Ocean Hut Compleat Angler fishing report: May 23

WE at the Narooma News and SE Fish Files are pleased to bring you the Ocean Hut Compleat Angler fishing report for the Far South Coast, NSW.

The expert and detailed fishing report is written by Narooma's own Darren “Dash” Bowater and is well worth a read with not only what is biting but some great tips too…

It is published on the Ocean Hut Compleat Angler Facebook page at the end of each week – please go to the page, “like” it and stay tuned with all the latest fishing reports and competitions.

Now over to Dash and see you at the Ocean Hut in Narooma soon! - The fishing editor Stan Gorton

Ocean Hut Compleat Angler fishing report - May 23, 2014

Last weekend, our sister town of Bermagui held its 33rd Annual Canberra Yellowfin Tournament.

Around 80 odd boats, with 290 anglers assembled in Bermagui for the three-day competition, making Bermagui harbour a resemblance of Sydney's on boxing day.

The weather was one of a fairy tale and will most likely be remembered as the best of the 33 competitions held so far, one could even go as far as saying the conditions were to perfect.

With the water temperature in the early 20s (above normal for this time of year) a spectacular smorgasbord of species were on offer, leaving many anglers indecisive of what method to use, and which species to target.

Every type of lure and live bait was dragged across, over and through the big pool, giving a satellite image that would have looked more like a nest of spiders casting their webs, ready to trap anything that dare cross its path.

After all was said and done the confirmed results was as follows. In the tag and release sector, 70 yellowfin tuna, nine albacore, 24 dolphinfish, 16 assorted sharks, and 141 striped tuna were recorded, while six yellowfin tuna, three marlin, one shortbill spearfish, one albacore, and two sharks were weighed in.

The overall winner of the weekend was Justin Xerri, with a 63.3kg yellowfin tuna on 15kg line, which also won the most meritorious fish as well.

Justin is from Jarvis Bay and was fishing aboard "On Edge". The lucky door prize went to Greg Vella, winning himself a new Haines Hunter Prowler. 

Here is your weekend report:

THE BIG BLUE: Due to the weather and sea conditions being a perfect 10/10 last weekend, more boats then you would see at Darling Harbour boat show, ventured far and wide in hope of a memorable moment.

Although there were a lot of assorted species caught over the weekend, one could say the fishing was only average, as due to the amount of boats covering the playing field, many came home empty handed, left shrugging their shoulders at how they managed to dodge the fish.

Some boats that clocked up the miles, trolling skirts and divers for the golden barrels, found a constellation prize in striped tuna, while a few were lucky enough to actually come across some rat yellowfin and albacore to around the 10kg mark.

Mahi Mahi were still in good numbers in mixed sizes, with a handful reaching a respectable meter plus, in which it was the Halco Laser Pro 190DD, rigged on a lighter 60lb leader, was the lure and method having a lot of success.

One or two lucky anglers found bigger golden nuggets which were between 25-60kg, while another angler found himself in a three and a half hour battle with a barrel of a life time, before being busted off, and left a shattered man.

The yellowfin was seen coming through the spread, smashing several lures before realising it was even hooked, then a screaming 150m run staight down, where it set up camp for the next three hours, not giving an inch at any stage of the fight.

Eventually something had to give, and after all experienced efforts where exhausted to move the beast, it was the rod, shortly followed by the line that gave way, leaving the deserving winner to fight another day.

Some anglers that parked and tossed cubes into the abyss had some luck with the odd Fin and assorted shark species, while other anglers that took advantage of the abundance of live bait available managed to tangle with a marlin or two.

For those that went Island bound in hope of a kingfish found it very frustrating for the yellow army was on duty yet again, these leatherjackets have been relentless for weeks, causing much grief for anyone who dares cross their path.

I would hate to think of the cost the "yella terra's", have caused the commercial and charter fleet over the past month or so, but unfortunately nothing ventured, nothing gained, and as said before, while the temperature remains in the early 20s there is seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel.

For those that have persisted with the kingfish have found that jigging has been the most productive method, with the new Shimano "butterfly jigs" topping the charts in this arena.

Trolling shallow diving lures resembling sauries has also had some success, and although deep divers will work, some have been bitten off by "Guess who", you got it, the piranha plague of destruction that some restaurants like to call "butterfish"!

So due to the fact, this expensive ritual has been avoided by most vessels.

Unless you can find a one in a million patch of reef that doesn't house the tackle munchers then basically, unless you own a tackle shop, you’re wasting your time and money.

On a brighter note I've been told that in close in around 15m of water has been declared a leatherjacket free zone, making it possible for a few flathead without loosing any gear.

A couple of fisho's that have tried this theory have managed a dozen or so nice fish each time. Places such as Brou/Dalmeny, Mystery Bay and Potato Point have all produced good results.

BEACH AND ROCK: Don't be like the cat that wanted the fish, but was to afraid to get his paws wet, if Beach is your game then its time to feel like "Big Kev", and get excited as the tides and forecast look perfect for this weekend, and will only improve as we head towards the New Moon next Thursday.

A high tide, with a good sea on the crack of daylight, and then again at dusk is just what the doctor prescribed for your daily exercise, and with some cracking salmon, tailor and bream around at present, your chances of buckled rods and stretched limbs are high.

