Narooma News fishing report: Feb. 5

FOLLOWING on from last week's suggestion that offshore fishers should sell their boats and invest in wind generators.

A bit of research has shown that in recent years the average wind speed for January has been around 13 knots at Montague Is.

This year the January average wind speed was 15 knots, with a maximum wind speed of 41 knots on January 28.

The water temperature had a dramatic rise and fall over the last week. On Friday the temperature bottomed out at 16.8c in the morning and steadily returned to a more normal 20.5c by Saturday.

Unfortunately the green water which came with the drop in temperature is still around, but should clear soon.

On Saturday, there was a show of legal kingfish mixed with plenty of undersize kings on the north end of Montague.

The report was that there were about one in 20 legal kings - most caught on jigs.

It was good to see that many of those fishing with jigs took the time to close the barb on their hooks so that undersize kings could be returned to the water with minimal harm.

There have been some interesting theories as to what has happened to the kingfish this year.

With opinions on the relationship between kingfish and: 1) Global warming, 2) Japan's nuclear accident, 3) The removal of the trawlers, 4) overfishing, etc. etc.

But what has been evident this year is the large number of slimy mackerel on the South Coast, with food being easy to get the predators don't have to go looking around structures chasing yakkas for a feed instead they just need to look for bait balls and don't need to use much energy to get a feed - just a theory!

Calls to contacts at Jervis Bay indicate that they are experiencing the same run of kingfish as we are with lots of undersize mixed with the occasional legal fish.

We continue to see great catches of pan sized (and larger) snapper and flathead offshore, one of the largest sand flathead seen for a while was a specimen of 55cm taken by Bill Davis of Kianga in 32mts of water off Glasshouse Rocks.

If anyone catches an exceptionally large tiger flathead, please send a photo to the paper.

Keep in mind that next week we see high tides in the evening coinciding with the full moon, these conditions - providing we don't get any wind - are perfect for a late afternoon targeting snapper.

This “window” is the period many experienced fishers will be out with their secret rigs and a variety of baits.

Master South Coast bream on plastics, and the rest is easy…

By Graham Fifield

In this corner of Australia, trophy bream on soft plastic lures are the Holy Grail for weekend and competition anglers.

There's a saying that if you can catch bream on soft plastics, you can catch anything that swims.

This is because bream can be difficult to catch on lures and require a good grounding in all the basic skills for weekend anglers.

The big old fish also have a reputation for cunning and make a fine adversary for experienced competition anglers.

Whether your motivation is to catch your first big bream, or to claim top honours at an upcoming competition, with these five tips you'll be well on your way.

Bream love hiding near hard structures, especially fallen trees, oyster leases, moored boats, bridge pylons and rock walls.

They don’t like to stray far from home to chase a lure though, so Tip 1 is to cast accurately.

The best bream anglers regularly land their lure less than two metres from the structure.

Bream are timid and will often sit in the shadows just underneath a submerged log or moored boat, or beside a vertical rock wall or bridge pylon.

So Tip 2 is to pick the correct weight of jig head for the conditions. If the head is too heavy, the lure will sink straight past the fish’s nose. Too light and the fish might be looking up at your lure in bewilderment.

As a rule, stray on the lighter side and allow time for the lure to sink slowly in a more natural fashion.

One to two grams (1/16 – 1/24 oz) is a good starting point, but be willing to go heavier or lighter as conditions dictate.

Have two or three different weights prepared - experimenting is half the fun. Bream have small mouths so keep the hook size down to #1 or #2.

Tip 3 is to use a soft plastic that is the right size and shape.  The most popular plastics for bream are curly-tailed grubs, 2-3 inches long, in transparent pink, red, silver or brown.

Once you’ve settled on a jig head and plastic combination, the next challenge is the retrieve.

Tip 4 is to perfect the 'twitch-pause retrieve' that is synonymous with bream fishing.

It keeps the lure near to the structure and is vital to attract a bite.  Cast into a likely spot and let the lure sink.

Twitch the rod tip upwards just a few inches and let the lure slowly sink again.

Maintain contact with the lure by winding in the slack as you drop the rod tip. Keeping the line taut is important because a bream will usually suck in the lure as it is sinking and you will need to react quickly before it spits it out.

If you’re in doubt how long to wait between twitches, let the lure sink to the bottom each time.

Tip 5 is to ensure you’ve got the right gear.  Experienced tournament anglers are adamant that bream bite less often on heavy fishing lines.  Too light however, and you risk snapping the line while trying to keep the fish away from rocks or timber.

Six pound line - either as monofilament main line or as a rod length of leader - is a good place to start.

If the fish are shy, try downsizing to 4lb. Non-stretch braided main lines in the 4-6lb class are popular, matched with 1000-2500 sized reels and 1-4kg rods.  Light set ups are required to accurately cast these small lures.

Once you’re comfortable with these techniques, why not test your skills against other anglers for the ultimate bragging rights in the annual Tuross bream and flathead competition on March 8-9?

This catch-and-release tournament has $5,000 worth of prizes and the chance to win $50,000.

Prizes will be given for the longest bream, the longest flathead, and the longest total length for two of each species. Entry forms and further details can be found at www.turossheadfishingclub.org

At first you might find it hard to catch bream on soft plastics but stick with it.

The first fish will be supremely satisfying and as you learn how to fish different structures by perfecting your casting accuracy, jig head, plastic and line choice, you'll become a much better angler. You might even take home a trophy!

(Graham Fifield wrote this column on behalf of Rob Paxevanos of Fishing Australia)

Bowlo fishos enjoy great weather and a charter

By Fishfingers from the club

MEMBERS of the NSSC Bowlo Fishing Club enjoyed one of the best weekends weather-wise for years and it was great to see so many new faces enjoy the benefit's the club has to offer such as taking a charter trip.

And boy they have not stopped talking about it.

Fishing was not fantastic but you will get a feed of snapper and flathead but the kingfish are where?

I had a skipper of one of the boats ring on Friday saying the water temp had dropped to 16 and was black, then when I contacted him it was fine and 19.5 so it’s really turning over.

It reminds me of 2003 we had the same sort of season then so come May they were everywhere and back then we were landing 15kg fish, so this might be a repeat of that year.

You get a drought on the land and the ocean will be the same but I am certain somebody from the 200 marine park scientist core will have the answer for it - could not help myself then.

Anyway winners for the month were Bill Davis, Randall Setzer, Brenda Setzer, Peter Robson, Mick Cavic, Paul (the snapper king) Naylor and Gary Landells.

On all reports the beaches are fishing very poor with the whiting a bit hit and miss and salmon are very far and few between.

Dalmeny and the Wagonga lakes are fishing just okay with Dalmeny returning the better catches.

The next comp will be starting from 6am on the Friday and members were given updated rules and they have been placed on the fishing club’s notice board and the next comp will be Feb. 28 till March 2 weekend. Several have asked what’s going on with the marine park but short term answer is who knows but being a punting man and with an election due in 14 months I would think there are some big announcements to be made over the next few months and just leave it at that for now.

Members are getting ready for the fresh water comp in March at Buckenderra and I think we have a group of 42 going this year so it should be another great weekend.

So with not much else to dribble about let’s hope we get some rain and see you all next month

- Fishfingers

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