The tuna tune up
  |  First Published: May 2010

Don’t let Winter deter you from experiencing some of the great fishing still available around the Narooma region.

Offshore, game fishos are peaking, with the past few weeks producing a dynamic late-season marlin bite. The fish have been thick some days, with the Tuross canyons getting most of the action.

Some boats experienced up to 14 shots a day with multiple captures the norm. Striped marlin to 130kg with the odd 50kg-plus yellowfin were caught and skirted pushers and slow-trolled live slimy mackerel were the go.

By the time you read this it will be all over but you never know with Mother Nature!

The tuna action will still be hot and I think this season is going to be a corker. There already have been some decent models landed while cubing, with one visiting crew on the continental shelf getting six yellowfin from 42kg to 68kg.

These lads fished the temperature break, which quite often holds fish. It was only a difference of a degree or so but it certainly made the difference for this switched-on crew.

As the month unfolds albacore numbers will increase, with big yellowfin a definite possibility at Montague Island. It won’t be like the halcyon days of the 1980s and early ’90s but I’d expect a smattering of fish at the north end of the island at some time this month.

The kings at Montague have been a little sporadic, with some days awesome and others just plain ordinary. When they have played the game, fish to 8kg have taken jigs and live bait mainly at the north end and inside the Fowlhouse Reef on the western side.

There have been a lot of mega-bonito mixed in with the kings, with a few of these speedsters pushing 8kg. That’s very big for a bonnie and great fun on light tackle – if you can get them in past the seals!

Those after a feed of bottom dwellers have had mixed fortunes with flathead becoming difficult to find. Once you do locate a patch it’s all systems go but finding them has been the key.

A few locals have done well on gummy sharks while targeting flathead so the trade-off hasn’t been too bad.

This month the snapper should really improve with most haunts producing. Anchoring up and using berley with lightly weighted baits can be dynamite on the reef/gravel edges.


Wagonga Inlet is still on fire but I expect it to slow considerably over coming weeks.

At the moment it’s full of life with bait everywhere and tailor numbers not seen for quite a few years.

The size of the tailor is an eye-opener with the average fish 40cm or so. We’ve caught plenty to 65cm or around 2kg with bigger fish lost when targeting mulloway.

At this size they fight incredibly well on light braid and are great fun for kids and others who are starting out.

Under the tailor the elusive mulloway hunts and the past month produced six jewies to 96cm for us. These bronzed creatures are on the increase right along the coast, and whatever stocking program that Fisheries have done up north, please keep it going as it’s certainly paying dividends down the coast.

The mulloway have been in the deeper parts of the Main Basin with smaller plastics accounting for the majority of fish. The bonus here is the by-catch of bream, legal snapper and big flathead.

Tuross is still quiet with reports of bream and flathead from the lower sections mainly on bait at night. Those using bass yabbies or squirt worms have fared best but there’s a lot of water in between fish at the moment.

Over the next month or so I’d be concentrating more in the river section and fishing the shallower flats for the flatties. Small plastics to 70mm should do the trick with the snags starting to improve for bream and estuary perch.


The beaches continue to fish well with salmon still abundant. Most beaches are holding fish with Brou and Tilba standouts. Almost all methods are working, especially paternoster rigs with a bait/popper combination.

Those casting smaller metal slugs into the washes on lighter tackle are having a ball. Some people say, ‘They’re only salmon’ but they have all the credentials and for those who don’t have a boat or only fish land-based they are an important species. They fight hard, are relatively easy to catch and you don’t blow the budget every time you go fishing.

Sambos are awesome for kids to catch and when other methods of fishing are slow, you can usually rely on a sambo or two to keep the rod bent.

Those fishing the rocks for pelagics like bonito, salmon and tailor have had a ball, especially at Mystery Bay to the south.

A few local lads have had sessions of 50-plus fish on metal slugs in a mad three-hour session. To their credit, they released all the fish in good shape, which is great to see.

This action should continue this month with Dalmeny Headland and the Golf Course Rocks in town also worth a look.

If you’re after a feed, blackfish and drummer numbers will increase as the water cools. Fish the washes with lightly weighted baits like cunjevoi or fresh cabbage under pencil floats. A little burley here will boost catch rates.

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