Estuary smorgasbord
  |  First Published: December 2010

Estuaries around Merimbula have been fishing exceptionally well and should do so for months to come.

Merimbula Lake has been a standout, with a smorgasbord of species available.

Flathead have been prolific with some sizeable models being captured. A few weeks ago we caught a thumper that measured 94cm and would have weighed around 6.7kg, a truly magnificent fish that was released in super condition after a few happy snaps.

The Top Lake has loads of duskies from 40cm to 55cm. Use soft plastics or strip baits and you’re almost guaranteed a feed of flattie fillets if you cast towards the banks that have ribbon weed nearby.

The flatties love getting up in the shallows and the weed gives them more camouflage when feeding.

The oyster racks are holding some bruiser yellowfin bream. Soft plastics have worked but suspending hardbodies and surface presentations like Bushy s Top Dog have been outstanding.

Have a variety of hardbodies in the tackle box because what works one day doesn’t always do so the next.

Fresh peeled prawns, nippers and tuna cubes will work well.

The sand flats are also full of sand whiting. Try wading the shallows to the left of the main jetty with live bass yabbies or worms; you should be able to pick up a few there.


The beaches will continue to produce over coming weeks. Bream, whiting, tailor, salmon, mullet and the odd jewfish will all hit baits with gusto.

The jewies will be a lot harder to target than the other species but time and patience are the key. I like using fresh squid, tailor fillets and big bunches of live beach worms for the mulloway.

Fishing for these marvels isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but if you hook one it can become addictive and you’ll be back on that beach in no time! Best places are Tura and North Tura.


Offshore in January is like a lucky door prize. The water will be anywhere from 21° to 25° and hosting a heap of game fish. Black and striped marlin, yellowfin tuna, albacore, hammerhead and mako sharks will all be patrolling the warm current lines.

Lures and live bait will catch fish; find the good water and the action won’t be far away.

If you’re new to the area or don’t have a boat, try a charter. Merimbula has some fine game boats with proven records that will look after you.

The inshore reefs have been awesome, with loads of kingfish to 70cm available. Those trolling have done well early in the mornings but when the fish sound, jigs and live bait are the way to go.

There's been the odd better fish to 95cm but they are few and far between. For bigger fish you’d be better fishing south of Eden towards Green Cape and the like.

Local reefs like Horseshoe and Long will produce when conditions are favourable and a southerly current present.

Some quality snapper are getting around on the same close reefs, with fresh squid and pilchards the best baits.

The flattie grounds are alive with sand and tiger flathead. When you find a patch, catching two at once on a paternoster rig is the go.


The rocks will continue to fish well for all the usual suspects.

For the guys who like throwing lures small kingfish, tailor, salmon and the outside chance of a longtail tuna are possible.

Fish Tura Head, it’s the deepest and most productive rock platform around here.

If you’re after the bread-and -butter species like drummer and blackfish, you should still manage a few in the wash zones but persistence and plenty of berley will be required.

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