Merimbula is shore doing well in close
  |  First Published: April 2017

The gamefishing off Merimbula has been a little patchy lately, mainly due to water temperature fluctuations. There’s still some quality fishing to be had. When the temperatures and currents have aligned black and striped marlin have been caught.

The 70-fathom line to the shelf has been the prime place to target them. Trolling lures and live baiting striped tuna has been the preferred method. Anglers switch-baiting when conditions are favourable have also done well. A few of the local charter boats have done alright with two or three shots per day, which is still pretty good fishing. The marlin are averaging 70-80kg so they’re not big fish, but still great fun on stand-up tackle.

I’d expect a few bigger striped marlin this month with fish in excess of 130kg on the cards. There’s been a few yellowfin tuna captured with the odd 40kg fish on the shelf. These have come from crews trolling skirted pushers for marlin. Live bait and cubing methods should catch some reasonable yellowfin, especially towards the end of the month.

We have seen great numbers of mahimahi on certain days. If you come across some floating debris, cast a few live baits or bigger soft plastics and you might be surprised at the results.

Inshore the flathead have been going great guns with the Sticks off Pambula being a hotspot. More anglers these days are using soft plastics on the sand flathead with unbelievable success. Almost any soft plastic has worked a treat and the best thing is you can catch 15-20 fish on the plastics without any dramas. They are relatively cheap, easy to use and easy to clean, which has to be a good thing. Some days the leatherjackets are too thick and will cost you plenty.

There have been a few snapper and morwies on Long Point Reef. The 50m line is a good place to start. Down south off Pambula, both Horseshoe Reef and Lennards Island have produced some mid range kingfish to 10kg – solid fish for here and great sport. Use fresh squid, jigs or live bait for best results. Trolling skirted lures early in the morning is also worth a shot.

April is a good time for the rock spin die-hards to throw metal around. Mac tuna, bonito and the odd kingie can be expected. Tura Head is the pick of the platforms to fish. Merimbula Bay will produce. The rocks north of the wharf and the wharf itself are the places to fish.

I use large lures at this time of the year. Have a selection of lures on hand. Each day can be different, especially when trying to match the hatch with baitfish size to lure size. Using pilchards on ganged hooks also works. A slow wind mid water can pay handsome dividends, especially for bonito.

In the estuaries some thumping big tailor have made the top lake at Merimbula home with fish to 3kg common. 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. All fish fell to softies, but I saw anglers getting good flatties on live poddies also.

All of our fish came from reasonably shallow water and 2-4m is ideal. Some of the flatties are upwards of 80cm – solid fish. The odd mulloway has been caught by anglers using live baits after dark. I also saw a photo of a visiting angler with a 105cm dusky, a cracking fish that was released, which is great to see. This action will continue throughout April and should only get better.

Pambula Lake is still producing the goods with most fishos getting some nice fish. Captures of 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 best results. There have been solid flatties towards the entrance fish with soft plastics around 70mm.

The local beaches continue to fire and most are holding good concentrations of salmon. North Tura Beach has been a standout, with catches of a dozen fish to 2kg common. The northern end of the beach towards Bournda Island has a deep gutter at present, and very early in the morning on a rising tide has been prime time to fish. Surf poppers are working well in a variety of colours, with lures and whole pilchards also catching fish.

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. Whiting are succumbing to live beach worms. Lighter outfits come into their own when targeting these bread and butter species. Running sinker rigs are ideal.

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