Kingfish on fire
  |  First Published: September 2016

It’s been an incredible month for the rock-hopper brigade. The best run of kingfish I’ve ever seen is here in Merimbula, arguably for the last twenty-five years. The kings, or ‘hoodlums’ we should call them, are big. These turbo charged bruisers are averaging 15kg, as big as 22kg. Now there are big fish to land from the boat and shore, but this is what’s happening.

Kings can be found from the wharf inside Merimbula Bay, right around to Long Point. Tura Head would also hold a few and I know of a couple shreddings from there this last week. It’s exciting how they’re caught. Anglers who fish big poppers have fared best. Some casts raise three and four fish at a time, which is crazy stuff. When a 40lb fish smashes a surface lure, you don’t forget it easily. To see it many times in a session is truly remarkable.

There’s been catches on sinking stickbaits fished erratically back to shore. These shine when the sun gets a little higher. Over the last week, I know of twelve big kings landed, but at least thirty lost. There’s certainly a few out there. Some fishers have used the boat, trolling close to shore, and have caught some on deeper bibbed minnows. Cast poppers back to the washes for some action. It’s anyone’s guess how long this will last, but if the bait and water stays the same it should continue in spring.

Offshore, boaties have done extremely well on southern bluefin, when the weather allows. Fish are out wide, so a decent sized boat is needed to get out there safely. Trolling is certainly the go and fish are averaging 40-50kg. A mixture of skirted pushers and bibbed minnows should do the trick. There’s been yellowfin mixed with the bluefin, which is great to see. Albacore numbers are great along the 100 fathom line. Troll smaller skirts for albies.

Closer to shore, snapper have been okay on inshore reefs, but they’re slow. Move around and use fresh baits, you will be rewarded. If you’re after a feed of flatties, their numbers have been excellent. The Sticks off Pambula is the hotspot at present.

In the estuaries, the water is still pretty cool and clear, so fish slow presentations with small to mid sized soft plastics. You can expect flathead in the main basins of both Pambula and Merimbula lakes, but expect to work for them. Concentrate around the ribbon-weed edges for the best results on the draining tide.

Anglers fishing blades have caught a few – bream, whiting and luderick also succumb to these little bits of metal. Small hops and draws are the go, as most hits come on the lift. Most of the action is happening in the channels. Cast smaller stick-style softies, these have accounted for most catches, including trevally, salmon, tailor and the odd bream. This next period going into spring is when we will see the estuaries really fire up.

Those fishing the beaches have had the usual success with salmon and tailor. Beaches like Tura Main, North Tura and Haycock have been great. A solid gutter to the south end of Tura main is the best. Anglers using a paternoster rig have fared well, though casting smaller shiners will also work. Bream and whiting should start to fire up, especially around the estuary entrances, after spending time on the beaches. These two species will be hungry after spawning, so a well presented live beach worm will be hard to resist.


This 17.5kg king was caught on the rocks around 100m from the main wharf.


Kingfish galore is here – these two solid models were caught off Merimbula wharf.

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