Hot inshore action
  |  First Published: April 2006

The inshore action off Merimbula has been the best I’ve seen for years and I expect April to be no different.

With 24° water on our doorstep, all sorts of pelagics are making local waters home. Marlin, tuna and mahi mahi have all been caught from the 40-fathom line inwards, with quite a few marlin sightings inside Merimbula Bay itself.

Most of the marlin have been stripes from 50kg upwards, but seeing them so close to shore is a real buzz for most inshore fishos.

Out wider, the marlin action is in full swing with switched-on game crews getting six to eight shots a day. Lures have worked well, as have slowly-trolled live baits.

Most boats are fishing from the 60-fathom line to the continental shelf with the canyons up at Tathra producing marlin as well. If you find the bait and concentrate your efforts around it, a marlin won’t be too far away.

Later this month yellowfin tuna up to 60kg can be expected with most fish coming from the shelf to the 1000-fathom line. Last year a lot of good tuna were caught late in April and this year is almost a carbon copy of 2005 year if my fishing diary is anything to go by. With the tuna come sharks, so have the wire ready, too.

With the warm water the snapper have been quiet but morwong, sand and tiger flathead, leatherjackets, john dory and trevally have more than made up a decent feed. All the reefs are holding fish but Horseshoe Reef, just south of Pambula, would be the pick. Fresh squid or tuna are the gun baits.


Merimbula and Pambula lakes continue to produce flathead, bream, whiting, blackfish and trevally in numbers. All methods are working with soft plastics and live bait catching the majority of fish.

The bream are responding well to hard bodies especially the Ecogear SX40. A lot of the fish are coming from shallow sand bars on a run-up tide, with the oyster racks holding fish as well. It can become a little expensive throwing $20 lures around the racks but it’s fun while it lasts!

The Bega River, just north of Tathra, has been a bit patchy but some respectable bream and estuary perch have been caught. The snags have been quiet and the best results I have had lately have been fishing the deeper sections of Thompsons. Lightly weighted plastics fished dead slow have resulted in perch to 40cm with the flats a little farther upstream producing bream.

Whiting and flathead can be caught downstream with the section from the road bridge to the entrance the place to fish.

April is prime time for the rockhopper who loves throwing metal. Kingfish, bonito, salmon and tailor are almost guaranteed, with mack and longtail tuna a real possibility. Best places to try would be the rocks at Nelsons, north of Tathra, and Tura Head.

Metal slices from 40g to 60g are ideal but remember to always change the trebles. Most lures these days come with light hooks so make the effort to put on heavier ones. This little tackle adjustment could make the difference between landing a trophy fish or another story of the one that got away.

The beaches will continue to fish well for bream, whiting and mullet. Fish the close inshore gutters with light line and fresh bait for best results.

The beach at North Tura has a ripper little gutter at the moment. Fish this on a rising tide into the evening and hang on.

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