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Good game at times
  |  First Published: April 2011



The game fishing off Merimbula has been a little sporadic lately, mainly due to the fluctuating water temperatures, but still some quality fish have been caught.

Black and striped marlin have been caught, especially from the 70-fathom line to the continental shelf. Trolled lures and live-baiting striped tuna have been the preferred methods but anglers switch-baiting have also done well.

A few of the local charter boats have had two or three shots a day at fish averaging 70kg to 80kg, great fun on stand-up tackle.

A few bigger striped marlin of 150kg-plus should be around this month.

A few yellowfin tuna to 40kg have also been taken by crews trolling skirted pushers for marlin so live bait and cubing should catch some reasonable fish, especially towards the end of the month.

Inshore the flathead have been going great guns with The Sticks off Pambula a hot spot.

More guys these days are using soft plastics on the sand flathead with unbelievable success. Almost any plastic has worked a treat and the best thing is you can catch 15 or 20 fish on the plastics without any dramas.

They are relatively cheap, easy to use and clean, which has to be a good thing.

There have been a few snapper and mowies on Long Point Reef; the 50m line is a good place to start.

Down off Pambula, Horseshoe Reef and Lennards Island have produced kingfish to 10kg on fresh squid, jigs and live bait. Trolling skirted lures early in the morning is also worth a shot.

THROWING METAL

April is a good time for the rock spin diehards to throw metal around. Mack tuna, bonito and the odd kingie can be expected, with Tura Head the pick platform.

Inside Merimbula Bay will produce, try the rocks north of the wharf and the wharf itself.

I like using quite large lures at this time of the year with 40g Raiders a favourite. Have a selection of lures on hand as each day can be different, especially when trying to match the hatch with baitfish size to lure size.

Pilchards on ganged hooks also work; a slow wind through mid-water can pay handsome dividends, especially for the bonito.

TOP LAKE

In the estuaries some thumping big tailor have made the Top Lake at Merimbula home with fish to 3kg common.

We had a session there with clients a few days back and it was awesome. Snapper, flatties, bream, tailor, trevally and whiting scoffed our softies, but I did see some guys getting good flatties on live poddy mullet.

All of our fish came from reasonably shallow water with 2m to 4m ideal.

Some of the flatties are upwards of 80cm so solid fish with the odd mulloway coming from anglers using live bait after dark. This action will continue throughout April.

Pambula Lake is still producing captures of 20-plus fish on the outgoing tide. The main basin has been productive; concentrate on the edges of the channels with plastics and blades for best results.

There have been some solid flatties towards the entrance with soft plastics around 70mm ideal.

BEACHES

The local beaches continue to fire with most holding good concentrations of salmon. North Tura has been a stand-out, with catches of a dozen fish to 2kg the norm.

The northern end of the beach towards Bourndal Island has a deep gutter and this section has worked a treat very early in the morning on a rising tide.

Surf poppers are working well in a variety of colours, with Lazer lures and whole pilchards also catching fish.

Tailor numbers should improve this month, with the rocky foreshore near the island itself fishing better for bream.

Cut crabs and pipis are both great baits for bream with whiting preferring live beach worms.

Lighter outfits come into their own when targeting these bread-and-butter species, with running sinker rigs ideal.

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