What a great time of year to fish the Merimbula area! A range of species are available to target so whether you’re a local or a visiting angler there's something for everyone.
The rock-hopper brigade are in full swing with great result for those targeting the pelagic species. There has been a great start to the bonito season with numbers and size at good levels. This energetic speedster is responding well to chromed slices fished flat chat. Casting these bullets towards the horizon and winding them back as fast as you can isn't for everyone but there’s no better feeling when that lure gets slammed. The bonito are averaging a solid 2-3kg and at this size can be targeted on lighter gel-spun to enhance the fight even more. The only problem here is there's still some big kingfish hunting the shallow ground so use the light stuff at your peril!
Mixed in with the bonnies are good sized salmon to 3kg, these bruisers are thick at times and can start to be frustrating when targeting the bonito. In saying that, they are still great fun on the light stuff and have rescued a quiet session into a solid session many a time. Like I mentioned before there's still some very big kings getting around that are hard to entice, but if you fish a live bait you may be in luck. The last few seasons have seen good kings around the rocky points so let's hope that continues. The better ledges to try are Tura Head and Long Point. Both are a bit of a walk but worth a visit.
In the estuaries the big girls are waking up and starting to play the game. I've heard of a handful of 80cm+ flathead getting caught recently, and thankfully all released. These flathead are important for future stocks so, in my books, letting them go should be the law! Most anglers do the right thing but there's still a minority that don’t and the sooner these restrictions are enforced, the better.
Both the Merimbula and Pambula lakes are fishing well but Merimbula is definitely better for flatties at present. Most of the bigger fish I’ve heard of are coming from there. The top lake is the best place to fish, I recommend casting 80-100mm fish style plastics towards the ribbon weed edges for best results. As the month progresses it will only get better and it shouldn't be too hard to score a nice feed too. With the warmer weather approaching, surface presentations for bream and whiting around the margins and oyster racks will come into their own. There’s already been some nice surface action happening so if you haven’t tried, give it a go – it's a whole stack of fun.
Offshore, the bottom bouncers are having their usual success with flathead, snapper, morwong, and kingfish all chewing at times. The northern grounds seem to be fishing best with Long Point and White Cliffs producing good catches. Each day is different, it may take you awhile to locate the fish but once you do it's all systems go. My neighbour had a solid outing a few days back and said the snapper and reef species were fishing well. He took his bag of reds and came home pretty happy with himself with some great fillets for the pan.
A little further offshore the tuna action is just starting to fire up. Most crews from Merimbula are heading north where the action has been. It won't be long before they’re on our doorstep and those monster miles won't be needed.
Those that have ventured out have done well – local charter skipper Nath Brown from Headhunter Charters has done the miles and reaped the rewards. Nath has got his clients onto some solid yellowfin tuna to 40kg, plus a heap of albacore. This tuna action is likely to continue improving as we head into summer and if those temperature charts are right there's a sneaky chance at a striped marlin as well.
On the beaches, the usual suspects like bream, whiting and mullet will respond well to pipi and live beach worms. I'd be using a lightly weighted baitcast just past the shore dump for best results. A lot of anglers cast past the fish unaware that the fish are right at their feet! A little burley will help too with Tura main, North Tura and Haycock beaches all fishing well.Reads: 510