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Merimbula May madness
  |  First Published: May 2014



The local beaches around the Merimbula region are fishing extremely well at present, with some thumping big salmon being caught. Most fish are falling to pillies rigged on ganged 4/0 hooks on an Ezy Rig combination. Paternoster rigs with a bait/surf popper combination are also producing some outstanding results. Fish to 3kg are plentiful, with the odd salmon to 4.5kg being captured.

All beaches are holding fish, but the two hotspots at present are the main beach at Tura and North Bournda just south of Wallagoot Lake. Look for the deeper gutters which are plentiful after the big seas and rain of late, and concentrate your efforts on the flooding tide and you should be in business.

Tailor are also around but the average size is quite small at the moment. Over the next few months we can expect bigger tailor to show up.

I've heard some good reports of bream and decent flathead coming from the Pambula River mouth entrance also. Live beach worms are the pick of the baits, with pilchard, bluebait, and larger soft plastics accounting for some of the flatties.

The rock hoppers have been doing well with quality blackfish, drummer, bream and groper succumbing to fresh baits. The drummers are up to 2kg – solid fish and formidable opponents at this size. Cunjevoi, red crabs and cabbage weed are the best baits, and a little burley in the washes here will also increase catch rates. Expect these bread and butter species to only get better as the water cools and we head into the cooler months. Short Point is again the gun spot to wet a line!

May’s a super time for the rock spin die-hards to throw metal around. Mack tuna, bonito, northern bluefin tuna, big salmon and the odd kingie can be expected, with Tura Head the pick of the platforms to fish. Inside Merimbula bay is also worth a look, with the rocks north of the wharf being the place to fish. I like using quite large lures at this time of the year, with any metal chromed slice up to 50g working. It pays to have a selection of lures on hand; what works one day doesn’t always work the next. It may pay to soak a live bait too, especially for a decent kingfish. There have been a few around and every May some solid models get caught off the rocks here.

Offshore, yellowfin tuna will be around as the water temperature hovers around 20ºC. May is the premium month to target yellowfin, especially big fish. The seas are usually quite calm during autumn, letting the smaller boats venture further offshore where the tuna are.

Albacore can also be expected in the coolish waters, along with the odd mako. Trolling smaller skirted pushers is ideal as you cover a lot of water. Once you locate the fish, try reverting to berley, cubes and live bait, as it can pay massive dividends at times. There have been a few tuna to 30kg captured recently by sportfishers targeting marlin but now is the time to target that jumbo.

Snapper will continue to chew on the inshore reefs, with all the usual haunts producing fish. Use fresh tuna, pilchards and soft plastics for best results, and concentrate on early mornings with a tide change. The flatties have gone a little quiet, but the fish that are being caught are quality specimens. The flattie grounds off Pambula in 30-35m have been the hot spot for a feed of flatties. Expect a few morwong and leatherjackets also.

Both Merimbula and Pambula Lakes are still producing the goods, with bream, flathead, blackfish and still the occasional school jew being caught. Bait and lures have both been working well, but fresh bait has certainly out-fished the lure fishos of late.

Pambula is holding good numbers of trevally. A lot of these fish are 1kg plus, so they’re great fun on the light stuff and not a bad feed if prepared the right way. This action will last for a while yet as every year this system fires in late autumn. Fishing the first kilometre of the system is best; tide does not matter much as long as it’s flowing.

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