Pelagics or Plastics
  |  First Published: December 2005

With summer well and truly in full swing and water up to 23°, it’s no wonder locals and visiting fishos are having a ball on the pelagic action off Merimbula.

Yellowfin tuna, albacore, striped marlin and a host of shark species will all be available, with a few black marlin thrown in just to make things interesting.

All methods will work – trolling lures and live bait, switch-baiting, berleying and cubing also working on the tuna. So far all looks promising for a ripper game season.

Mick Hansford, of Merimbula, and his crew have had great success trolling bibbed minnows for yellowfin from 10 to 25kg, with a few larger fish lost. Most fish have come from the second drop-off and beyond – a long way out but it certainly is paying dividends for the Jedi crew.

Lure of choice has remained a secret but the boys at Blue Water Sports in Merimbula have a good idea of what Mick’s been using. I know I will be paying the lads down there a visit to see what the hot lure is.

Kingfish, snapper, morwong and trevally have been abundant on the inshore reefs. Some of the kings have been up to 7kg, with snapper averaging 2kg.

All of the local reefs are holding fish but the picks would be Horseshoe to the south and Turingal to the north of Merimbula. Fresh squid has been the gun bait for the reddies, with live bait, jigs and trolled smaller bibbed minnows working well for the hoodlums.

With the warm water, the estuaries are alive. Some monster mulloway have been seen of late, with a confirmed horse of 31.7kg coming from a far South Coast estuary by local fishing fanatic ‘Nuts’. The fish came from very shallow water and was caught on a 110mm Squidgy Flickbait in evil minnow colour and 6lb braid.


The flatties in Merimbula Lake have been plentiful, with the quieter bays in the Top Lake the place to throw some plastics. Lures up to 80mm and jighead weights to 8g are ideal.

Vary your weights and lure sizes to the conditions. What works one day doesn’t always work the next, so having a range of lures and heads will greatly improve your catch rate.

Bream, trevally and whiting will keep the bait fishos happy with bass yabbies and squirt worms the best baits. Fresh prawns and striped tuna are good back-ups if live bait cannot be caught – fish these on a running sinker rig for best results.

The Bega River has continued to produce mostly estuary perch, bream and flatties. Expect some ripper whiting and school jew this month, especially around the main road bridge and the sand flats to the eastern side of the bridge. Use lures or bait for the schoolies and nippers for the whiting.

Bass will be on the chew this month, with hot afternoons and evenings the best time to target one. Fish well upstream using deeper divers just before dark, then use surface plugs like Heddon Crazy Crawlers, Jitterbugs and cicada plugs. Those surface strikes are electric and certainly get the heart pumping.

The rocks and beaches have seen some awesome fishing of late. Salmon, tailor, bream and whiting are plentiful with mulloway a real possibility this month. Warmer evenings should see some more anglers fishing for that elusive mulloway from the sand, when fresh squid, tailor and bunches of live beach worms are the best baits.

I would target beaches like Tura, North Tura and North Bournda. Fish the run-up tide into the evening in a nice deep gutter and hopefully luck will be on your side.

John and his biggest flattie to date, caught while fishing for mulloway with a 150mm Squidgy Fish soft plastic. At 80cm, it’s a nice fish that was released to breed.

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