Merimbula in March is picture-perfect with a smorgasbord of fishing opportunities available.
Whether it’s offshore, estuary, beach or rock, the fishing is nothing short of exceptional.
Those game fishing have had a field day of late and will continue to for a few months. Striped marlin have been around in numbers, with captures of one or two fish common.
The beakies have been a little tentative to bite but persistence will often reap rewards. Live-baiting bridle-rigged slimy mackerel has been successful, especially if a bait ball is found. Slowly troll these guys around the bait ball and see how the nerves hold up.
Trolling lures, skip baits, rigged garfish and switch-baiting have also produced.
Bruce Libbis, skipper of the charter boat Rathlin 2 out of Merimbula, has been having three to four shots at marlin per day.
He told me that the most recent marlin they tagged came from the FAD in 70 fathoms east-south-east of Merimbula 14 miles out. This FAD is quite new and you would expect it to hold fish next season, not this one. But, sure enough, Bruce weaved his magic and came up trumps with a nice 90kg striped marlin.
Inshore the snapper have been a little quiet but the morwong are in full swing. Fish to 60cm have been caught with all of the local reefs producing.
Horseshoe and Long Point are the pick of the spots with fresh squid the gun bait. Expect kingfish, trevally and maybe a gummy shark when fishing for the mowies.
North Tura has been a standout for the beach fishos. Salmon, bream, whiting and tailor to 2kg have been making the suds home for a few weeks now. The run-up tide into the evening has been the best time, with pilchards and live beach worms the preferred baits.
Expect the beach fishing to get better as we head into autumn; it’s my favourite time to target larger species from the beach.
If fishing after dark with the right gear, then mulloway, gummy sharks, and smaller bronze whaler sharks are all a possibility. Use fresh tailor, mullet or salmon fillets.
The local estuaries continue to fish well. I fished Merimbula recently with clients and had a ball on trevally, whiting, flatties, and legal snapper. All fish were taken on plastics with the Juro Firebaits a standout.
The whiting fell to the new 4” Berkley worms. They look so much like a squirtworm it’s not funny.
Some good bream are around the racks with flathead plentiful in the Top Lake. Smaller soft plastics are accounting for the majority of the frogs but the bigger fish are falling to live poddy mullet.
You can get the poddies on the northern side of the main channel just up from the main charter boat wharf. A small trap is all you need there with a bit of bread berley to get them around.
The Bega River, just north of Tathra, is producing all the usuals. Bream, estuary perch and bass are all available upstream.
Some nice flathead and whiting have been caught towards the river entrance. It’s been open for a while now and the fishing has certainly improved because of it.
Squirtworms have been dynamite on the whiting with some fish nudging the magical 40cm.Reads: 3001