Estuaries come alive
  |  First Published: February 2005

Estuaries in the Merimbula area have been fishing extremely well for the past few months and l can see no reason why this will change this month.

Bega River, just north of Tathra, was reopened a month or so ago and it has paid big dividends for fishos. The river has come alive with good captures of bream around Thompsons on lures and bait. There have been a few school jew caught in the same area, mainly by the guys fishing for bream.

The upper reaches will produce estuary perch for those in the know, while a lot of quality flatties are coming from the sand flats near the Mongareeka bridge.

Most of the flatties are falling to smaller soft plastics. Keep a good range of softies in the box and you should be in business.

In Merimbula and Pambula lakes the fishing is awesome. I have had some great sessions on the bream in both lakes with a good by-catch of trevally and flathead. All fish have fallen to softies but I did see a guy get four nice bream on squirt worms on the top of the tide in Pambula Lake.

There’s quite a few salmon still in this system with some fish up to 4kg – great fun on the light stuff and the kids just love catching them.

Offshore in February is pretty exciting, especially if trolling lures. With the water anywhere between 22° and 26° a wide range of game fish can be expected.


It has been a great start to our offshore game season with a number of big yellowfin tuna being caught. Most fish have been around 40kg but the odd jumbo has been hooked. The best I have heard about is 80kg, a great fish.

Striped marlin should be around in good numbers. There are large schools of slimy mackerel out wide so the beakies won’t be far behind. Every year there are incidental catches of wahoo, mahi mahi, short-billed spearfish, and the list goes on. If the water is good enough it can be a real lottery.

The bottom-bashers will have a good month with quality snapper, mowies, pigfish, and flatties making up the bulk of the catch. For those fishing the deeper reefs or canyons, Tassie trumpeter, hapuku and blue-eye trevalla can be expected.

A lot of work has to be put in to regularly catching these fish but at dinner time you realise the effort was worth it!

In close around the rocks there should be good captures of kingfish. I like trolling Halco Laser Pros or Rapala CD18s in mackerel patterns. Always have a jig rod ready, too: If they come to the surface and are a bit boat-shy, cast the jigs at them and wind flat out. I have had great success catching them that way and the surface strikes are awesome.

Areas like Tura head and Horseshoe Reef fish well but almost any deeper headland will hold fish if the bait is there.

The beaches will continue to fish well for salmon, tailor, bream and whiting.

The whiting will be a lot more active this month; the main beach at Tathra is a good place to start. Look for the slightly deeper water in close to the shore break. This can sometimes be only 10 to 15 metres out, so you don’t always need to cast a long way.

Pipis and live beach worms will be the most productive bait.

The Merimbula wharf is a great land-based platform that always produces some quality fish in Summer. Salmon, tailor, bonito and the odd kingfish are all on the cards for people fishing the upper sections of the water column. Lures, live bait and whole ganged pilchards will do the trick

For those fishing the bottom, snapper, trevally, flathead and a host of cod species will be willing to take a bait. If fishing with the kids here please be careful, as it is quite a drop to the ocean below.

It’s the last month of summer and before we know it, it will be cold and wet again so there should be no excuses for getting out there and wetting a line – I know l will be.

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