Big flatties line up
  |  First Published: October 2008

This is prime time to target big flathead down this neck of the woods, with a handful of fish over the magic 95cm mark caught every season.

Using bigger soft plastics, up 125mm, is the best way to tempt them, with slower presentations a must for consistent captures.

Narooma and Tuross will produce the goods although each system is completely different from the other and different strategies will be required to get results.

At Narooma, fishing the deeper, weed-fringed bays from the power lines to the main basin is the go, concentrating in 7m to 8m of water.

At Tuross, fishing the shallower margins in the river and the lower sections will produce the majority of fish. Quite often at Tuross a lot of the bigger flatties come on smaller plastics aimed at school fish so using a leader around 10l to 14lb is ideal.

Anglers casting deeper diving minnows will also snare a few with the bottom section of lake towards the entrance a good starting point. It’s here to that shore-based fishos can get in on the action, casting lures across the channel especially on the run-out tide.

As the water warms further, the whiting action will really hot up with anglers using squirt worms and nippers faring best. There have already been some great captures of this fine table fish lately with switched-on anglers getting their bag limits inside a few hours, particularly after dark.

Expect a lot of yellowfin bream to be entering the system too, with the weed edges on the southern part of the lower basin holding fish. Bait, plastics and hard-bodied lures will catch fish, with the flooding tide prime time.

Further upstream, bream numbers have been good among the snags with the occasional estuary perch succumbing to a well-twitched diver.

Later in the month, expect the bass action to improve with the water above the pump station the place to fish. Quite often, early in the season is when you get the big bass here so if you do get one, do the right thing and let it go.


Offshore the bottom bouncers have continued to have success with snapper and mowies.

The size of the reds has tapered off a bit but that’s to be expected at this time of year. In saying that, the majority of fish are averaging a kilo or so with the odd red still pushing 5kg.

Some of the local charter operators have had great sessions with some days producing upwards of 30 snapper. That’s great for the punters on board.

Fresh bait like squid and pilchards is ideal with the reefs on the south-western side of Montague Island holding a lot of fish.

Last October was the start of the game fish season with an early run of yellowfin tuna and albacore at the continental shelf. This has happened the past few years and I can’t see why it won’t happen again.

There are already some nice tuna up off Sydney and if the currents and water temperatures continue to push south, southern sport fishers could be in for some serious fun.

Most of these early season fish will be caught trolling with skirted and bibbed minnows, though I know of a few local anglers last year having great success on berley and cubes.

These guys would troll first and as soon as they got a double hook-up, the crew would throw a stack of cut pilchards overboard and hopefully keep the fish with them. It’s a great strategy that works but you have to be organised with other outfits set up.

The beaches have been a little quiet, mainly due to the lack of swell. This will improve once we get some decent whitewater but there are still fish to be had for those putting in the time.

A bit of homework driving around the local headlands and reading the beaches for gutters and holes will greatly improve your chances.

Down south, Tilba still has a good gutter, as does the northern end of Blackfellows Beach near Potato Point and reasonable catches of salmon and tailor have come from these two.

Anglers using paternoster rigs with a bait/popper combination have done OK with lures accounting for a few fish.

This month the bream and whiting should get a little more active, with live beach worms and pipis the best baits. Fishing towards the estuary entrances will pay dividends as both these species will be entering the systems.


On the rocks, the usual suspects will be waiting with salmon, tailor and bonito the pelagics to target.

October usually marks an increase of bonito, with fish to 5kg possible. Most methods work but casting chrome slugs up to 40g accounts for a lot of the fish.

I like using a medium to fast-taper rod loaded up with 4kg braid for maximum fun. It may seem a light outfit for the rocks but you would be amazed at the size of fish that can be caught with it.

Having a long-handled fixed gaff to secure your fish is generally required, especially if you can’t lift or wash your fish out, but that just adds to the fun.

Better ledges to try are the Golf Course rocks in town and High Rock down at Mystery Bay. The latter is a fantastic platform that is safe in all but the biggest of seas; it also has rod buckets cemented into the rocks and is easily accessible through the Mystery Bay camping grounds.

Catching live bait is easy there: A little berley and you’ll have all the livies you require for a great day’s fishing.

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