Warmer weather – speedy pelagics
  |  First Published: November 2004

November is traditionally the start of the offshore gamefish season on the NSW South Coast and let’s hope this season brings more joy than the last.

With warmer water starting to push south out wide, albacore and smaller yellowfin tuna can be expected. These little speedsters respond well to trolled skirted lures, with bibbed minnows also getting results.

Start trolling from the 70-fathom line onwards towards the shelf. Once there, manoeuvre your boat so you are trolling either north or south. Do a zig-zag pattern crossing the 100-fathom line every 300 metres or so until you catch a fish. Always watch your sounder for bait schools and once they’re located, concentrate your efforts around them.

Depending on water temperatures, an early season striped marlin is always on the cards, so be alert. There should be some striped tuna around also, which are great fun on light tackle and a gun bait for the reddies on the inshore reefs.

Reef fishing

The reef fishing has been excellent, with quality catches of snapper, mowies, and the odd good john dory turning up. Places like White Rocks Reef, south of Tathra, and Haycock Point, just south of Merimbula, have been producing the goods.

I’ve also heard a few rumours of some quality gummy sharks being caught, great on the plate and a welcome by-catch among snapper fishos. Fresh squid, cuttlefish and striped tuna fillets have been the standout baits to use.

A few kingies should also turn up on these same reefs; always have the jig rod ready as well as a few livies, yakkas and slimy mackerel the preferred option.


The local estuaries such as Merimbula and Pambula lakes have fished extremely well over the past few months, and this will continue throughout November. Pambula Lake has been a standout, with salmon, trevally and the odd decent black bream being caught. Most fish have fallen to soft plastics, but live nippers and squirt worms will also get results.

Salmon have been prolific, ranging from a kilo to 3.5kg, with 3” Berkley Bass Minnows the best lures to use. A few are also being caught on chrome slice lures, but soft plastics have outfished the chrome lures 5:1.

The Bega River, just north of Tathra, has fished consistently for bream and whiting even in the coolish waters. This system will fish a lot better once the mouth reopens and lets some new water back in. The beach at the mouth of the river has been dynamite for whiting for a few months now. Not sure why, but who’s complaining? Live beach worms are the go as far as bait is concerned.

Tura Head has produced some great drummer fishing, along with bream and blackfish. Cunje, ab gut and green cabbage are the pick of the baits. Now the water is getting a little warmer there’s the chance of spinning up some kingies from this deep headland.

Salmon and tailor have been willing to take a bait or lure with gusto both along the headlands and beaches. Most beaches both north and south of Merimbula are worth a go – look for the deeper gutters and holes and you should be in business. The main beach at Tura has been the best with the northern end holding some good gutters.

November’s a great month to wet a line, sunny days are the norm so there should be no excuses for not getting out there and having a go.



This solid 2.6kg trevally was caught in the clear waters of Pambula Lake. It fell for a 3” Berkley Bass Minnow in 3m of water.


That's 2.9kg of quality Pambula Lake salmon. This fish took 10 minutes to subdue on 2kg braid – and the young bloke looks pretty happy as well!

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