Fun between the deluges
  |  First Published: September 2011

Over 200mm of rain and very windy conditions have made fishing quite uncomfortable but when the weather has left a window there has been some exceptional fishing, especially in our estuaries.

Because the Merimbula and Pambula systems don’t have big catchment areas and are consistently open to the sea, when we have a fresh like the one we just experienced, it does not take long for the water to clear.

You may have a few days when the fishing shuts down as the first of the fresh pushes down, but after that you can expect some great angling.

This is precisely what's happened in both of these systems, with an assortment of species willing to have a chew.

Anglers fishing the channels are having a ball with salmon, tailor and big trevally succumbing to bait and lures. Soft plastics fished on light jig heads have been deadly on the salmon with soft stickbaits the go.

It's common to catch up to 30 salmon to 1.8kg in a session before they wake up to what’s happening.

In with the salmon are some extremely big tailor. We were lucky enough to land one that went 78cm and would have nudged 3kg while guiding the other day.

The trevally population is certainly not dwindling, either. These spirited little fighters are plentiful around the ribbonweed edges with plastics and fresh striped tuna strips working.

The yellowfin bream fishing should pick up this month as they head back into the estuaries after spending time outside spawning.

The channels again are the places to fish with tuna cubes, yabbies and fresh prawns all good. Use a little berley to improve catch rates further, especially when anchored.

This action will get even better as we head further into Spring.


The beaches have been tough for bait anglers with the huge swells but once they die down the fishing should be impressive. Salmon and tailor will respond to all methods.

Those who that have fished lately have had success casting big metal shiners into the suds.

This works particularly well when conditions don't suit bait fishos; you get to work a lot of ground and when you locate a few fish, you can concentrate your efforts there.

I think the bigger seas are better for lure casting the beaches, with some of my best sessions coming in not ideal conditions.

Beaches I'd be fishing include Tura Main, North Tura and Merimbula Main.

When the seas do drop, expect a few mulloway to patrol the shore. September is a good month for this enigmatic species and after the rain and heavy conditions they should be out in force.

Big bunches of live beach worms are great baits for jew, especially on a flooding tide near or after dark around the full moon. North Tura is the beach to fish.


When the swells subside, the rock fishing fraternity will be champing at the bit to wet a line. The fishing should be impressive for blackfish, drummer, bream, groper and snapper, while salmon, tailor and bonito will all be found on the outer wash zones.

Every time we have a blow like this the rock guys have a ball for a few days after when the rocks are safe enough to fish. Best baits include cunjevoi, crabs, cabbage weed and fresh prawns.

Better ledges to fish include Tura Head, Short Point and the rocks on the northern side of Merimbula Bay near the main wharf.

Offshore boaties have not done much for a while but before that the fishing was impressive. The southern bluefin run was impressive with some solid models to 80kg plus a handful of yellowfin tuna to 30kg.

Fishing wide was the key with the 40-mile line a good starting point. It will be interesting to see if the tuna are there when this weather subsides.

If the tuna don't play the game then the snapper on the inshore reefs will be excellent so there's always another option if plan A fails.

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