The distance to the continental shelf has often labelled Merimbula a marginal game port but in recent weeks local crews and charter operators have gone the distance and been handsomely rewarded.
We have had some cracking water around 24° and full of life. Black and striped marlin, yellowfin tuna, albacore and some big sharks have all been captured and some crews have experienced six to eight shots a day on marlin.
Trolling a spread of lures in a range of colours has been the go-to method with switch-baiting a live bait also catching a few. Switch-baiting is usually deadly but this season a lot more marlin are being caught trolling.
The fish also have been in close in to with captures and sightings happening a few kilometres from shore, with 14’ tinnies getting in on the action.
Depending on what the water temperature does, these fish could still be here in early May but they will move on as the water cools.
Then it’s tuna time for the next few months. A handful of 30kg-40kg yellowfin have been caught by the marlin trollers and further north I know of several yellowfin over 80kg so it all looks promising.
The inshore reefs have kingfish in good numbers some days, depending on current movement. Long Point has produced fish to 7kg, mainly on live bait but squid on flasher rigs have worked.
Those trolling close to Tura Head and Haycock Point also have snared a few on deep divers. You can expect some big bonito there, too.
Merimbula Lake has been outstanding for bream, trevally, flathead, whiting, tailor, blackfish and some solid mulloway.
A few locals are putting in the hard yards after dark and catching jewies to 16kg on fresh and live bait. The flooding tide seems to be best, especially in 6m-8m along the drop-offs.
The flatties in the Top Lake are firing with a dozen fish per session the norm. Smaller softies are working a treat but bait fishos are doing it a little tougher.
Those throwing blades around are getting yellowfin bream to a kilo and some thumping whiting to 43cm. We managed four whiting over 40cm the other day when chasing bream in the deeper sections.
The channel is the best I've seen it for many a year. The place is loaded with fish and soft stickbaits are working a treat on a draining tide as the water dirties up a little. We have had bags of 40 legal fish there in recent weeks and these will continue as we head further into the cooler months.
This type of channel fishing will be the same in Pambula River, so it to is worth a look.
The beaches and rocks continue to fish well for salmon and tailor and Tura Head is still firing. Chrome lures and ganged pilchards are also working on bonito and smaller kingfish.
We may see some snapper coming from this ledge on fresh squid or cuttlefish this month with drummer, luderick and groper also likely on cunjevoi, crabs and cabbage.
North Tura and Haycock beaches have some great gutters and are certainly worth a look.