Chill doesn’t stop the thrill
  |  First Published: June 2004

SOUTH-WESTERLY winds chilled even further from the early-season snowfalls are the order of the day around Merimbula in June but that doesn’t mean the fishing has to stop – far from it.

Black bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri) should start moving on their upstream spawning journeys through the estuaries. They like to go as far as there’s salt water and they don’t care how far that is, as long as they get to the right salinity so that their eggs are fertile. In small streams it mightn’t be that far but in the bigger rivers, such as the Bega, Pambula and the Wonboyn systems, the migration could be many kilometres.

While they’re on their upstream pilgrimage they’ll feed as they normally do and they certainly seem to be able to handle the cold. Use your normal array of lures or baits. A live or fresh prawn, a fresh beach worm or even an earthworm will get slammed unceremoniously.

On the coast we can expect good schools of trevally in the estuaries and lake channels, especially around the weed edges. You can try the lures but the best bait is going to be a fresh, live nipper, with a chemically sharpened long-shanked hook around No 3 on a fair length of trace with just enough sinker to slow down your drift.

The flathead have pretty well slowed down and even if you do catch one, they fight pretty sluggishly as they get really dormant as the water chills off.

Offshore in June you can rely on good schools of snapper and they’re already going ballistic, with the local action on the reds already as good as it has been for many a year. Most of these fish are around 2kg so there’s some great eating and top sport available.

The most productive reefs for the reddies are around the Lennards Island area between Merimbula and Eden, Haycock Reef, Hunter Reef and Tura Head. Depths between 20 and 30 metres are about where the action is.

When drifting you can try the vast array of soft plastic lures between 3” and 6” with a 1/2oz, jighead about right. Or you can try anchoring and berleying with pilchards and drift unweighted pilchards slowly down the berley trail.

You’ll also get plenty of leatherjackets, morwong, trevally and other stuff when you do this. Put the plastics away when the leatherjackets come out or you’ll go through a pack so quickly you’ll wonder where they’ve gone.

It’s worth going down to the Merimbula wharf to try for a fresh squid, as they’re quite reasonable early in the morning at this time of year. Take a large metal lure as well, because there have been some good-sized tailor and rat kings working around there at times.

The beaches should still have plenty of salmon on bait and lures, with North Tura or Bournda beaches the best bet for good numbers of fish.

Plenty of drummer and the odd blue groper should be on the cards off the rocks, with a fresh crab floated out under a polystyrene the way to tempt the big blue brawlers.

Black bream will be heading well upstream on their spawning run this month but they’ll still be keen to grab a lure or a bait.

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