In the pink at Merimbula
  |  First Published: September 2007

After huge seas over Winter, Mother Nature has finally come around with sea conditions just about perfect and local snapper fishos have taken advantage of this change.

Snapper numbers are increasing on most inshore reefs and anglers fishing fresh baits have had best success with some reds pushing 5kg. These bigger models have been caught mainly by those anchoring up and fishing lightly weighted squid and pillies down a berley trail.

A snooded double-hook rig with lighter than normal trace has certainly been the key to better catch rates. Depending on tide, current and wind will determine if a light sinker is needed to get the bait down deeper. I like to use no weight at all so your presentation looks as natural as possible.

Anglers drifting and using paternoster rigs have also had success, though the snapper have been a little smaller. You can expect this action to continue over the coming weeks with the hot spots being the wider grounds off Long Point and Horseshoe Reef.

Morwong, trevally, john dory and leatherjackets should make up the remainder of your catch, with kingfish also on the cards if the water temperatures and clarity are good enough.

Out wider, the ocean is hovering around 16° – still pretty cold but there could be a tuna or two hanging around. Over the past few seasons a few tuna have been caught during September, mainly albacore and yellowfin to 30kg, but every season is different.

I’d wait another month before venturing too far offshore but if you’re keen while the conditions are good, trolling bibbed and smaller skirted lures is the way to go. The 70-fathom line would be the best place to start but watch your temperature gauge for fluctuations and your sounder for bait holding down deep.


In the estuaries, things are really starting to fire up with the main lake at Merimbula going great guns. The water is still quite cool but this hasn’t stopped the fish from chewing.

Flathead are the main species being caught with fish to 60cm common. Catching a dozen or more has been the norm so all looks good for another cracker season. The upper reaches have been best with lures cast towards the shallows.

There are still some good bream around the deeper sections of the lake. We got seven good fish between 700g and 1.2kg the other day with super-slow deep-water presentations doing the damage.

In the channels blackfish and trevally are the main species being caught, especially on the flooding tide. Bass yabbies have worked well even for the blackfish with smaller soft plastics the best way to target the blurters.

Over at Pambula Lake the fishing was red-hot. The salmon once again entered the system and were in massive schools with some fish to 3kg being caught on shiners and plastics. This lasted for four days until the pros got in there and wiped them out.

It’s a total disgrace in my books that this can be done. This system is tiny and can’t withstand such a slaughter. The sooner the powers that be buy them out the better, if you ask me!

It will take this system a little time to recover but when it does it should fish well for flathead and bream should.

On the beaches things have been a little quiet with the extremely flat seas but when do get some swell, expect the salmon action to hot up. Bream will also be on the cards, fish the rocky corners with fresh crabs or live beach worms for best results.

This time last year we had a ripper gummy shark run along North Tura Beach. I haven’t heard of any being caught lately but this coming full moon could pay dividends. Try fishing late afternoon into the night with a rising tide for your best chance.

Anglers fishing the stones have also found it tough in the flatter conditions. The water in close is crystal clear and with no whitewater around, it can be difficult holding fish there.

A few locals have done OK with salmon on lures but a lot of casting is required between fish. This should pick up once we get some swell, with blackfish, drummer and bream also on the go once they get some cover. The rocks at North Tura and Short Point would be the pick.

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