Lakes on fire
  |  First Published: December 2002

Lakes on fire

The fishing around the area has been great in the past month and January should bring some spectacular action as well.

Flathead and whiting will be the prime targets in our estuaries this month with some big dusky flathead already showing on sand flats in Merimbula, Pambula, Wonboyn and Mallacoota. They didn’t really come on the bite until early December but by mid January they will be loving live baits and lures, especially my favourite soft plastic Mister Twister tails.

Estuary perch and bass are also prime targets this month in most estuary systems so dust of the baitcasters and get out the surface crawlers. Wallagaraugh Retreat and the river reaches upstream will be location No 1, with the Bega River a close second. Brogo Dam fills out the trifecta of great bass hot-spots on the South Coast in the New Year!

Beach fishing is not too shabby at present, with salmon and tailor in good numbers and a few sand flathead filling out bags after the tiger flathead moved on. Lure-fishing at early morning is good for salmon and tailor around the rocky headlands and a kingfish or two are making their presence felt. Tathra wharf is top location at present of course and Merimbula wharf, Long Point, Tura Head and Leonards Island are all producing bruising kingfish. Hopefully late January will see some bonito and striped tuna close in-shore to mix things up a bit.

Some large trevally are in the lake. Lure anglers are having some fun under the bridge lights after dark with fish to a kilo common. Bait anglers using pilchards and pipis are also catching fish in the upper reaches of Merimbula Lake and Wonboyn Lake has also offered some good action on these hard-fighting fish.

Tiger flathead

The tiger flathead moved in from the deeper waters around the middle of November for their spawning run, which held for about a month and provided some monster fish to over 60cm. Often they were right in on the beaches, where all anglers could have a go at them.

By now they are probably right back out on the shelf or nearby. An early season yellowfin was taken by Rathlin II out wide (almost New Zealand, as it was about 30km offshore). A few reds are also about on the reefs too, and with 17° to 19° water temperatures, things can only get better. This is the time of year for baitfish to become very nervous!

Trolling lures along rocky shorelines adjacent to deep water seems to be productive at the moment, too, with numerous trevally falling to this method early in the mornings.

Salmon and tailor are plentiful at the moment and the Pambula River mouth out to Shelley Beach is the prime location for boat anglers. One of the local surf boat crews has been towing lures around whilst training in this area and the fishing has been fast and furious. I don’t know if it is encouraging them to try harder or not, but the consensus is that the tailor taste delicious.

Last cast

Good-bye, so long, farewell! After many years with NSW Fishing Monthly I sadly pass the spell check over my hurried monthly report for the last time. Work commitments mean I can no longer do justice to this regional report and it is time to make a clean break.

I thank everyone for reading my articles and hope to see you out fishing one day on my much-loved local waters. Your support has been terrific and I wish you all the best.


Slide # 1:

The author with another stud salmon from Haycock Beach. This one fell to a juicy bait of pilchard cubes.

Slide # 2:

Pinky snapper are plentiful on the reefs and in the estuaries at the moment.

Slide # 3:

January is fighting whiting time and nothing tastes better than beer battered whiting fillets.....trust me on this one!

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