Rain sets up a hot season
  |  First Published: April 2007

Over the past few weeks the Sapphire Coast has received some much-needed rain which will certainly help the local estuaries over coming months.

With all the fresh water the lower sections towards the estuary entrances have fished well but the deeper sections of Merimbula Lake still keep producing great results.

In the channels bream, flathead, blackfish and whiting continue to chew, especially on the flooding tide with the cleaner water entering. Smaller soft plastics, tuna cubes, bass yabbies and fresh local prawns have been the best way to tempt them.

Fishing squirt worms over the sand flats has produced some exceptional whiting and farther upstream in the Main Basin, flathead, snapper and big tailor have made up most anglers’ bags.

I had a session in the Main Basin a few days ago with flathead and tailor caught in numbers. On the run-in tide the weed beds to the south of the basin entrance fished best with soft plastics for the flatties and small shiners for the tailor.

The tailor were big for estuary fish with most 45cm to 50cm – great sport on light braid. All the tailor were caught by casting rather than trolling. We would get upwind of the fish and cast downwind to them.

If we had the motor going they would spook very easily, which some anglers found out while trolling. You can expect this action to last for a few months yet.

The beaches continue to fish well for all the usual suspects with salmon in plague proportions at times. All beaches with deeper gutters are holding fish with Haycock, Tura and North Tura the pick.

Some salmon have been pushing 4kg with metal slices, surf poppers and pilchards on paternoster rigs working well.

There are good bream available, especially in the rocky corners at the southern ends of the beaches. Using pipis or beach worms in conjunction with berley has proven a dynamic combination to catch them. Expect a few whiting while targeting the bream, with some fish around 42cm.


Offshore the game fishing has been a little sporadic, mainly due to the fluctuating water temperature. When it’s warm the black and striped marlin have been prominent from the 70-fathom line to the continental shelf. Trolling lures and livebaiting striped tuna have been the preferred methods.

A few of the local charter boats have done well with five or six shots on a good day. The fish are averaging 70kg to 80kg – great fun on stand-up tackle.

Expect a few yellowfin tuna up to 40kg this month with the chance of a stud fish towards the end of April. Albacore, mako and bronze whaler sharks are also on the cards. Makos have been found close to tuna schools so always have an outfit with wire ready.

Inshore, the flathead have been going great guns with The Sticks off Pambula a hot spot.

More guys these days are using soft plastics on the sand flathead with unbelievable success. The new Squidgy Prawn has worked a treat and you can catch 15 or 20 fish on the one plastic due to their durability.

There have been a few snapper and mowies on Long Point reef with the 50m line a good place to start. Down south off Pambula, Horseshoe reef and Lennards Island have produced some mid-range kingfish on fresh squid or livebait.

On the ocean rocks some good drummer and blackfish have had a chew. Usually known to be cold-water species, that theory has been blown out of the water lately. Fresh cabbage and bread have been the best baits to use with berley an absolute must.

For anglers targeting the pelagic species this month is a cracker. Salmon, kingfish, bonito, mack tuna and longtail tuna are all possibilities. Fish Tura Head or the main wharf inside Merimbula Bay for your best chances.

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