Tuna time at last
  |  First Published: August 2001

Well it's tuna time along the Far South Coast with anglers fishing off Merimbula well and truly getting among them.

Recent weeks have produced incredible weather with flat seas making the journey of 50km to 60km to the tuna grounds that much more comfortable. All crews heading wide have had success with southern bluefin tuna to 100kg being the most prominent tuna captured.

There has been the odd yellowfin to 40kg and a handful of solid albacore making up the remainder of the bags.

But the talk on the streets is not only the size but the sheer quantity of SBT that are being caught. The average fish seems to be around 50kg but some boats are getting upwards of 30 fish per day. Most are being tagged and released or simply cut off beside the boat and only a few are kept for eating.

The fish are responding to almost all methods with a lot of crews trolling first, then reverting to a cube trail once they are hooked up. This is a great method that works particularly well, though you do need an organised crew to get the best out of it.

If the weather stays good and the water doesn't turn over, this action could be around for another month or more so let's cross the fingers; it's great for these coastal towns in the midst of Winter.

Closer inshore, the snapper are in full swing with Long Point, White Cliffs and Horseshoe reefs all holding fish at times. The average size is a good-eating kilo and there are plenty of them but there is the odd model to 4kg.

Anglers drifting have done well with fresh squid, cuttlefish and tuna strips all working. Mixed with the reds are morwong and the odd kingfish.

Those trolling close to the rocks are catching plenty of bonito and big salmon and with the flat seas a few locals in small boats are having a ball. It's well worth the effort.


In the estuaries August is definitely the quietest month with the water an icy 10°. Those who are fishing are getting good trevally and salmon in the Top Lake and the channels below the main wharf in town is producing as well.

Smaller soft plastics are faring best, with the flooding tide definitely better.

There should be a few blackfish for those using fresh weed and and bream available on tuna cubes. Use a little berley for both these species and you shouldn't have too many worries getting a feed in the channels.

On the beaches salmon are everywhere with paternoster rigs with a bait/popper combination, chromed slices and even soft plastics on larger jig heads effective.

Those after a bit more sport use a bream outfit with 4lb or 6lb braid and a 20g shiner.

You can cast these things a mile but you do lose a lot of fish with the trebles. Try changing them to a single hook; you will certainly stay in contact for longer.

With the sambos are some reasonable tailor to a kilo; smoke these up and they are great on the plate. Better beaches include Tura Main and North Tura, both of which have great deep gutters.

Winter off the rocks means blackfish, drummer, groper and bream and there's the chance of good snapper, especially after a blow when they come in close.

Tura Head is the ideal place. It is deep and many a good snapper has come from there.

Salmon, tailor and bonito are all catchable with whole pilchards on ganged hooks. Cunjevoi, cut crab, cabbage and fresh prawns should suffice for the bread-and-butter species with Short Point and the rocks on the northern side of Merimbula Bay well worth a look.

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