Pambula River runs hot
  |  First Published: April 2013

The estuaries around Merimbula continue to produce.

The lower Pambula River towards the entrance is the hot spot for salmon, tailor, trevally, bream and flathead. Soft stickbaits are the lures to use here in the stronger current.

In fact if you haven't got current here, you will struggle. You will find the falling tide is better in the channel from the Shark Hole downstream and the flooding tide is best if fishing the mouth.

In the main basin there are plenty of solid flathead around the ribbon weed edges. Cast baits or lures to the edges in 3m-5m of water.

For a small piece of water, Merimbula Lake still amazes me, even after living here for a dozen years.

The place is loaded with fish of all kinds.

If you cruise from the boat ramp to the Top Lake I guarantee you will see six to eight different species in the channel, and lots of them. Bream, trevally, blackfish, mullet, whiting and flathead are all catchable.

Anglers using the same soft plastics you would in Pambula will get results. Or you can anchor, and berley use lightly weighted fresh bait – whatever way you want to fish, you will be rewarded.

I had a five-hour charter recently targeting big flathead in the Top Lake and to say it was awesome would be an understatement. Two fellas managed 39 flatties over 41cm, with the best at 88cm, plus a handful of other species.

All this is on Merimbula s doorstep and on that day l saw one other boat for the morning.


Fishers targeting marlin outside have had a field day with regular multiple captures. Thankfully, most fish are being released.

The average marlin is around 80kg and trolled skirted pushers seem to be getting a lot more fish than the crews switch-baiting live baits to teased-up fish.

You would think the livies would outfish the lures but at the moment they certainly are not.

There have been reports of some crews raising up to eight fish a day and with the water around 23°, the marlin action will continue for a while yet.

While waiting for beakie bites, there's been a smattering of school yellowfin tuna to 30kg with the odd better fish lost.

Over the next month or so we can expect some bigger tunas to turn up; late April is the start of it all for jumbo yellowfin.

We also should start to see albacore to about 18kg soon. They like skirted pushers around 8” or bibbed minnows trolled along the continental shelf and wider.


On the beaches it's been a little hit and miss. Some days the salmon are thick and the next there's barely a fish, even though the conditions are the same.

This is when casting shiners into the suds and covering ground along a beach can pay dividends. We do this quite often – you find the fish, they don't find you.

Once you've located a patch you can revert to traditional bait methods.

There are still some solid bream and whiting on live beach worms or pipis, especially around the mouth of the Pambula River.

Anglers targeting the pelagics off the rocks have probably had the best of it with kingfish, bonito, striped tuna and the odd longtail tuna.

Tura Head is the hot spot with live bait getting kings to 13kg. Smaller kings are responding well to metal shiners and ganged pilchards.

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