Salmon galore
  |  First Published: October 2005

The beaches around Merimbula have been producing some better than average salmon of late with the northern end of Tura Beach being the pick.

Catches of 15 to 20 salmon have been the norm with all types of methods working. Pilchards and whitebait fished on a paternoster rig has been a killer with lures such as Lasers, Halco Twistys and Shiners catching fish as well.

A few smaller tailor and bream have been a welcome by-catch; expect both of these species in numbers over the coming months.

Tura Head has had its fare share of salmon too. This relatively deep headland is the region’s rock hotspot and produces all kinds of fish. The salmon have been on the edge of the wash zone, with lightly-weighted ganged pilchards getting the best results.

Some good drummer are still around the washes and this month some bigger fish should be hooked. Most drummer are falling to cunjevoi and abalone gut, if you can get it. Some solid bream are making the washes home also, with weighted tuna strips the best method to try.

Offshore, the snapper have slowed up somewhat but some good fish are still around if you put in the hard yards. Morwong, pigfish, sand and tiger flathead will all be available this month on the reefs south of Merimbula. Horseshoe, The Sticks and Lennards Island are all worth a look.

I have heard of some quality gummy sharks being caught out the front of Lennards by guys fishing for snapper – the gummies are great eating and a welcome by-catch if that’s what you want to call them. They’re great on the plate.

Out wide at this time of year is anyone’s guess. If the right water temperature, current and bait are present, small yellowfin tuna and albacore are certainly on the cards. Last season we had a great run of early-season game fish but if it happens again this year I would expect it later in the month or in November.

If the tuna are around, keep the wire handy as a few mako sharks will be lurking around the tuna schools.

Merimbula and Pambula lakes are fishing consistently without being red-hot. Merimbula would be the pick with bream, trevally and some nice flatties being caught in the channels and the top lake.

Tailor to 2kg are on the chew early in the mornings. These fish have been here all winter so this month and next expect some mulloway to be hanging around.

Using live tailor for the jewies makes sense but remember the tailor still have to be 30cm, even for bait.

I like throwing large soft plastics for the jew. You lose a few tails to the tailor but you also get to cover a lot of ground and fish an area pretty quickly.

Generally I will have only a dozen or so casts at a tailor school. If I get no bumps I will head to the next school and do the same. If the jewies are there feeding you will get one, but don’t waste time flogging dead water – all you will get is a lot of half-plastics coming back.

The Bega River is still fishing well for bream, flathead and estuary perch. It’s time to start chasing perch back upstream; their time in the salt has now expired.

Look for those snags, trees, deeper holes and rock walls for the perch. If you have caught them before in a spot, almost every time you will catch them there again.

Perch are a slow-growing fish so let them go – they are a great estuary species that I love chasing and too good a sportfish to kill.

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