The fishing around Merimbula has been nothing short of exceptional, with a host of species on offer using a variety of techniques. It really depends on what you want to target and where as to the results you will get.
Those anglers venturing offshore have had a field day, especially the bottom-bouncing brigade, with snapper the word on everyone's lips. The reds have been thick at times on the inshore reefs, with Long Point and Lennards Island to the south being prime locations. A few locals I have talked to reckon it's the best bite they have seen in years, particularly at this time of year. The snapper aren't huge, averaging 1.5-2kg, but still good fish and ideal plate size.
Most fish are falling to pilchards and fresh squid, though some switched on anglers are getting great results on soft plastics, especially down south in the shallower water. This type of fishing isn't for everyone, but geez when they’re on, it's a whole lot of fun.
Mixed in with the reds are some solid kingfish, with fish to 5kg common, and at times lots of them. Those anglers who have targeted the kings are having some serious fun with jigs and plastics. I'd suspect there would be bigger models upwards of 8kg beneath the school fish, with live bait a better proposition for catching them. All this action should continue for a while yet, with water temperatures hovering around 22 degrees.
Further offshore, the game fishing fraternity have had their fair share of action too. Striped marlin are the main species being caught, with some crews getting 5 or 6 shots a day — great fishing in anyone's books. The beakies are between 80-120kg and can be found from the 50f line outwards, but don't underestimate the inshore grounds as they too are worth a look, especially for black marlin. Most fish are succumbing to trolled skirted pushers, though switch baiting has been popular when you can get the bait. There's been the odd better yellowfin to 40kg caught when trolling for marlin, and as the season gets later expect albacore numbers to increase. There's been great numbers of mahimahi also, which are great fun between marlin bites.
Anglers fishing the rocks for pelagics like salmon, kingfish and bonito have done well of late, with Tura Head, Short and Long Point and the wharf inside Merimbula Bay all worth a look. Some of the kings have nudged 7kg, so good fish from the hard stuff, with live bait being the best option. You can expect the bonito to be abundant for months to come now, with chromed slices and ganged pilchards a good way to target them. These little speedsters have made a welcome return over the last few seasons, which is awesome to see, as they are great sport and not too bad in the smoker either.
In the estuaries, both Pambula and Merimbula continue to shine, fishing well for flathead, bream, whiting and blackfish. The flatties have really fired up with the warmer water, and a good feed is available on most outings. The fish are solid models around the 50cm mark, with the odd bigger female making her presence felt. Most are falling to soft plastics, with live poddy mullet and blades catching their share.
With the water warm, the surface fishing has been excellent for bream and whiting, with Merimbula a standout. I know of a few bream upwards of 43cm being caught lately around the racks, with whiting to 42cm also. At these sizes, on light gel spun in hard country, they are great fish with hours of endless fun to be had. If artificials aren't for you, I'd be concentrating in the channels below the bridge, with fresh tuna cubes or yabbies the preferred baits. You will catch some nice bream, whiting and trevally around the boat moorings, with the flooding tide the best.
Those fishing the beaches are also in for a treat, with salmon, bream, whiting and gummy sharks all possible. Any beach with a half decent gutter is producing, with Tura main holding a great gutter at the northern end. It's been excellent for bream, with live beach worms the gun bait. If you can combine a rising tide on dusk, some good angling will be had.
Some great kings are getting around the local reefs, as Gezza found out recently.
You gotta love bream fishing; it's just the best, as the boys discovered on this trip.Reads: 402