of live beach worms.

If using worms, bream are possible with the rockier corners of headlands the place to try. Light running sinker rigs cast past the shore dump is where most fish will be, though different beaches have different characteristics at times.

The rockhopping brigade have put away the high spin outfits and turned to Alveys to target the bread and butter species like blackfish, bream, drummer and groper. These species love the coolish water with cunjevoi, cabbage, prawns, and crabs all working at times.

Most headlands will produce though The Golf course rocks in town and Mystery Bay headland would the pick to fish. At Mystery Bay a few good snapper get caught every winter as they chase the inshore cuttlefish run so it to is worth ago.

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