Island kings spark up
  |  First Published: February 2010

Montague Island’s kingfish population has made a welcome return over recent weeks with local and visiting anglers getting good catches.

The fish are quite widespread and can be found anywhere at any time, but the north west corner has been a hot spot for the larger models.

All of these fish have been taken on jigs because this area is closed to live-baiting at the moment with the Marine Park regulations.

The kings are averaging 5kg with the odd hoodlum nudging 12kg.

If live-baiting is your go, the Fowlhouse Reef or south west corner is the place to fish with live slimy mackerel the preferred bait.

A lot will depend on how fast the current is running as to where the fish will be holding, but don’t be surprised to see the kings on the surface. If this happens, you’ll have loads of fun throwing large poppers or big soft plastics on light jig heads.

This type of fishing isn’t for everyone but the surface strikes should keep you coming back for more.

Mixed in with the kings are some large bonito and I know of a few albacore taken on jigs at the north end of the island.

Out wider, the game crews have done it a little tough with only the odd marlin caught. That should change over coming weeks as the water warms further, with black and striped marlin starting to play the game.

There have been a lot of marlin sighted but not many caught, though Steve Tedesco from Sea-Bee charters at Bermagui has done well. Steve has put his clients onto some nice striped marlin over 100kg, mostly taken on lures and switch-baiting.

There’s also the odd yellowfin tuna to about 30kg caught when trolling for marlin. Later this month you can expect some tuna to 80kg to be patrolling the continental shelf line.

Those after a feed of bottom fish have done well with the usual suspects filling the bags. Snapper, morwong and flathead are the main species with most reefs producing.

The Tuross and Potato Point reefs in 60m to 70m have seen a lot of the action with fresh squid and striped tuna strips the baits to use.

Anglers fishing the gravel on the south-western side of Montague have done well, particularly on snapper averaging 2kg.

Anglers chasing for flathead in deeper water are having a ball with bag limits inside a few hours. There’s been a great run of sand and especially big tiger flathead which are tasty in the pan.


In the estuaries it’s all systems go with a plethora of species chewing. It really depends on what you want to target and what technique to use to get some quality fish.

Fishos using live squirt worms in the main channel at Narooma are faring well, with the eastern side of the main highway bridge a hot spot.

Whiting and bream are the culprits with a few whiting nudging 45cm. At that size they know how to pull and are great on the plate.

Further upstream in the main basin flathead, legal snapper (30cm), flounder, tailor and bream are plentiful.

Bait and artificials are working with the shallower margins from the power lines upstream a good place to start.

Those using surface lures for bream and whiting are getting a few fish though they are patchy at times. We’ve certainly got better results late in the afternoon on a rising tide fishing the countless oyster racks.

Up at Tuross the action has improved dramatically with all species available. Bream are plentiful among the snags with shallow running hard-bodies working well.

There are a few estuary perch on the right snags with whiting everywhere on the flats.

A few anglers have done well casting lightly weighted bass yabbies and worms from the shore for whiting to 35cm and I expect this action improve as the boat traffic slows down.


The beaches have been slow compared to their usual standards, mainly due to the lack of swell and formed gutters.

The best beach is Brou, which has a deep gutter although a long cast is needed to reach it.

Those who can have been rewarded with monster salmon to 4kg, mainly on half pilchards on single paternoster rigs. Using a single hook rig is ideal when long casts are needed, with less wind resistant on the cast.

There have been a few bream and whiting just past the shore dump, though they have been hit and miss. A berley trail will help with crushed pipi shells a favourite. Use pipi or beach worms for bait and remember to fish light, you will catch more fish.

Rockhoppers have fared better with more salmon and tailor being on lightly weighted ganged pilchards, especially at first light. Some fishos are also doing well casting shiners to 40g.

The better ledges are Mystery Bay and the Golf Course Rocks. There’s the possibility of a kingfish, particularly for those who put in the effort and use live bait.

Blackfish, drummer and groper are scarce. Once we get some decent wash and swell around the headlands that will change.

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