Kingies come to play
  |  First Published: December 2009

The Montague Island kingfish population has come out of hibernation and decided it’s time to play.

In the last few weeks we have seen fish to 12kg caught, but the majority of kings are hovering around 3kg to 4kg.

It’s great to see good numbers of quality fish being caught, just in time for the holiday anglers to enjoy.

The kingies are quite widespread with the northern end, Fowlhouse Reef and the southern pinnacles all producing at times. A lot depends on current movement as to where the kings will hold up at any one time.

Most anglers are targeting them with jigs, with knife jigs popular.

The size of the jig to use will depend on how hard the current is running and what depth you’re fishing, but jigs from 100g to 200g should be ideal.

As we head further into January, you will find that live bait will work better, with yellowtail and slimy mackerel the preferred baits.

You should be able to get bait from the reef out the front of Main Beach, the rocks below the golf course or Kianga Reef.

The kings can become fickle with the increased boat traffic at Montague so take the time to and get live bait. It doesn’t usually take long to get a tankful and that way, your options are covered.

Out wider, the water will be around 21° and that means striped marlin. This season should be better than the last, with striped tuna schools prolific right along the South Coast.

There already have been a handful of good fish caught with one estimated at 160kg tagged and released. Most fish respond better to trolled skirted lures, though for those in the know switch-baiting can be dynamite at times.


Don’t just expect striped marlin, either, blacks to 200kg will be encountered and blue marlin are on the cards.

Every January a big blue is hooked and now that we know they exist in better numbers than once thought, more anglers and experienced boat crews are targeting them with the right tackle and getting the desired results in the process.

Smaller yellowfin tuna to 30kg have been patrolling the continental shelf line with anglers trolling skirted lures and bibbed minnows getting them. There should be the odd bigger fish to 60kg mixed in with the school fish.

Albacore numbers are on the increase, with these fine table fish averaging 10kg.These pint-sized rockets will be around for most of January, it’s just a matter of locating feeding fish and concentrating your efforts around them.

Even though lighter tackle up to 10kg is sufficient, I’d be using 15kg just in case a better class of fish or a yellowfin comes along.

The inshore reefs continue to fish well, with snapper, morwong, smaller kingfish and flathead available. Reefs like Brou and the deeper sections of Potato Point will produce.

Fresh bait like striped tuna, squid and whole pilchards should do the trick on single dropper rigs drifted around. Most of the snapper are 1kg to 2kg, not huge but tasty on the plate.


The very good estuary fishing will continue.

Wagonga Inlet has picked up considerably over recent weeks with some massive mulloway caught. I heard of a fish that went 25.5kg and measured 1.67m, caught on a live yellowtail.

There’s been a handful of fish of 18kg to 20kg, too, all caught on live bait.

When chasing these bigger fish, look for the rockier points close to deeper water; Wagonga has a few areas like this.

Those anglers targeting the jewies on artificial have done OK but the run of fish is smaller, with the average specimen about 4kg. Still, they’re nothing to be sneezed at, especially on light tackle.

Fishos after flathead are doing it quite tough compared with recent seasons but there are still good fish to be caught.

The shallower sections upstream are fishing better with smaller soft plastics the way to go. Afternoon draining tides are best when the water is at its warmest.

Up at Tuross, things are gradually picking up with bream, whiting, flathead and estuary perch all catchable.

Upstream of the highway bridge fishing has been good. The surface fishing is heating up with whiting and bream succumbing to poppers and walk baits around the weed fringed sandy edges.


The beaches have been a little patchy lately; some days are good and others very quiet.

Anglers who are doing well have been using fresh bait like live beach worms and pipis.

You can get bait like this from most local beaches. You need to put in a little work but the results make it worthwhile.

Bream, yellow eye mullet and whiting are making up most anglers’ bags.

The salmon action has been OK without being red-hot. Fish to 2kg are being caught on most beaches with decent gutters, with paternoster rigs working best.

Expect a few more tailor this month with mulloway also possible. Beaches like Brou, Tilba and Narooma Main are all worth a look.

The rock fishing for bread-and-butter species like luderick and drummer has slowed with the warmer water.

Dalmeny and the lower section of the Golf Course Rocks have produced a few fish with berley an absolute must for consistent results.

If you’re targeting the pelagic species 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 with whole ganged pilchards or live bait other options.

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