Follow those prawns!
  |  First Published: November 2003

MERIMBULA Lake should be warming up nicely this month and the first real prawn runs of the season should be occurring on the dark of the moon.

The best spot would be around the highway bridge area and you’ll see quite a few prawners working this area at night. Dip nets and lights are the go and some nights you might get a few kilos, while at other times you might have to be satisfied with just a feed.

In among the running prawns there are always a few good whiting, so it pays to keep a few prawns alive and then send them back out for one. Use a long-shank, chemically sharpened hook from No 2 to No 4 with a running sinker. The flats just down from the bridge and along Fishpen Road are good for whiting and the flat right beside the boat ramp just upstream of the bridge is also worth exploring. Blackfish, trevally, bream, flathead and squire or cockney bream are also on the cards on live prawns. And always keep your eyes peeled for blue swimmer crabs hanging onto the clumps of weed drifting down the river as well.

Salmon in the beach gutters should be no problem. The most productive beaches should include North Tura, Middle Beach and Haycock Beach. A pilchard on a paternoster rig or metal lures should get you into the action. Off the rocks, the usual drummer, sweep and the other regulars will keep you entertained.

Offshore bottom-bouncers should do well on flathead off any of the beaches, with the most reliable drift usually from Tura Head to Bournda Island in about 10 to 25 metres. On the reefs you’ll find snapper, morwong and sweep with the Hunter Reef in the bay at Merimbula, over towards Haycock, a regular producer. The pinnacle there jumps up to around 10 metres and you can drift around it or anchor and berley on it. If you don’t quite know where to go, drift until you see some good bottom structure. on the sounder and then consider anchoring and berleying there. Long Point reef is also a regular producer.

Up in the Top Lake there should be plenty of nice tailor which have been running to around 1.5kg – great fun on light tackle. You can troll small diving minnows or, if you see the fish busting up on the surface try casting small metal lures at them.

You should also be aware that there are some nice big jewfish shadowing the tailor schools so it could be worth putting a soft plastic into the school in the hope of catching one before the tailor shred it. Larger metal lures will stop the choppers from destroying your afternoon and they have proven successful on lake jewies for me at times lately.

For a feed of flatties the Top Lake should see you right, although you could always try Pambula Lake as well. Soft plastics or any bait will work and all the sandy drop-offs should provide some action. In between the Top Lake and the boat ramp there should also be some nice trevally and blackfish.

Up at Brogo Dam, the bass should be well and truly on the bite but the majority of the larger fish went over the spillway when the spawning urge took over a few months ago. These fish should be in the Brogo and Bega rivers. Up in the dam, and in the river, hot days and termite hatches should bring on the bass action on surface lures. While there are some big bass in the river taking surface lures, deep-divers and plastics, it’s not boat material because of the number of snags, so it means a walk along the bank.

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