Pambula out punches the rest
  |  First Published: March 2014

The local estuaries around Merimbula are firing on all cylinders with Pambula Lake just to the south being a standout. This skinny bit of water is only a puddle but, gee, it fishes well. All species are having a chew with flathead, whiting, blackfish, bream, and tailor in great numbers.

The flattie fishing is the best I've seen for years, it's not uncommon to get your bag in a few hours, although thankfully most anglers are only taking a feed and letting the rest go. There's some solid fish to 70cm amongst them, but most are averaging 45cm, which are still good fish and great for the plate.

When guiding there recently we've been averaging 30 odd legal flatties, which is nice fishing in anyone's book. Smaller soft plastics is certainly the key to better results, bigger plastics will only catch you a handful of fish. Concentrate along the ribbon weed edges in 3-4m for best results.

Those who like throwing surface lures will have plenty of fun too. The many sand flats that Pambula possesses are loaded with flathead at present; also the windier the better in the shallows. Once you locate them you’re in for some serious fun. The only time they have been hard to entice is when it's calm so wait for the afternoon sea breezes.

For bait anglers, live nippers fished around Shark hole will see plenty of bream and whiting. Anchoring up and using a little berley should see some solid results.

Offshore the blue water scene is awesome to say the least. With the very warm water, marlin numbers are on the increase with some crews getting 5-6 shots a day. Most fish have come from the 40-fathom line and further east giving the smaller boats a real possibility of cracking a beakie.

Trolling has been the most productive with a spread of skirted pushers the go, although switch baiting live mackerel has also been very effective. This method needs an organized crew for it to work but once you have it down pat watch your catch rates soar.

Most of the marlin captured are stripes around 70kg with the odd better black over 100kg. I expect this marlin action to continue for quite a few weeks yet as the water north of us is exceptional. Later this month we should see a few decent yellowfin tuna to 50kg succumbing to trolled pushers.

Every March is the same, we get a smattering of tuna so let's hope this season is the same.

Closer to shore the kingfish have been non-existent. There’s been the odd rat caught but nothing to talk about. I don't know why they’re not here but let's hope it changes real soon. The bottom fishing is still good for snapper, morwong and the flattie species.

Off the rocks the spin die-hards are doing pretty good on bonito and striped tuna. They are responding well to chromed slices around 30g wound flat chat. These pelagic species like speed, so the faster you can wind generally the better. I haven’t heard of any kingfish of late but this month usually sees a few hoodlums turn up, particularly at Tura Head. If one of these is for you then live bait would be the best way to tempt one.

Off the beaches it's very slow on the pelagic front with salmon and tailor very hard to find. It may be due to the warm water in close but nearly every beach angler I have talked to is complaining about no fish. This will change in the long term but if I was fishing the beach I’d be getting some live beach worms and fresh pipi and start donging the bream and whiting that have been around for months.

It's the best whiting run seen for a long time so grab the light gear and give it a go you won't be disappointed. Better beaches to try include North Tura (northern end), Tura main and Haycock.


Curtis Armour with his best flattie to date – a 82cm specimen. This fish was released after the photo.


Andy Kolber with the type of whiting Pambula Lake is producing at the minute. They can be caught on blades, plastics and surface presentations.

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