The Merimbula region has experienced all seasons over the last month or so, with drenching rains, huge seas and warm sunny days making it hard to decide which actual season we are in. Now the weather has stabilized somewhat, anglers look forward to more consistent conditions to go smack a few fish.
Fishing offshore when conditions have allowed has been nothing short of excellent. The game crews have been having awesome results on marlin with three to four shots a day the norm. Most marlin are stripes around the 90-100kg mark, though the odd better black upwards of 150kg have also been captured.
The water is still warm at around 22ºC but I do expect the beakie action to slow somewhat over coming weeks. Last season there were still a few caught up to mid June but a lot will depend on water temperatures. If it hangs around 20ºC marlin are still possible but any lower and it's all over until December.
The bonus here though if the temperature does drop is that we can expect yellowfin tuna to 80kg and bigger to make their presence felt. June/July is a great time for a jumbo with anglers fishing a cube/berley trail doing well.
There have been a few smaller yellowfin caught when anglers have been trolling for marlin, with the best I've heard of going 62kg; not a monster but still a solid fish. I'd be concentrating my efforts from the 70-fathom line and further east, looking for temperature breaks, bait activity and birds. lf you locate all three at once then you’re certainly in the right area.
Closer to shore the kings have been OK though a little sporadic with some good fish off Long Reef. The trolling brigade has fared best with kings to 7kg plus solid numbers of bonito, especially when trolling closer to shore.
Those anglers fishing the bottom have been getting a awesome feed, especially snapper. The reds have been consistent for months now and winter is arguably the best time to target the bigger fish along the far South Coast. Some local anglers have been getting their bags within a few hours, mostly drifting with fresh squid, cuttlefish and tuna strips. Most reefs are holding fish with Long Reef, Horseshoe and Whitecliffs all producing.
In the estuaries it's firing up nicely after all the heavy rains of last month. The water has cleared considerably with both Pambula and Merimbula fishing well. I've been guiding a lot at Pambula with 40-50 fish a day the norm. We've been using smaller soft plastics and blades with bream, flathead, trevally, whiting, blackfish, flounder and the odd salmon making up the majority of bags each day.
Fishing the ribbon weed edges in 3-4m of water is the go. If you can locate the whitebait schools around the same area the action will be fast and furious.
At Merimbula there are some very decent pinky snapper being caught. I had a mate send me a photo of a 54cm red taken out of there, and that's a good fish for offshore let alone in the estuary. The fish was caught in the top lake, and they got quite a few others around the 40cm mark so there are plenty to be caught.
This month will see the bigger tailor enter the system, with the top lake again the place to go. The diving birds will be a dead giveaway as to their location, with trolled deeper diving hardbodies and metal shiners catching the majority of fish. I'd suggest using a 20cm piece of tie-able wire to your leader to avoid chop-offs.
On the beaches the salmon numbers have certainly increased. They had been hard to find but with the heavy swells of late they are back in force. Almost any beach with a half-decent gutter will produce, with a bait/popper combination rigged on a paternoster rig the go-to method.
Those anglers fishing the stones after drummer, blackfish and bream will be happy as all three species have really had a chew after the heavy seas of late. Short Point, Tura Head and Long Point are all worth a look, with cunjevoi and fresh prawns the better bait.Reads: 644