Prime time for big flatties
  |  First Published: November 2007

The estuaries around Merimbula have been fishing exceptionally well for weeks and with the warmer water coming down the coast, they should improve further.

November is prime time for big flathead down this way with fish over 5kg caught every year. Most will fall to large soft plastics but the bait boys will also catch fish on live poddy mullet and fresh strips of tuna.

Prime spots are shallow banks on high tides, such as the shallows around Mangrove Island in Pambula Lake. Fish areas like this with light jig heads and reasonably large soft plastics or unweighted baits.

The afternoon high tide is quite often better at this time of year because the shallows warm up from the day’s rays.

Other places to target them include favourites of mine – creek mouths. Fish these on the bottom half of the ebb tide. Small mullet and whiting have to leave the shallow flats of creeks and usually there is only one place to go.

A good place to start here is Boggy Creek in the top section of Merimbula Lake. Almost every system has feeder creeks so it pays to have a look around your local waterway and see what’s around.

Slowly-twitched soft plastics and mullet imitations in hard-bodied lures will produce.

The channels of the Merimbula and Pambula systems have fished well for bream, blackfish, trevally and whiting. Fresh nippers and squirt worms have been dynamite baits with the plastics brigade also getting a few. This action will improve further as we head towards Summer.

Offshore has been fishing OK – good one day then not much the next. Snapper, morwong and flatties comprise the majority of the catches with the reefs south of Merimbula producing better results.

Fresh bait has been a key with striped tuna cubes, pilchards and local squid the pick baits.

November usually sees a few pelagics turning up. Kingfish, bonito and striped tuna are real possibilities on the inshore grounds and trolling lures the best way to bend a rod.

Out wide we should see yellowfin tuna, albacore and the outside chance of an early season striped marlin, if last year is anything to go by. We had a ripper start to the game season last year and let’s hope 2007 brings the same.

Trolled lures are the go early in the season. You get to cover a lot of ground and when the fish are located, some quality action can be had, especially on the continental shelf and beyond.


Bream, whiting and mullet will keep most beach fishos happy, with beachworms and pipis the best baits. Almost all beaches will hold fish but Tura, North Tura and Haycock beaches would be the pick.

Look for a small, deep gutter running close to shore or fish the rocky corners on the northern ends of beaches for best results. A little bread berley in the shore dump will greatly improve your chances.

The salmon will still be around but the numbers will be down as the water warms. Expect a few more tailor to turn up and if you’re fishing at night, you’re always a chance of a mulloway. Fresh pilchards and mullet fillets the gun baits.

The rockhoppers who love throwing lures will start to lick their chops this month. Small kingies, bonito, salmon and tailor are all a chance if the water is right and the currents come close enough to shore, especially for the kingies.

Tura Head is this region’s land-based hot spot and every year some good fish are hooked from this platform.

A few drummer, bream and blackfish will still make the washes home so if the surface action is a little slow there’s always another option. Bread, cabbage and abalone gut should work well for bait but berley is a must for serious fishos.

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