Estuaries run hot
  |  First Published: April 2005

The estuaries around Merimbula have been fishing well over recent weeks and I can’t see any reason why this will change over the coming month.

The Bega River, just north of Tathra, is on fire. Every person I talk to who has fished there lately is amazed at the number and size of the bream in there at the moment. Catches of up to 40 bream are not uncommon, with quite a few fish over the magic 40cm mark.

Nearly all of the fish are being released, which is great to see since these fellas are slow to grow. Most fish are falling to soft plastics with surface lures getting their fare share close to dark. There are still quite a few estuary perch around, especially in the snags, with good captures of dusky flathead and the odd school jew available down towards Mongareeka Bridge.

Merimbula and Pambula lakes are holding good numbers of bream. I have had good sessions in both lakes with a number of other species around to make it interesting between bream bites.

The Top Lake at Merimbula is full of tailor around a kilo – great fun on light tackle. There are still good jewies being caught as well, with some better than average snapper falling to the jewie baits.

The flatties have tapered off a bit of late but with a little tackle adjustment a feed is still around the corner. I have dropped my trace size down to 10lb for the flatties. You lose the odd fish because of the lighter line but you also double the number of hits. Just check your trace after each fish and you should be right.

The offshore scene has been a little slow at the time of writing but that could change any day. They are getting good marlin up north of us so we just need a push of warm water to have a last crack at these majestic fish this season.

There are still yellowfin tuna up to 60kg around although the numbers are not there. As we get later into April expect a lot more good tuna to turn up with some respectable albacore as well. Good-sized mako sharks are around; the best I have heard of weighed 140kg.

The bottom bouncers are still licking their lips as snapper, flatties, and the ever-reliable morwong are being caught in good numbers. Most reefs are holding fish, it’s just a matter of finding them. Fresh squid and striped tuna have been the best baits.

More and more people are drop-shotting on the reefs. Years ago you would laugh at putting down soft plastic lures for snapper but they work well, especially on school fish up to 2kg. If you have the patience and the desire to learn, then you will be surprised at the results that can be achieved – I know I was!Tura Head has produced quality kingies of late with most fish falling to the spin men. Bonito, salmon and the odd tailor have been keeping the boys busy between kingie strikes. Not too many are landed but when one is hooked the adrenalin goes into overdrive. In the washes good bream and blackfish can be expected on cunjevoi and abalone gut baits.

The beaches are still fishing well with good numbers of salmon and bream coming from North Tura Beach. Fish close to the rocks on the south side and a feed won’t be far away. Live beach worms and fresh pipis are the top baits.

Remember to fish quite light for the bream – big heavy outfits just spook them but a little bit of finesse will see your catch rates soar. A little berley in the shore dump will also enhance your chances.

April is one of my favourite months because all species are available, it’s just a matter of which one you want to target.

'Chippy' Mark with a 6kg jewie caught on a plastic on the South Coast.

Stud bream like this 1.3kg fish displayed by Locko are around in good numbers at present. This fish fell to a larger soft plastic in deep water and was released.

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