Strong winds make fishing tough
  |  First Published: August 2016

It’s been an extremely windy month so far around the Merimbula region with strong southwesterly winds being the norm.

When conditions allow, the offshore sportfishers are getting amongst it with some incredible captures being recorded. The water is still 20°C straight offshore from Merimbula, which is insane for this time of year. Very recently, an 85kg striped marlin was caught while trolling through a big patch of slimy mackerel, which is great to see in the midst of winter.

There’s been a few tuna around, with a mixture of both yellowfin and southern bluefin being caught mainly by anglers trolling a mixture of bibbed minnows and skirted pushers. The yellowfin are between 20-50kg with reports of the odd larger model winning its freedom.

It won’t be long before the jumbo SBT turn up, as the long liners have been getting them, but they are very wide. The water in closer I suspect is still too warm, but this should change soon.

Albacore are also in good numbers. These awesome eating fish are averaging 13-18kg, which are solid fish and welcome captures between bigger tuna bites.

Closer to shore the snapper have been a little sporadic. It takes a while to find them, but when you do some solid captures are occurring. The fish are school fish around 1kg, and there’s been the odd bigger model to 4kg caught, but there’s certainly no numbers to them. Drifting around until you find them is the go, then anchoring up and berleying hard and drifting lightly weighted baits seems to be getting the bigger fish. You can expect morwong, pigfish and flatties with a few john dory thrown in to.

Anglers fishing in 50-60m off Pambula are getting tiger flathead and in good numbers. There’s a few sandies there too, which make some nice fillets for the pan.

In the estuaries it’s fishing great guns, especially Pambula with a host of species chewing. That latest lot of rain has really given the estuaries the required flush and the fish are responding nicely. At this time of year with the cold water the pelagics like salmon, tailor and trevally are the main species caught.

Smaller soft plastics fished with 3g heads are the way to go in the fast water about a kilometre upstream from the mouth. This area is quite shallow, averaging 2m in depth, but don’t let this deter you, the fish are there.

In the main basin you will get flathead, bream, blackfish and whiting. I prefer to use blades in the cold water for blackfish and whiting. I know it sounds weird, but it’s a deadly technique. You will get bream and flatties on them too, but remember to fish them slow with short hops and pauses. You will be amazed at how many fish will pick it up off the bottom.

On the beaches, it’s been a little tougher than usual with massive seas a few weeks back and the recent East Coast low, but now it’s as flat as a pancake. This has been due to the strong southwesterly winds we’ve experienced lately, flattening out the seas and no white water to speak off.

There’s been the odd salmon and tailor caught, but you certainly have to work for them. It will pick up once the beach swell returns, but until then it may be lazy pickings.

It’s a little same on the rocks for the eating species like blackfish, drummer and groper. They have been very hard to entice with very cold water with no wash at your feet. Again, once we get some swell they will fire up nicely.

If you’re after the pelagics, then some fun will be had. Good schools of salmon are patrolling most headlands with Tura Head and the wharf inside Merimbula Bay going pretty good at the moment.

Casting whole pilchards on ganged 4/0 hooks is working well, especially with the calmer inshore conditions. Getting the presentation a little deeper is definitely the key to better results.

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