Fish are heating up
  |  First Published: October 2016

What a cracking month to fish the estuaries around the Merimbula region with both Pambula and Merimbula lakes fishing extremely well. Anglers using softplastics and vibes will have the edge, as the water slowly warms and weeks go by. We’re still getting 15-16°C water, which is quite cool, but the fish don’t seem to mind.

Flathead are the main species that anglers are targeting. Fish up to 80cm+ are quite possible. October is renowned for croc-sized flatties with solid fish captured in the previous weeks. We’ve managed some cracker models up to 84cm so far. Everything looks promising.

The fish have moved down to the lower sections of the estuaries, and the ribbon weed edges in 4-6m of water are ideal. I use big plastics this time of year, 4-5” models. Fish them slowly with a methodical lift and drop presentation, and use a variety of natural colours. Even with larger lures, you’ll still get a great feed of duskies up to 50cm and there’s always the chance of mulloway at this time of year.

Those anglers fishing the channels have been doing well on bream, trevally and luderick. Both bait and plastic throwers are getting fish. Anchor up and use sparse berley with live nippers or striped tuna cubes. These have been great on bream, and you can expect some nice whiting too, as the water warms further.

There have been sporadic patches of salmon entering both systems, but they’ve been patchy. One day it’s all the go and the next, nothing. When they’re about, great fun will be had. You can catch them on shiners, plastics and bait, but every day is different. There’s the odd big tailor in the salmon schools too. Expect to lose a few lures if fishing like this.

The beaches have been a little slow with the calmer conditions, but there’s still some quality fish to be caught. Locals have been getting solid bream, mainly around the rockier corners of the beaches, with whiting and yellow-eye mullet in the shallow gutters. Fishing the flood tide on sunrise has been the key to their success. Live beachworms and pipis are the preferred baits.

When the conditions suit, the salmon action will get better. The usual paternoster rig with a bait or popper combination is best. There should be a few mulloway in the suds as well. Fresh tailor slabs or big bunches of beachworms are ideal. Better beaches include Tura, North Tura and Haycock.

The lure anglers, throwing from the stones and targeting pelagics, should have some fun this month. Kingfish, bonito and big salmon are all a real possibility. The headland at Tura and Merimbula wharf would be the pick of spots. Use livebait at these locations as a gun way to catch most fish. Remember to use heavier gear, especially for the kings. There’s still been the odd report of kings on poppers, but it’s like a few months back. Casting whole pilchards on ganged hooks will work great for salmon and bonito.

Short Point to the north of Merimbula is fishing ok for luderick, drummer and the odd bream – cabbage used with berley works well. Fresh peeled prawns on a lightly weighted outfit should see a bream or two.

Anglers fishing outside are getting quality snapper on the inshore reefs. Numbers are not huge, but a lot of fish are averaging 2kg – good table sized fish and great fun on the right tackle. Long Reef and Horseshoe are choice. Lennards Island is also worth a look. There’s been a few kingfish around too, not big fish, but that will change this month. Trolling deep divers and live bait are the best to tempt them.

Out wider, there’s been sporadic catches of albacore and smaller yellowfin tuna. Like usual, everything depends on water temperature, current and bait activity. The water further north of us is 19°C – when that gets wide of Merimbula, the tuna action will heat up. Troll from the 70 fathom line to the second drop and fish a spread of bibbed and skirted lures.


The Tuross snags will hold plenty of EPs. Bruce Kefford caught this beauty.


It's mulloway time – the author found out with this neat 87cm fish.

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