MERIMBULA in July is many things, but the main one is – cold.
Fresh south-west winds whip up from way down the coast, bringing a chill, and the winds roll down Brown Mountain off the Snowies, which invariably give these mornings a very frosty feel.
These are the days that never seem to end. Along with this, the water temperature drops to a dramatically cold 14° prompting beanies and jackets to come out from their summer hibernation.
Having said that, there are some fabulous bonuses to fishing at this time of the year, two of which are lack of crowds and empty boat ramps. This is definitely the quietest time of the year, so make the most of it.
While working the odd day in Blue Water Sports, I regularly get asked “Where’s the best spot to take the kids fishing?”
So here are some of my picks to give parents a few hours spent in the glorious art of ‘fishing with kids’. Remember, no one under 18 years old needs a fishing licence, nor does anyone supervising kids fishing. But the minute you pick up a rod and start fishing yourself, you’ll need a licence.
Merimbula Wharf, (with adult supervision) is probably the best spot for the family with hundreds of baitfish such as yellowtail and slimy mackerel swimming around. These fish generally will give the little ones something to catch or to at least nibble on the bait.
The waters around the wharf are normally crystal-clear, which is great for children (and adults) because they can see the fish and the giant stingrays that hang around the wharf.
Once you have caught one of these baitfish you can use it to try some live-bait fishing for a salmon or tailor and, if you are really lucky, you may even get a kingfish.
For the slightly more advanced angler, Merimbula Wharf has a dedicated luderick group who can be seen day-in, day-out catching these great little fish with their pencil floats and weed gathered from the local rock pools.
If all this fails, you can head to the aquarium which is right at the wharf and is well and truly worth a look for the entire family. The Super Tank which has some amazing fish swimming around.
In the estuary there are two boat-hire spots. One is right in front of the Lakeview Hotel and the other is Top Lake boat hire in the upper reaches. Both are perfectly situated to having you catching fish within minutes of departure.
For those who’d prefer to stay on dry land, try right next to Merimbula bridge. The area is right below the NSW Fisheries office so be on your best behaviour. Great bream, trevally, and flathead get landed here.
For the big boys and girls, the ocean has been firing and hopefully will continue to do so with great catches of snapper from all the local reefs from Tura Head to North Head at Eden. The majority of fish have been around 1kg to 2kg, which I know is not huge, but who’s complaining? Something is better than nothing, right?
Large salmon schools have been cruising the beaches, especially around Bournda Island. There are some great gutters there, which at the right time and tide are holding some rather amazingly big fish.Reads: 737