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It’s all systems go
  |  First Published: February 2013



It's all systems go around Merimbula with the offshore sport fishers having a great time.

The water is a warm 23°, ideal for black, blue and striped marlin, yellowfin tuna, albacore and a host of sharks.

The action has happened wide, with the continental shelf and beyond the hot region.

In around 60 fathoms the water is 2°-3° cooler but as the warmer currents north of us push down, this cooler patch will disperse and the action should pick up closer to shore.

The shelf off Merimbula is a long way out, so make sure weather is suitable for what can become a long day.

Most of the tuna are being caught trolling smaller skirted pushers and bibbed minnows. Some of the yellowfin are pushing 40kg and great on the plate if looked after correctly.

The billfish action, especially from the stripes, has come trolling larger pushers although switch-baiting with live slimy mackerel after teasing up the fish with lures will certainly result in more fish to the boat.

The bottom-bouncers are licking their chops with snapper, morwong and flathead in good numbers.

The flathead have been exceptional. Most crews are getting their bag limit (20) pretty easily. There's a good mixture of sandies and tigers, with the Sticks, off Pambula, a good place to start.

I've heard of a few solid gummy sharks being caught by the flattie fishers so targeting them with larger baits might be the go, particularly around the full moon.

Those after kingfish have done OK off Long Point. The fish have been a little sporadic but persistence should succeed.

Heaps of bonito and striped tuna are to be caught close to shore by trolling smaller Christmas tree lures or feathers.

TOP LAKE

In the estuaries, Merimbula’s Top Lake has continued to fire.

Every estuary species is chewing in there. Solid bream, mainly yellowfin but some cracking blacks also, have been taking surface lures around the weed-fringed margins.

This type of visual fishing is stacks of fun and everyone can do it.

There's the odd big whiting succumbing to the same method, especially around the back of the airport. This area is really accessible only on higher tides but does fire from time to time.

The flatties have been excellent, with a dozen and more fish in a session the norm and the odd croc over 85cm also being caught.

These bigger fish have responded well to larger soft plastics fished slower than normal in depths of 4m-6m.

In the channels, whiting, bream, flounder, blackfish and flathead are all there for lure throwers. Fresh prawns and striped tuna cubes should do the trick for bait fishos.

PELAGICS

Anglers fishing the stones for pelagic species like bonito, salmon, kingfish and striped tuna have done OK without being red-hot, but that should change this month as the warmer water pushes closer to shore.

Ledges like those at Tura Head, Long Point and Merimbula wharf have all fished well at times but will get better.

Anglers that have fared best are casting lures, mainly 50g-60g shiners for the larger species and 15g-20g ones for the striped tuna and bonito.

Another great method for bonito and salmon, especially in sloppy conditions, is to rig whole pilchards on ganged 4/0 hooks, cast them out, let them sink to mid-water and then slowly wind them in. It usually doesn't take long to get a bite although pickers can sometimes be a nuisance.

On the beaches, the action on bream and whiting has really picked up.

Some locals are consistently getting whiting over 40cm with eight to 10 fish per sessions. Live beach worms and fresh pipis hold the key to solid results.

There's still a stack of salmon and tailor to be found on most beaches with Tura Main and North Tura towards Bournda Island the pick.

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