Tuross flatties ease the freeze
  |  First Published: August 2008

The estuaries around Narooma have fished particularly well lately despite the cool winds and cold water that this time of year bring.

Tuross Lake, just north of Narooma, has been a standout, with most anglers getting a feed without too much troubles. Flathead have been the main targets, mostly school fish between 40cm and 45cm with a dozen or more a session normal and the odd croc close to 90cm.

Almost all fish are being taken on soft plastics, with smaller lures up to 70mm the go.

Try to use plastics that have a lot of vibration when swimming in the cold water. Over recent weeks when guiding there this has been a must, with some days producing 40-plus fish.

Anglers using stick-style plastics and bait have struggled with only the odd fish captured. The fish are quite widespread but patchy but when you find them, expect to have some fun.

Fishos targeting bream have done OK, with the lower sections fishing better. Anglers using nippers and squirt worms, especially at night, have fared best with the shallower margins towards the entrance a good starting point.

Even with the very cold water some thumping whiting are mixed in with the bream. These fish are averaging 38cm, good sport and even better on the plate.

Expect this action to continue right through August and to only get better as we head into Spring.

Wagonga Inlet has been quiet with only a smattering of flathead and bream caught from the upper reaches in the shallows, with afternoon high tides most productive.

Again, soft plastics will account for the majority of fish though fishos using unweighted baits should be able to snare a few.

Tailor have been active in the main basin with working birds a giveaway to where they are feeding. Casting small shiners into the schools is the best method of targeting them.

Expect a few salmon up to 2kg with the tailor. At that size they are great sport on light tackle and loads of fun.


Out on the reefs the snapper run continues. Anglers are having a ball on reds to 5kg with bag limits being reached inside a few hours on some occasions and I can’t see it changing too much over coming weeks.

Almost all reefs are holding quality reds with the southern end of Montague Island a hot spot.

The reefs up off Tuross and Potato Point are also worth a look, concentrate your efforts in 60m to 70m. Better baits are squid, pilchards and striped tuna with soft plastic anglers getting plenty as well. Expect morwong, trevally, john dory and the dreaded leatherjackets as by-catch.

The pelagic action at Montague Island is like a yo-yo.

Some days the kings play the game with jigs, squid and live bait catching fish. Most are coming from the southern pinnacles especially when the tide is running north, with a few respectable bonito thrown in.

Out wider, sporadic captures of tuna are still being made with a few yellowfin to 40kg. Travelling many miles and burning heaps of fuel has resulted in the dedicated or mad anglers being rewarded but I’d be saving the fuel for later on when the tuna become more concentrated.


On the beaches the fishing has been patchy with some huge swells. When they have tapered off some good salmon and tailor have been caught and those diehards who don’t mind the cold are chasing gummy sharks and mulloway to 11kg.

Best baits for these bigger beach species are salmon and tailor fillets, fresh squid and whole pilchards. Better beaches include Narooma Main, Tilba, 1080 and the southern end of Brou.

If you’re after the pelagic species, chrome shiners and paternoster surf rigs will work. A bait/surf popper combination can be deadly; you would be surprised how many fish get caught on the artificial.

The rockhoppers continue to smile with the bread-and-butter species doing the right thing, mainly in the form of blackfish, drummer and some thumping bream.

Some of the drummer are in the XOS class with pigs to 4kg being caught. At that size groper tackle is required to get them out, with cunjevoi the gun bait.

Smaller whole crabs fished unweighted in the washes are another way to target bigger fish. Cutting crabs into quarters should result in a bream or two, especially when fished with berley.

Salmon and tailor will be available on the outer wash zones with whole pilchards and lures doing the trick. Winter usually means bigger salmon so a slightly heavier outfit might be the go, especially when lifting them out of the water.

Areas worth a look are Dalmeny Headland, Mystery Bay, Blackfellows Headland just north of Potato Point and the golf course rocks in town.

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