We’re smack in the middle of Winter with cold sou'westers straight off the snow, but for those anglers willing to brave the elements, especially those who fish the estuaries, some solid angling can still be had.
Merimbula and Pambula Lakes continue to produce, even with 12° water. The lower channels from the main basins to the estuary entrances are the spots to fish.
You can expect bream, trevally, salmon, tailor and blackfish, with the odd flattie, too.
At this time of year the bait fishos tend to struggle and those who like casting soft plastics and blades come into their own. Smaller soft stickbaits on 2g-3g heads are ideal in the fast-flowing water and are easy to use and highly effective.
Blades of 3g-4g also are Winter favourites, with small hops off the bottom the best retrieve. Some people think these shiny bits of metal don't work but they are dynamite in the cool water when worked correctly.
You also catch the odd whiting and blackfish on them. On a recent charter we targeted both species in Pambula and ended up with 13 whiting and 10 solid blackfish in a four-hour session. The boys were amazed at their effectiveness in the cold water, so if you haven't tried them, give them a go.
The main basins of both lakes have prolific schools of tailor at present and l expect them to be there for the rest of Winter.
If you fish light enough, some decent flatties will still be caught around the ribbon weed edges in 3m-4m.
On the beaches we have had some decent swell and this has really fired up the salmon.
These speedsters are averaging 2kg with the odd moose upwards of 4kg – good fun on any tackle.
Those casting smaller shiners around 30g have had best success, with bait anglers using a bait/surf popper combination catching their fare share, too.
Mixed in with the sambos are tailor and the odd gummy shark. There haven’t been any reports of mulloway but l suspect there will be a few patrolling the beaches on those moonlit nights.
Better beaches to try include Tura main, North Tura and Haycock, south of Pambula. All these beaches have great gutter formations and have been firing.
Those fishing the rocks are getting good results on blackfish, drummer and groper, all of which love the cold water. Short Point is the pick of the ledges to fish with cunjevoi, prawns and cabbage. A little berley won't hurt, either.
Out on the reefs, snapper is the word with heaps of reds averaging 1.5kg-2kg succumbing to a wide range of techniques.
They are responding to whole pilchards on paternoster or running sinker rigs, squid, cuttlefish and striped tuna strips.
Anglers casting big soft plastics have caught their fare share with the washes around Tura Head and Haycock Point good but almost all reefs are producing at some time or another. Move around until you locate feeding fish.
Concentrate your efforts on the gravel and not the hard stuff to increase your catch rates. I'd be trying Long Reef and Horseshoe; whispers are that both have been excellent lately.
A little wider out, the tuna enthusiasts are getting excited about southern bluefin. There have been reports of 50kg-60kg fish being caught already.
We have not seen the jumbos yet but give it time. They have been getting some massive fish south of us so let’s hope they swim past our doorstep soon.
Early in the season trolling skirted pushers and bibbed minnows will work. When they become a thicker, berley and cubes will be the gun method.
These SBT are a lifeline to our offshore fishery. In recent years the game rods were locked away until Summer but not now tuna fever hits and it's all systems go.
It's also good for local businesses as out-of-towners visit to chase these majestic barrels.