Estuaries are Primed
Stuart Hindson | Area Articles / New South Wales / South Coast / Narooma /
Article reproduced courtesy of Fishing Monthly
What a fantastic Summer it has been for those fishing the estuaries around the Narooma region.
Every estuary fish imaginable has been on the chew in Wagonga Inlet and Tuross Lake and it really depends on what you’re targeting as to where you fish. Flathead to 90cm and quality mulloway are high on anglers’ lists, with both species being encountered in good numbers in these systems.
Most of the fish are being caught on soft plastics although some of the big flatties have fallen to live poddy mullet fished on the bottom. The fish are wide spread throughout the systems and every day has been different, although patterns are emerging for those switched on enough to see the signs.
At Tuross the surface action is in full swing with bream and whiting hitting surface walkbaits and poppers.
The surface stuff took a little while to happen this season but it’s full steam ahead now.
If you’re after estuary perch it's been excellent, with some guiding sessions at Tuross lately yielding 30-plus fish to 46cm with hard-bods and plastics each getting the desired results. A little further upstream, bass are going great guns on spinnerbaits and this action will continue for a few more months.
The smaller estuaries like Mummaga Lake near Dalmeny and Corunna Lake, just south of Narooma, are also fishing well. They are loaded with eating-size flathead to 50cm and some cracking bream. Plastics are the go although smaller blades are catching their fair share in the lower sections of these estuaries.
Offshore should be in full swing with the water temperature anywhere from 21° to 25°, depending on the current.
With water like this, striped and black marlin will make their presence felt. It’s usually this time of year that the smaller blacks up to 80kg start to patrol the current lines close to shore. Places like Montague Island and the reefs off Potato Point and Tuross are worth a look, especially if striped tuna and slimy mackerel schools are present. Out wider, striped marlin, yellowfin tuna and various shark species will be on the cards.
The continental shelf is where most anglers will head and it’s a great starting point. Some days the fish may be wider closer to the second drop-off or further up the coast around the Tuross Canyons. Trolling skirted lures or live mackerel or striped tuna are great ways to catch fish at this time of year. I prefer trolling lures until I find concentrations of fish and then revert to live bait as required.
Switch-baiting is also popular for alert crews and can prove deadly on marlin at times, especially striped marlin. Inshore, the kingies have been good at Montague Island with jigs, live bait and squid on flasher rigs working well. The fish are quite widespread but the northern end has seen a lot of the action.
The kings aren’t huge, averaging 4kg, but there are some bigger models in with the school fish. Early mornings there have been bust-ups of these bigger fish as they hammer the saurie bait schools. A lot of this action is happening on the Fowlhouse Reef and the northwest corner of the island.
Expect this action to continue but remember, early mornings are usually the best time to target the kings on the surface. And remember the sanctuary zones in place on the north-western corner – check the local rules.
Anglers targeting bread-and-butter species like snapper, flathead, long-finned perch and morwong should have little trouble finding a feed. Almost all reefs will hold fish with Potato Point the pick of them. Fresh squid, pilchards and striped tuna fillets should be the top baits.
Those after flathead should have no worries bagging out, with the 35m line off Kianga a good-starting point. Local beaches will continue to fish well for bream, salmon, tailor and whiting.
Most will hold fish, with those south of Narooma the pick of the bunch. Fish Tilba, 1080 or Camel Rock; these have been producing some great recent captures. Live beach worms have been the stand-out bait, with a running sinker rig ideal especially when surf conditions are calmer.
Salmon, tailor and bonito can be expected off the ocean rocks, with most platforms producing. Mystery Bay, to the south, would be the pick but you’ll have to get there early because this is only a small ledge that doesn't hold many anglers.
Use fresh pillies on ganged 4/0 hooks and only a small ball sinker straight down to the hook and slowly wind back the bait to you. A few kingfish are caught this same way every year so slightly heavier tackle will at least give you a fighting chance of landing one. Larger chrome lures are also worth a go, around 40g to 50g is ideal.
Bream, blackfish and trevally are also possible opponents in the washes. Fish lightly weighted fresh prawns or cunjevoi for best results and a little berley will help.