Brave the elements and you can experience some exceptional fishing, especially on the close inshore reefs.
Over recent weeks the snapper have really had a chew and will certainly continue to do so over coming months.
Almost all the inshore reefs around Merimbula are holding good populations of reddies with most fish averaging a kilo to 2kg – great size for the table.
With the cuttlefish run in full swing now, bigger specimens to 7kg are also possible.
Reefs like Horseshoe, Long, White Rocks and Lennards Island would be the pick.
If you’re not getting fish at one reef, try another. These guys will be holding up somewhere so persist and you will be rewarded.
One method that has worked lately is anchoring and berleying, then floating unweighted baits down the trail.
Sometimes a small ball sinker straight onto the hook is needed if current or wind becomes a problem.
Fresh cuttlefish, squid, slimy mackerel fillets and striped tuna cubes would be the pick of the baits.
Dropping soft plastics down the berley trail will work at times, too. I like using 3” to 5” lures with a variety of jig head sizes depending on the conditions.
Most hits come on the initial drop so be alert at all times. Braided line is a must for this type of fishing, it allows you to feel everything.
Other species that can be expected while targeting the reds include morwong, trevally, leatherjackets and john dory.
Offshore in July is usually quiet. There is the possibility of southern bluefin tuna but a lot will depend on currents, sea conditions and the like. They may be 40km offshore or a100km, only time will tell. If they do get here, trolled skirted pushers and bibbed minnows should do the trick.
Winter is prime time for rockhoppers targeting blackfish, drummer and groper. These species love the cold water and any headland or rock platform that has a decent wash and cabbage-encrusted rocks will hold good concentrations of them.
Short Point, Long Point and the rocks near the aquarium wharf are prime locations. Cabbage, cunjevoi, black crabs and bread all work.
Expect salmon and tailor on the outside edge of the wash zones. Ganged pilchards and chrome slices work for them.
Winter salmon can get big so I suggest heavier tackle to lift them out if washing them up the rocks is not an option.
The beaches have been fishing well for salmon to 3kg. Tailor have been sporadic, but some nice bream are also helping to make beach fishos happy.
North Tura and the southern end of Bournda Beach have been the best locations; fish the rocky shoreline with pipis, beach worms and cut pilchard pieces for best results.
If targeting the bream, remember to downsize your tackle. A light 10’ rod is adequate, with a matching reel and 6lb line. Long casts are not required, most of the bream are just past the shore dump.
Berley will help, with crushed pipi shells a good start.
With the cool water in the estuaries, a lot of anglers may think all is lost – not so.
The flatties do go quiet but big girls patrol the shallow banks looking for a feed, especially on a rising tide late in the afternoon.
Trevally, bream and blackfish can also be caught in Merimbula and Pambula lakes. Pambula fished sensationally last Winter, with anglers using soft plastics towards the entrance getting the majority of fish.
Trevally and salmon were the major species and in shallow water their fighting qualities certainly shine through. If early indications are anything to go by, this season should be the same.Reads: 2614