What a start to the fishing year we have had on the Sapphire Coast!
The local beaches are firing with all species available in good numbers. Bream, whiting, salmon, tailor, mullet, mulloway, gummy and school sharks have all played the game with most anglers having a ball and getting some quality fillets in the process.
With the warmer water the whiting action is full-on. Fish to 40cm have been caught with bag limits reached inside a few hours by those anglers in the know. Live beachworms and fresh pipis have been the dynamite baits, with a little berley helping things along.
Some decent yellowfin bream are mixed in with the whiting with fish to 1.4kg succumbing to the softer baits.
Beaches that have fished well include the northern end of North Tura Beach, near Bourndal Island, especially in the late afternoon after a nor’-easterly wind. You can get some protection here and the fish are quite close in to the beach break so a long cast isn’t needed.
Others locations to try are the northern end of Tura Beach and Haycock Beach, just south of the Pambula River mouth.
Anglers fishing the stones for the pelagic species have also had some fun. Whole ganged pilchards cast out and slowly retrieved have resulted in kingfish, bonito and some huge salmon to 4kg.
Throwing chromed sliced metals up to 50 gram has also worked, with most headlands producing the goods. The better ones have been Tura Head, Merimbula wharf, Short Point and Long Point. Tura Head is the pick of them all but it’s a decent walk in from Headland Drive to the rock platform below.
You can expect this action to last for a few months yet with longtail tuna also a possibility as we head further into February.
For anglers targeting bread-and-butter species like blackfish and drummer, Short Point is certainly the place. I have also heard of big groper coming from this ledge so an unweighted red crab thrown into the wash may also pay dividends.
Offshore, the action will be in full swing for game species like striped and black marlin, yellowfin tuna, various shark species and kingfish on the inshore reefs. The water will be anywhere from 21° to 24° with dolphinfish, wahoo and possibly short-billed spearfish on the cards if the temperature gets over that magical 24°.
Where the warm water starts will determine on where to fish but generally the 40-fathom line off Merimbula is a good starting point. Trolling a variety of skirted lures, bibless minnows and livebaits should work.
Last season the 70-fathom line had heaps of slimy mackerel down deep and a lot of marlin were caught there trolling these baitfish on downriggers. Let’s hope this marlin season is better than the last and the pros further north stop targeting these fine fish.
Inshore, flathead, snapper, morwong and long-finned perch will patrol most reefs with the better ones to try including Horseshoe, Long, Turingal and White Rocks Reef to the north of Merimbula. Fresh squid, striped tuna, pilchards and bigger soft plastics should produce fish.
The local estuaries will continue to produce good angling even after the pressure they have been under over the holiday period. Flathead, bream, whiting, mullet and tailor will be available, though they may be a little gun-shy.
Using fresh bait like prawns, striped tuna, worms and bass yabbies is ideal for bream and whiting.
Smaller soft plastics up to 80mm in shad or grub patterns are perfect for the dusky flathead. Areas to try are the Top Lake at Merimbula, Pambula Lake and the Bega River to the north. We have had some great sessions at Bega of late with bream and estuary perch being the predominant species.Reads: 556