Time for some big flatties
  |  First Published: October 2007

October is a great month to target an array of species around Merimbula with the local estuaries a good starting point.

Merimbula and Pambula lakes have been fishing well despite the cool water and we can expect catches to continue this month. Flathead numbers are increasing with a few fish nudging 70cm.

Most fish have been from 40cm to 50cm but October is renowned for big flathead, especially in the channels and towards the estuary entrances. Soft plastics will have better success with bigger lures best.

There will still be the odd fish for the bait fishos with fresh mullet strips or smaller live baits working well.

Expect a few bream, trevally and blackfish in the channels with tailor numbers increasing in the Top Lake at Merimbula. As we head further into the month, whiting numbers will improve with live worms on the sand flats the gun way to target them.

The beaches have fished very well for months and I can’t see that changing. Salmon are the main targets with some pushing 3kg. At that size they are great sport even on heavier tackle but if you downsize to lighter spin tackle you’re in for some serious fun.

Quite often I’ll take down just a handful of 20g to 30g shiners plus a 7’ estuary combo with 6lb braid for some but fun. With the lighter outfits you can cast those small shiners a mile and cover a lot of ground.

Sure, you lose a few fish when they jump off due to the extended length of battle, but that’s half the fun, if you ask me. Better beaches to try are Haycock, Tura, and North Tura.

If you’re after a feed and not too fussed about the sport, expect a few good yellowfin bream and whiting this month. We should be seeing bigger numbers of yellow-eye mullet as well.

Fishing just past the shore dump into slightly deeper water with as little weight as possible should do the trick. Use berley sparsely with live beach worms or pipis for bait and you should be able to get a few fillets for the pan.

Anglers fishing the stones for drummer have had a field day. Catches of a dozen or more are common with a few pigs nudging 4kg. At that size they are formidable opponents with heavy-handed tactics needed to land them.

Some of the local lads are using 40lb mono straight through to the hook with lightly weighted baits of cunjevoi or crab. Even with this approach they are regularly getting smashed up but I think a few of those fish are decent groper.

Over the last few seasons the groper population has certainly increased and I reckon it’s great to see.

In the washes, expect bream and blackfish and for anglers casting lures, salmon and tailor. Smaller kingfish and bonito are also possible, especially around Tura Head, but a lot depends on prevailing currents and water temperature. Casting bigger shiners or live-baiting would be the best methods if they’re around.

Offshore has been great if you like snapper. They have been great all Winter and nobody’s complaining, especially with some fish pushing 6kg. I expect the reds to quieten down a little as we head further into Spring but the fish remaining should be of good size.

The sand flatties fire up this month with The Sticks, off the Pambula River mouth, a good place to try.

It’s about this time of year that game fishos start getting itchy palms thinking about what the next six months will hold. Last season we got albacore and smaller yellowfin tuna during October so let’s hope this season is the same.

The water temperature at the time of writing is 17° out wide and will only get better. When the tuna do get here, trolling is definitely the way to go. Smaller pushers and deep-diving minnows are top lures early in the season.

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