Offshore madness, inshore delights
  |  First Published: May 2015

What a cracking month we have had on the fishing scene around the Merimbula region. It really doesn’t matter what sort of fishing your into, there’s definitely something for everyone.

Offshore anglers are excited as the game fish continue to chew using a variety of different techniques. Marlin are still in good numbers, but l suspect they will thin out a little as the month progresses and the water temperature drops a little. The beaks being captured are a mixture of striped and black with the majority of fish around 90-100kg, solid fish in anyone’s books!

With the marlin not as thick as previous months, trolling has been a better option as you’re covering a lot of ground. Some crews have been lucky, finding bait balls whilst trolling and then pitching live baits back to the marlin. This red-hot spectacle is something to see with lit up marlin at the back of your boat, if your lucky enough to have it happen to you, you won’t forget it for a long time. The marlin bite has been wide with the shelf the place to fish.

With the water about to cool down it’s tuna time down this neck of the woods. Both yellowfin tuna and albacore will be patrolling the currents; those trolling early in the season will have better results. It’s like marlin, you cover the ground and find the fish not the other way around. There’s already been a sprinkling of yellowfin with a few 40kg models getting captured. I would expect bigger fish and more this month as the water gets to around 18-19°C, ideal big fish water.

With the change of season more mako sharks will be available as will the albacore. These fine eating species will be in great numbers anywhere from the 40-fathom line eastwards.

Closer to shore these been a few kings around Haycock Point, though they have been hard to entice. Those that have done OK have been throwing larger poppers and stickbaits when they see the kings on the surface. This is very exciting fishing and when it all comes together is quite memorable.

In the estuaries, it’s business as usual. Both Merimbula and Pambula Lakes are firing up nicely with flathead abundant in both systems. There doesn’t seem to be big girls getting caught, just a lot of solid eaters around the 40-50cm mark, which are great on the plate.

Those fishing the channels are doing OK on the bream as the yellowfins are heading out to sea to do their thing. That doesn’t mean they will all leave the system, there will still be plenty to tangle with.

Whiting and blackfish have been good, especially for the bait anglers, with peeled prawns working a treat. The channels will continue to fish well until winter, they may slow up a little then but if you work hard you will still get results.

On another note, it still surprises me what you sometimes catch in our southern estuaries. The other day whilst guiding at Pambula we caught a beaut little amberjack around the 35cm mark whilst targeting flatties. To say it was a surprise is an under statement, as l hadn’t heard of one being caught in there. I know of several captured in Merimbula Lake but not Pambula. This little fella did a short camera shoot then was released in super condition to find his northern home again.

On the beaches the bream fishing has really picked up over the last two weeks. I know of several anglers using beach worms getting their bags inside a few hours, which is pretty good fishing. I won’t disclose the actual gutter they were fishing but the beaches just north of Tura have been exceptional.

With the bream there’s a few solid whiting to add to the bag plus the odd tailor as well. Those after salmon have to work a little bit for them as they have been hard to locate in any numbers. That should change as we head closer to winter with the odd jumbo greenback tailor expected too.

For the rock-hoppers after pelagics like bonito and mac tuna, this is your month. I’d expect to see both species in good numbers from most headlands with the better ones being Tura Head, Merimbula Wharf (inside the bay) and Long Point. Casting metal shiners and live baiting slimy mackerel should see some solid results for those that put in the time and effort. It’s important that you fish early for both species especially in calmer conditions.

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