May is prime time for game enthusiasts, with yellowfin tuna high on most anglers’ priorities.
Fish to 90kg can be expected, although the average run of fish will be 30kg to 40kg. The continental shelf to the 1000-fathom line is the place to fish, with 24kg stand-up gear the minimum tackle required, I reckon.
You never know when a jumbo tuna decides to play and having 24kg, at least you have a chance of landing it. Every year some monsters turn up and going by the early indications, this tuna season could be a corker.
Anglers targeting marlin with lures have already landed a few fish to 70-odd kilos, and albacore to 22kg also have turned up.
As the water cools further, the albies should be prolific on the shelf. Cubing and trolling smaller skirted lures are the ideal ways to target them.
One can expect mako sharks up to 200kg as well and at this size they are not for the faint-hearted and an experienced crew is needed to capture them.
At Montague Island the kingfish have been OK– some days excellent and others very quiet.
A lot depends on current for these back-breaker fish: If it’s going south they’ll be on; if not, forget it pretty much, though you may get a few fish south of the island.
Live bait and jigs are the go, with the northern end of the island best but that can change.
The inshore snapper run should be in full swing by now, with good fish available on most inshore reefs. Potato Point, Brou and Tuross are the top locations with fresh squid, cuttlefish, tuna and pilchards the best baits to tempt them.
Reds to 4kg can be expected with the average fish pushing a kilo or so.
Anglers using soft plastics will also have fun and conditions this month are often ideal for small boats. Other species like morwong, flathead, dory and leatherjackets will make up the remainder of bags.
On the rocks drummer, blackfish and bream will call the suds home, but a lot will depend on conditions as to how they feed. A ledge with whitewater is ideal; the rocks at Dalmeny are perfect for this especially if the seas are calm.
Fresh cabbage, cunjevoi, crabs and prawns are great baits and berley is a must. Expect these species to really fire up as we head into Winter, with groper also on the cards.
For the guys who target pelagics from the stones, May is ideal. Bonito, mackerel tuna, kingfish, salmon and longtail tuna are all possibilities with lures and live bait. Throwing ganged pilchards a long way out and slowly retrieving them will also pay dividends.
Mystery Bay, south of Narooma, would be the pick, but the rocks at the golf course are worth a look. Nearly every good tuna I have caught off the stones around this area has come in May so now is the time to target one.
The beaches will continue to produce salmon, tailor and the odd bream. I have heard of a few gummy sharks from Brou beach so if you can brave the cold nights or early mornings it might be worth a look.
Dalmeny, Kianga and Narooma main beaches have been the pick for the salmon on blue bait, surf poppers and pilchards, with paternoster rigs the go. If targeting the bream, use light outfits with live beach worms for best results.
In the estuaries it’s all systems go. Since the March rains Wagonga Inlet is alive with fish, with everything chewing at some time of the day.
The place is loaded with bait from the channels to the very top of the basin. I don’t think I can remember so much bait in this system at any one time.
Bream, mulloway, flathead, blackfish, flounder and tailor are all there for the picking. We’ve had some cracking days guiding there lately with some producing 50 legal fish for the day, and it looks set to keep on going for a few weeks yet.
The fish are responding to a wide variety of bait and lure techniques.
A lot of the bait fishos are targeting the channels on the run-out tide late in the afternoon. Anchoring up has been the go as the current here can run pretty fast and fresh bait has been paramount for consistent results.
Lure casters won’t get much better conditions. Calm days have been the norm, making fishing the deeper water easier. This is where most of the species are coming from with the 8m to 10m depths a good starting point.
Smaller plastics to 70mm are ideal with fishos using blades also doing well, especially on bream. You do lose a few to tailor, which can make it expensive, but the results seem to make it worthwhile.
I can’t see this action changing in the short term so it may be worth a drive to have a crack.
Up at Tuross it’s still a bit hit and miss with a few flatties coming from the lower sections. Those who are doing well are fishing after dark with live prawns and catching plenty of bream and whiting with the odd decent dusky.
The entrance is still quite deep and I expect a few mulloway to show up over coming weeks.Reads: 1026