Narooma Bermagui fishing report: April 16

WEDNESDAY last week was definitely the day to be fishing at Montague Island, with most boats bagging out on kingfish.

The edge of the “Fowl House” reef was the most productive area, and livies were the bait that got the job done.

Weather conditions changed dramatically on Thursday, at Montague Island the wind went from a gentle southerly of 4 knots at 3pm increasing to 33knots by 5pm.

Unfortunately the swell also rose to over 4 metres, effectively stopping all offshore fishing until Tuesday. 

On Thursday the current offshore slowed, and so too did the kingfish, but snapper up to 3kg were taken whilst fishers patiently waited for the kingfish to come back on, if the current is stopping the kings from biting - consider a change of tactics to target snapper, it's always good to have options.

It's not only humans who have relatives visiting for Easter.

There have been a few rainbow runners taken around Montague last week, these can be described as a very occasional visitor to this area, and a close cousin to the kingfish and amberjack.

The rainbow runners caught were 65-70cm and taken whilst fishers were targeting kingfish.

Rainbow runners are members of the Carangidae family. Also called rainbow kingfish, rainbow yellowtail, Hawaiian salmon, they are a worldwide species in tropical and subtropical waters. And they are an excellent table fish.

The patch of dolphin fish are still hanging just east of Montague Island in about 60 metres of water, these speedsters are one of the best table fish around, just remember that it is important to place them into an ice slurry as soon as they are caught. 

Before Thursday's change of weather there were patches of green water up to 5km offshore, hopefully this will have been blown away by the strong southerlies.

One boat that did manage to get before the storm was Crusty and Hotfishing Charters that took out fishing show presenter Micah Adams.

They managed 3-3-2 on striped marlin on stand-up gear at the Kink raising the fish with teasers and then tossing out livies.

Look out the footage coming up on Micah’s show.

The beaches are already recovering after the big blow with Dash at the Narooma Ocean Hut Compleat Angler reporting that one visiting angler hitting the beach yesterday for an early session. In less than an hour, breakfast was served with three nice bream and a salmon. 

Tip of the week: Remember to support Marine Rescue fund raising efforts, such as the sausage sizzle at the boat ramp and their regular raffles, all monies raised goes towards boating safety.

Narooma Sport & Gamefishing Club News

THE weather was lousy last week, but even so Montague Island provided good sized kingfish landed by those anglers who braved the elements.

Last weekend’s fishing competition reflected the weather conditions with only one fish presented at the weigh-in.

The winning snapper was landed by Dan Edwards, who was fishing in Fosters Bay.

Dan Edwards also represented the club at the Canberra Carp Out, a competition organised to rid Lake Burly Griffin of Carp.

More than 600 anglers fished the competition and Dan won second prize with his carp weighing 7.2kgs.

More than 1,400kgs of carp were landed and these fish were trucked to a factory to be turned into fertiliser. Well done Dan!

This week’s events at the club house, 25 Riverside Drive Narooma, will include a Junior Fishing Clinic to be held on Wednesday, April 16.

During the clinic, the kids will learn how to tie knots and rigs, gather bait, catch and release fish and to take care of the fisheries.

Lunch is provide along with tackle, and will commence a 9.30am. The clinic has a cost of $15, so ring Terry on 0427 505 288.

This Saturday, April 19 there will be a market day at the club house, where rods, reels, lures, and other fishing equipment will be for sale at bargain prices.

Other wares include cane baskets, spit electric motor, elderly persons walker, bird cage, jigsaws puzzles, golf bag and clubs and much, much more.

A sausage sizzle and soft drinks will also be available. If you would like to sell some of your valuable “stuff” that is cluttering up your garage then you can obtain a table by ringing Les on 0411 392 608. Cost of the table is $20.

As usual the club will be open on Friday evening from 4.30pm. Drinks are available at the bar at extremely competitive prices. Looking forward to meeting you there!

- Terry Vincent

Bermagui CC Social Anglers

ONCE again our monthly three-day fishing comp and social barbecue at the Bermi Club offered various stories and fish tales, bringing members together.

