Narooma News fishing report: Jan. 8

ONE month ago mutton birds were the problem, then, last Thursday massive schools of Chinaman leatherjackets appeared.

Normally these green and yellow pests prefer cool, dark water, however, in an unusual year they appeared in 20-degree clear blue water.

The largest Chinaman leatherjacket caught in Australia is recorded at 3.5kg and 71cm long!

The fish offshore at the moment are only around 25cm long. Although they are considered a pest, they are great eating, if you want to target a feed it is recommended to use light line with a No. 2-6 longshank hook, and remember to use black swivels and black painted sinkers.

In the last week the current has been variable. The king high tides spooked most species offshore on Thursday to Saturday mornings, but fishers who ventured out in the afternoon on those days were rewarded with great catches of snapper around 1 to 1.5kg, mowies, flathead and occasional kingfish.

The best catches were from the north and east of Montague Island and also Potato Point.

For fishers who persist, they can be rewarded with the occasional kingfish up to 80cm long, but be prepared to return 20 fish to the water to catch one legal.

The better fish are being caught on strip baits of slimy mackerel. Jigs are not producing legal fish at the moment, but this could change quickly. The larger fish are mainly being caught at first light.

These fish will grow quickly, and should be legal in the next couple of months. Their older and larger cousins should be here soon.

A small amberjack, 42cm long, was caught by customers on a local charter boat last Friday.

This specimen was schooling with undersize kings. The amberjack is a member of the kingfish family, but usually does not come this far south, preferring the warmer waters to the north.

Dash at the Narooma Ocean Hut Compleat Angler reports customers have been having some good sessions on Wagonga Inlet.

Casting lures resembling the white bait that the fish are eating around bait schools has been producing tailor, flathead and trevally.

There have been some good 60cm flathead caught in Wagonga and one very nice 90cm big girl by regular visitor and Ocean Hut customer Jason Skeen.

The fish fell to a 4-inch Zman Minnow in the Opening Night colour that did the damage.

There have also been some good fish further north and legendary estuary guide Stuart Hindson had one of his clients on Monday just miss out on the magic 1-metre mark with a 98.5cm dusky flathead caught, measured and released.

As always and as you should, Jason releases all his big fish.

Dash also reports some cracking tiger flathead have been caught of late outside from Mystery Bay up to Tuross.

A good starting point is around the 30m mark and fresh strip baits such as slimy, and striped tuna seem to be working the best.

It also pays to put a soft plastic such as a Mister Twister on the top hook of your paternoster rig. This will flutter in the drift being an extra attractant.

On the game fishing front, reports started coming in this week of a hot marlin bite off Tathra and Merimbula where some boats were getting four fish in a session.

It appears the fish collected where the warm 20-degree water pushed down.

Scott at Bermagui Bait & Tackle says the catches have been made from the Bunga Canyons down to Merimbula.

There was a favourable tide pushing up NNW with good bait levels at 60 to 80 fathoms and there should continue to be action along the shelf.

The good news is that from today, the weather should settle allowing more boats to get out wide.

But there is action in close too with spearfisho’s reporting seeing legal kingfish around the Bermagui headland with some being lucky enough to spin up some smaller models as well as salmon.

Scott also says the bream fishing has been good this summer with those targeting flathead in lakes such as Wallaga also getting a bream or two.

Don't forget to grab your ice at Bermagui Bait & Tackle where $1 from every bag goes toward local community and sporting groups. Scott and Lisa are in their 10th year of this program, which helps put thousands each year back into the town of Bermagui.

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