There's no rocket science here folks, it's as simple as if you find a good gutter on one of our pristine beaches, (Brou/Dalmeny, Tilba, Surf beach, Corunna, Blackfellows, for eg) get yourself one of the following items, being live beach worms, nippers, fresh/salted pilchards, or if your lure junkie, a metal jig around 40gm, set your alarm early enough that your first cast coincides with first light, then I guarantee you'll be booking yourself into the chiropractor come Monday.

If you refuse to get up early on the weekends and like a sleep in, then so be it, there is second adventure bus late in the afternoon, where the top of the tide kisses the sun good night.

For the stone hoppers it’s no different, morning and afternoon rise to the top of the tide, is your time to shine. Personally I like the early morning off the stones as I think species like drummer, luderick and grouper are more active.

If fishing for these species then cunjevoi, mullet gut, red crabs, and prawns are second to none for the drummer and grouper, while a good weed or cabbage out of a near by rock pool will be sufficient for the luderick.

Salmon, tailor, and other tuna-style pelagic fish should be receptacle to a well presented pilchard, metal slug, or popper, and If your hoping for something bigger and better, then live bait under a float is a good option here.

Places like Mystery Bay, Potato Point, Corunna Head Dalmeny Head, Fullers, Narooma Golf Course and Glasshouse rocks will be ideal for any of the above options.

RIVERS, LAKES, AND INLETS: Due to the fact its been a couple of weeks since the cold snap entered our inland waterways, one would assume most species by now should slowly be adapting to the abrupt temperature change, hopefully making their feeding patterns return to some kind of normality.

It is expected a few species will slow down or shut up shop for the winter, but for species like bream, flathead, trevally, luderick and tailor, it should be close to being business as usual.

Bream are probably the most active over the next few months, as they begin to school and head towards the creeks to spawn in later winter, early spring.

So from the middle to the back half of an estuary, where a creek will enter is the place to concentrate your efforts.

Best method to bring bream undone is generally via bait in the shape of live worms and nippers, while flesh baits such as stripey, pilchard, prawns and squid will sometimes suffice.

Bream are also very receptive to well presented soft plastics, blades/shimmers, and hard bodied lures, but remember not to put the cart before the horse, as there is a lot of finesse in this style of fishing, and one can go home very frustrated after a unsuccessful days fishing.

An example of what I mean by finesse, is trying not to spook fish with such things like loud noises (banging boats, anchors, slapping the water with tangled lures etc), shadows, highly visible lines and leaders etc, and remember the water clarity will only get clearer through the winter months, thus making it easier to spook fish.

Although most estuaries will have bream in them, best places to try are Wallaga Lake, Brou Lake, Tuross and Coila Lakes.

The humble flathead generally likes to find a nice soft muddy bottom, in shallower waters, in around 5m or less.

These muddy areas will be home for the next few months, the reason being the mud is softer and holds the heat of the sun better than the harder, colder, white sand, thus making it warmer for the fish, and more likely it will remain active.

These muddy areas will definitely be more productive for size and numbers, as flathead (depending on their size) are a school fish, so where there is one, there should be a school, with the size of the school depending on the size of the fish.

Flathead are suckers when it comes to lures, so this, in my opinion is the best method by far. Type of lure can vary, so it pays to have several choices, but I think the most important tool you can have, is the tenacity to fish a lure very, very slow, almost like bait fishing with a lure.

There is no such thing as too slow, but most definitely, you can fish to fast. Live poddies, nippers and worms, as well as frozen bait will all work at different times, but the spot light shines brightest on the lure sector.

Great places to fish for flathead in colder water is Tuross Lake (4way, and towards the back), Wallaga Lake (back half near either of the two creeks), Mummaga Lake (up the back over the mud flats) and Wagonga Inlet (up the back from power lines to the creek).

Trevally are normally a by catch in most estuaries while chasing other species, they are fun to catch as they fight hard, getting on their sides and doing circles, like a miniature yellowfin tuna.

Both lures and bait work well on trevally, and places you’re most likely to come across some are in Wagonga Inlet, Tuross and Wallaga Lakes.

It’s a great time of year to fish for luderick, as a lot move into the estuaries this time of year. There is a bit of know how, and set-up required in this department, and it would take me all day to write down the "how to".

So any enthusiasts wanting to know about luderick (or any other species for that matter) should feel welcome to contact us here at Ocean Hut Compleat Angler on 4476 2278 for more info, we are always more then happy to go in depth with anyone interested.

Some great places to fish for these underrated, estuary heavy weights are Wagonga Inlet (main channel), Mummaga Inlet (the two drop offs), Tuross Lake (4 ways) and Wallaga Lake (off the road bridge).

Hope you all have a fantastically awesome weekends fishing!, cheers Dash.


Friday: High 4:10pm 1.56m

Low 10:16pm 0.62m

Saturday: Hiqh 4:23am 1.55m

5:05pm 1.65m

Low 10:40am 0.44m

11:22pm 0.56m

Sunday High 5:22am 1.52m

5:56pm 1.73m

Low 11:29am 0.45m


The Almanac is heading towards the Last Crescent on Sunday, 25th, before the New Moon (The Dark) next Thursday, 29th.

BEST TIMES: (moon above and moon below)

Friday 6:39pm

Saturday 7:03am, 7:28pm

Sunday 7:53am, 8:18pm