Spoilt for choice at Merimbula
  |  First Published: January 2015

The Merimbula township is still in full-swing holiday mode, with boats and people everywhere. Despite the increased boat traffic, the fishing has been good — especially in the estuaries.

The top lake at Merimbula is only a puddle compared to other local systems, but gee it's been on fire. Ever since we had 200mm of rain late last year, the fish have responded well to a variety of techniques. Soft plastics and blades have worked a treat on all species, with flathead, bream, whiting and trevally on the chew.

The fish have been in great numbers along the weed, with the 4-7m line the perfect depth. Casting lures towards the edges and working them back to the boat has been successful. Some of the flatties are pushing 90cm, so big girls, but with plenty of eaters available too. Larger softies are the go for the bigger ones, with smaller stick-style plastics ideal for the other species.

Both bream and whiting are responding well to walk baits and poppers, with the shallower flats around the mangroves towards the back of the basin the go-to spot. We have had some great sessions here of late, with 15-20 fish the norm on most occasions. I'd expect this action to continue for quite a while and really look forward to the coming weeks.

Offshore has been hectic, with 100-plus boats venturing out when the weather looks good. It makes for an especially busy ramp if the wind gets up and everybody comes home at the same time. Even with this, the fishing has been awesome, with snapper, morwong and flathead making up the majority of fishos’ bags.

There's been the odd kingfish caught too, with a few models around the 8kg mark. Anglers using fresh squid and live bait have fared best with the hoodlums. The fish are moving around quite a bit, with Long and Horseshoe reefs being the pick.

Further offshore, the pelagic action is also in full swing, with marlin the main target species. A few crews are getting upwards of 5 shots, which is pretty good going in my books. The majority are stripes with the odd black, and the average size is around 80-90kg so nice fish. With the water a warm 23 degrees, I wouldn't be surprised to see a few blue marlin hooked over coming weeks. Trolling larger skirted pushers around 14-16” long is the go for the blues.

With such good water along the shelf, mahimahi, wahoo, shortbill spearfish, yellowfin tuna and a host of shark species are all possibilities. This action will continue for months yet, and l know the local lads are getting a little excited about what to expect.

The rocks have been awesome for bonito and smaller kingfish, with Tura Head, Long Point and the main wharf producing. When the nor’ easters blow, Long Point is the go, as you get a lot of shelter there from the wind, and the warmer current wraps around the corner. Casting poppers, metal shiners, and whole ganged pilchards will work, with poppers a fun way to target kingfish. Their explosive nature when smacking a lure off the surface is something to behold, and I for one don't get bored of seeing it.

On the beaches, whiting and bream continue to do the right thing, with North Tura and Tura Main Beach being prime spots. There are some solid gutters close in, so a short cast is all that's required. A running sinker rig with fresh or live worms will ensure a solid feed for the pan. The salmon action has been slow of late, but there's been plenty of tailor about to keep the beachgoers happy

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