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Red-hot snapper bite
  |  First Published: April 2012



Anglers venturing offshore have had a field day, especially the bottom-bouncing brigade with snapper thick at times on the inshore reefs.

Long Point and Lennards Island, to the south, have been prime red locations and some locals reckon it's the best bite they have seen in years for this time of year.

The 1.5kg to 2kg fish are ideal plate size and most are falling to pilchards and fresh squid, although some anglers are getting great results on soft plastics, especially down south in shallower water. This type of fishing isn't for everyone but when they’re on, it's a whole lot of fun.

Mixed in with the reds are some solid kingfish, with 5kg fish common. Those anglers targeting kings have had some serious fun, with jigs and plastics catching plenty.

I suspect there would be bigger models upwards of 8kg beneath the school fish and live bait is a better proposition for tricking them.

With water still hovering around 22°, all this action should continue for a while yet.

The game fraternity has had its fair share of action with some crews getting five or six shots a day on striped marlin from 80kg to 120kg from the 50-fathom line out.

Don't underestimate the inshore grounds, which are still worth a look especially for blacks.

Most fish are succumbing to trolled skirted pushers although switchbaiting has been popular. There's been the odd yellowfin to 40kg as marlin by-catch and as the season progresses, albacore numbers should increase.

Anglers fishing the rocks for pelagics like salmon, kingfish and bonito have done well at Tura Head, Short Point, Long Point and Merimbula Wharf all worth a look.

Some of the kings have nudged 7kg with live bait the best option.

Bonito should be abundant for months to come with chrome slices and ganged pilchards good ways to target them. These little speedsters have made a welcome return over the past few seasons – awesome to see because they’re great sport and not to bad from the smoker.

ESTUARIES SHINE

The estuaries at Pambula and Merimbula continue to fish well for flathead, bream, whiting and blackfish.

The flatties have really fired up with the warmer water with a good feed of school fish around 50cm has been available on most outings with the odd bigger female making her presence felt. Most are falling to soft plastics with live poddy mullet and blades catching their fair share.

With the warm water the surface fishing has been excellent for bream and whiting, with Merimbula Lake a standout. I know of a few bream upwards of 43cm and whiting to 42cm caught lately around the racks.

Bait fishers should concentrate on the channel below the bridge with fresh tuna cubes or bass yabbies to catch some nice bream and trevally around the boat moorings on the flooding tide and whiting on the yabbies on the flats.

Those fishing the beaches are also in for a treat with salmon, bream, whiting and gummy sharks all possible opponents.

Any beach with a half-decent gutter is producing, with Tura Main holding a great gutter at the northern end for bream on live beach worms, especially on a rising tide at dusk.

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