Bermagui and Narooma have been on the World's gamefishing atlas ever since the Zane Grey day's back in the 1930's. Each year sees thousands of local and visiting sport and game anglers all keen to experience the superb fishing that the area has to offer. Records are still being broken in these waters and each year sees more and more interstate fishing clubs coming to Bermagui and Narooma to hold their annual fishing competitions.

Apart from those wishing to catch the mighty marlin off Montague Island or the huge powerful yellowfin tuna off the Continental Shelf, there is also plenty of sport for the bottom, beach, rock and estuary angler. Yes, Narooma is a good place to have a holiday. Apart from being one of the east coast's most picturesque locations, Narooma provides productive fishing right across the spectrum. It's just as good for small and large boats.

The town of Narooma, situated on the Princes Highway, is well equipped for holiday-makers having all the usual facilities one expects. The town has a particularly attractive old-world atmosphere which is quite different to the more modern and commercial towns you see up north. This whole part of the south coast is also very scenic and hasn't had the same development and population pressures as seen on the north coast of NSW.

While the Narooma area tends to have an image of being the place for macho gamefishing, it's actually quite well suited to the family angler looking for a safe, quiet place to fish. There are plenty of small boats for hire to fish the small, but sheltered estuary inlet formed by the Wagonga River.

Inshore Fishing Attractions:
Commercial fishing has been banned in Wagonga Inlet for generations, and you wouldn't believe the size of the flathead, mulloway and bream which are caught there. Not surprisingly, the best bream are caught by fishermen who know how to use light gear, in the West of the inlet, near the oysters.

The channel normally produces flounder, flathead, salmon, bream and the occasional snapper. The best baits are nippers, strips of tuna, fresh pipis and mullet. At the top of the incoming tide, during winter, try fishing along the edges of the oyster leases and the drop-offs.

During summer, big mulloway are caught in Wagonga, when the squid are running and there is a full moon.
For the anglers who feel like a change of scene, another good spot to try is the road bridge on the ocean entrance, on the south side of Wallaga Lake, near Bermagui.

The clear, rich, blue waters from Narooma to Montague Island and the Continental Shelf, provide the most diverse fishing there is to be had in NSW. Trailerboat fishermen have the chance of catching several types of marlin, sharks, yellowfin and southern bluefin tuna, albacore, kingfish, morwong, flathead, snapper, trevally and bait fish.

This area is so good in fact, that it well worth while detailing it section by section.

Montague Island:
The world famous gamefishing grounds of Montague Island are about seven kilometres east south east of the bar at Narooma. It obviously doesn't take long to get to the waters around the island once you've launched from the Narooma's boat ramp.

Both Narooma and Bermagui provide excellent boat ramps, cleaning tables and safe harbours. At Narooma, the Apex boat launching ramp provides dual launching, ample trailer parking, wash down facilities and toilets. The jetties near the ramp are also a great place for the children to fish. Huge bream get in close to feed on the scraps washed from the cleaning tables.

Narooma's Bar:
Yes - Narooma does have a bar. Many anglers wisely avoid crossing Narooma's notorious bar by launching their boats at Bermagui, an hour's drive south. It is always easy to get in and out of Bermagui, while Narooma is often closed by sea conditions. Anyone who has seen the bar working, will appreciate why a few extra nautical miles don't always seem so bad.

Local Weather:
During summer, expect a north-east wind to start blowing at about 10.00am, although its strength will vary. Remember that a north-easterly and a run-out tide will cause the waves to lift, a very dangerous situation on the bar. If you see the commercial - LFB - fishing boats stop fishing and head home, they could have had news that the weather is about to turn nasty.

Note that the area has dangerous winds which do seem to arrive suddenly. In an emergency, you can land on Montague Island, but don't set foot on it unless you are in real trouble.

Between December and March, black marlin and striped marlin are caught from Montague Island to the Continental Shelf. These fish have an average size of between 60kg and 140kg. Frigate mackerel are the best baits, but bridle-rigged, live striped tuna and slimy mackerel also take plenty of fish.

Although they are good to eat, marlin are a magnificent fish which many anglers choose to release. Most kingfish are caught close to the island. There is a winter run of big kings, but the best time to chase them is from December to March. Kingfish just over 60cm are most common.

At Narooma, kingfish will often fall for a live squid that has been caught in Wagonga Inlet. Squid are found in the inlet throughout summer. At certain times of the year, arrow squid also congregate on the outer reefs. Narooma's kingfish will also take lures, fresh dead squid, live yellowtail and slimy mackerel.

For yellowfin tuna and albacore the peak season normally occurs between February and June. In the last few years, many of the fish were caught in the first fortnight of May. Some huge fish are hooked near the north eastern end of Montague Island, but anglers need to use a lot of berley to raise just one fish. It is a good idea to look for warm currents east of the shelf.

Most of the fish are caught on pilchards drifted down a berley trail. However the large fish often fall for a live slimy. If you don't know where the fish are going to be, troll around until you pick up a school of stripies or, preferably yellowfin. There's no need to put hooks in the yellowtail because they are only there to get the tuna excited, and closer to your boat. However, it is important to have your rods rigged and ready to start as soon as you find the fish.

Bottom Bashing:
There are plenty of flathead on the sand drifts between the mainland and Montague Island, and morwong, snapper, nannygai, wrasse, leatherjackets and trevally on the offshore reefs.As for bait grounds slimy mackerel and yellowtail scad are caught off the surf beach and Hogan's Hole, at Narooma, at Kianga, Dalmeny Point and close to Montague Island.

Fishing Charters:
 As I've said already if you have never fished for tuna before, or aren't familiar with the area, it might be an idea to go out on a charter boat to learn a few local techniques. Certainly there are plenty of charter vessels at Narooma and Bermagui. We have lsited a few belwo for your information:

Island Charters Narooma website:

Aussie Fish Estuary Adventures website:

Narooma Charters website:

Local Weather

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