Attracting visitors, welcome Ronda and Harrison - great to have you aboard!

Seas have not been so inviting for competing over Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning in the off shore event, but undeterred, our weigh master, Ian Reid, came in with the heaviest mixed bag for the prize.

Alas, the onshore fishos were not so lucky – so better luck next month –May 9-11.

Of course, there’s the annual variety weigh in, so go angling.

Our raffle once again, found a home with member Cyril le Rossignol.

Congratulations and from President Fran Vercoe: “Thank you all for a great get together”.

A reminder for all – the Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, June 15.


Flooding rain brings flathead up, bream down

 THE South Coast has been drenched in recent weeks.   During March, Batemans Bay received 160mm, Merimbula 175mm, Ulladulla 223mm, and Jervis Bay a whopping 376mm of rain.

These volumes of freshwater flowing into your favourite fishing spot will certainly affect how and where you can catch a fish.

But as reports of some big flathead as well as tailor and bream trickle in, it is clear that the fish are still around.

Where to find them just seems to vary whether the system is open or closed to the ocean.

Closed lakes and estuaries -  I was lucky enough to explore a renowned bream hotspot, Lake Meroo, recently.  Less fortunate was that I arrived just a day after 200mm of rain had fallen and it was still coming down.

The lake remained stubbornly closed to the ocean and the result was that the car park and vegetation fringing the lake were partially flooded.

My apprehension eased though, and not for the first time I might add, once I launched the Hobie.  The lake was stunning, the vegetation mirrored on the water’s surface and it was full of birdlife.

I tasted the water on top, it was fresh.

That was evidence enough to pedal towards the front in search of deeper, and hopefully saltier, water.

The theory goes that as freshwater floods in from the catchment above, the saltwater is pushed down towards the ‘front’.

As saltwater is heavier than fresh it will settle below, attracting fish like flathead, bream and tailor into the deeper water.

The theory seemed to work. I crossed paths with a few of the bream that Lake Meroo is famous for, all caught in 2.5 to 5 metres of water.  The best technique was hopping small soft plastics slowly across the bottom on a light jig head - around 1/16th ounce (1.8 grams).  Even fishing slowly, a smear with a scent attractant seemed to really help the fish find the lure.

My guess is that they were relying more on smell and taste than visual cues in the murky water.  Bait fisherman should do well in this scenario.

 Open lakes, estuaries and riversOn the same weekend, Canberra angler Liam Curtis was fishing at Lake Conjola near Ulladulla.  In contrast to Lake Meroo, Conjola had just been opened to the sea with an excavator to allow the same 200mm deluge to escape.

Wading in the shallows around the new entrance Liam landed a 92cm flathead in just 30cms of water.  It walloped a small surface popper intended for a whiting.

Big flathead like this are affectionately known as ‘crocodiles’ as their heads are roughly the same size.

He landed five more flathead in the shallows ranging from 50-75cm on a well-chosen Rapala XR6.  Three other ‘crocodiles’ around a meter long took off in front of him as he (carefully) waded along.  Clearly there were fish everywhere!

In systems that are open to the ocean, the tide can have a dramatic effect on water clarity and fish movement after heavy rains.

On an outgoing tide, fish will generally head towards the entrance and even out onto adjacent beaches and headlands seeking respite from the discoloured fresh water.

Or as Liam discovered, as the tide turns and comes back in, cleaner saltwater from the ocean will fill the lower parts of the estuary bringing fish back in with it.

If you get the chance, try fishing the line between the discoloured and clean water.  Baitfish will hide in the safety of the murky water and predators are sure to be in hot pursuit.

Did I mention Liam also caught a tailor on nearly every cast for half an hour?

With more rain forecast, focus your fishing on the lower reaches of the lakes and rivers.

Fish in the deeper holes in closed lakes or around the entrance for the open ones.

Try fishing slowly with scented lures or with bait - despite appearances there’s still some great fish around.

See you on the flats!

Graham Fifield

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