Most species are playing the game in March
  |  First Published: March 2017

Merimbula has finally seen some hot weather hit its shores. It took a while to get here and with it the fishing has really picked up, especially in the estuaries.

Both the Merimbula and Pambula estuary systems have fired up nicely with the warm water of late. Merimbula has been a standout with an array of species playing the game. We had a session there with clients a few days back and it was awesome. Snapper, flatties, bream, tailor, trevally and whiting scoffed our lures. Most fish fell to softies, but I saw anglers getting good flatties on live poddies as well.

All of our fish came from reasonably shallow water and 2-4m was ideal. Some of the flatties are upwards of 80cm, which are solid fish. The odd mulloway has been caught by anglers using live bait after dark. This action will continue throughout March and should only get better.

Pambula Lake is still producing the goods and most fishos are getting nice fish. Captures of 15-20+ fish are the norm and fishing the out going tide is the go. The main basin has been productive. Concentrate on fishing the edges of the channels with plastics and blades for the best results. There have been some solid flatties towards the entrance. Soft plastics around 70mm are ideal. The flats in the upper section of the lake have been excellent for bream and whiting on surface lures. Fishing the first three hours of the draining tide has seen better results than the flooding tide.

The local beaches continue to fire and most beaches hold good concentrations of salmon. North Tura Beach has been the place to fish with common catches of a dozen fish to 2kg. The northern end of the beach towards Bournda Island has a deep gutter at present. Fishing this section very early in the morning on a rising tide has been effective. Surf poppers are working well in a variety of colours. Laser lures and whole pilchards are also producing.

Tailor numbers should improve this month, with the rocky foreshore near the Island itself fishing better for bream. Cut crabs and pipis are both great baits for bream and whiting like live beach worms. Lighter outfits come into their own when targeting these bread and butter species and running sinker rigs are ideal. Don’t be afraid to use a little berley here, but don’t overdo it or the pickers will set in.

Those fishing outside for the eating species like snapper, morwong, pigfish and flathead are doing well with most reefs holding fish. There seem to be better results on the deeper reefs like Horseshoe to the south of Merimbula. Here you can expect kingfish. Jigs, live bait and squid all work at times. It can be a little hit and miss, but when they’re chewing it’s as good as anywhere. Both Long Point and White Cliffs are worth a look. The latter is a decent drive north.

The action has been fast and furious on the marlin front. Most crews get a couple of shots per day. Striped marlin are the predominant species being caught. Most fish are 80-100kg with the odd bigger fish. The 70-fathom line has produced a lot of the marlin. The extra distance to the shelf isn’t needed on many occasions.

Over the next few weeks, more black and blue marlin should turn up as both these species are being caught north of Merimbula and in good numbers. Trolling skirted pushers has been the most productive method for the marlin and switch-baiting live baits should also work. There have been a few yellowfin tuna caught. Fish to 40kg are quite common. These speedsters are certainly a welcome by-catch and great on the plate.

On the rocks bonito numbers have increased dramatically over recent weeks. These little speedsters are awesome fun on light gel spun tackle and 20-30g shiners. If you want to use heavier gear, whole ganged pilchards will also work. The better ledge to fish is Tura Head and the north end of the ledge is where the deeper water is.

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