Estuaries going great guns
  |  First Published: August 2014

It's been a windy month so far around the Merimbula region but when the weather has allowed the offshore sportfishers have been getting amongst it. ‘Tuna’ is the word at present with a mixture of both yellowfin and southern bluefin being caught mainly by fishos trolling a mixture of bibbed minnows and skirted pushers. The yellowfin are between 40-70kg though there have been a few bigger fish lost recently.

It won't be long before the jumbo SBT turn up. There have been sightings of bigger fish busting up but no captures as yet. What has been abundant is albacore and lots of them. These awesome eating fish are averaging 13-18kg which are solid fish and welcome captures between bigger tuna bites. This action should continue but a lot will depend on water temperature, tides and current.

The fish are wide from the shelf to the 1000 line, which off Merimbula is a very long way. You certainly want to make sure your vessel is seaworthy when travelling that distance and your crew is up to it.

Closer to shore the snapper have been a little sporadic. It takes a while to find them but when you do locate them you can get some solid captures. The fish are school fish around a kilo, with the odd bigger model to 4kg caught but certainly no numbers to them. Drifting around until you find them is the go, then anchoring up and berleying hard and drifting lightly weighted baits seems to be getting the bigger fish. You can expect morwong, pigfish and flatties with a few john dory thrown in as well.

Anglers fishing in 50-60m of water off Pambula are getting tiger flathead and in good numbers. There are a few sandies there too, so you can get some nice fillets for the pan.


In the estuaries it's still fishing great guns, especially Pambula, with a host of species chewing. At this time of year with the cold water the pelagics like salmon, tailor and trevally are the main species caught. Smaller soft plastics fished with 3g jigheads in the fast water about 1km upstream from the mouth is the place to fish. This area is quite shallow, averaging 2m in depth, but don't let this deter you. The fish are there!

In the main basin you will get flathead, bream, blackfish and whiting. I prefer to use blades in the cold water for blackfish and whiting. I know it sounds weird but it's a deadly technique. You will get bream and flatties on them too but remember to fish them slow with short hops and pauses. You will be amazed at how many fish will pick it up off the bottom.


On the beaches it's been a little tough as we have not had any swell at all. This has been due to the strong W/NW winds we've experienced of late, flattening out the seas with no white water to speak of. There's been the odd salmon and tailor caught but you certainly have to work for them. The action will pick up once the beach swell returns but until then it may be slim pickings.

It's a little same on the rocks for the eating species like blackfish, drummer and groper. They have been very hard to entice, with crystal cold water with no wash at your feet. Not ideal conditions, that's for sure. Again, once we get some swell they will fire up nicely.

If you’re after the pelagics there’s some fun to be had. Good schools of salmon are patrolling most headlands, with Tura Head and the wharf inside Merimbula Bay going great guns. Casting whole pilchards on ganged 4/0 hooks is working well, especially with the calmer inshore conditions. Getting the presentation a little deeper is definitely the key to better results.

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