Estuaries alive
  |  First Published: November 2005

The estuaries around Merimbula have been fishing exceptionally well for weeks now and with warmer water coming down the coast, I expect the fishing to improve even further.

November is prime time for big flathead down this way with fish over 5kg caught every year. Most fish will fall to large soft plastics but bait anglers will also encounter a large dusky or two.

Shallow banks on high tides like those around Mangrove Island in Pambula Lake are very productive. Fish areas like this with light jigheads and reasonably large soft plastic lures.

The afternoon high tide is quite often better because the shallows warm up from the day’s sun.

My favourite place to target flatties is at creek mouths, which should be fished on the bottom half of the ebb tide. Small mullet and whiting have to leave the shallow flats of the creeks and usually there is only one place to go.

A good place to start is Boggy Creek in the top section of Merimbula Lake. Almost every system has creeks flowing into it, so it pays to have a look around your local waterway and see what’s around.

Slowly twitched soft plastics and mullet imitations in hard-bodied lures will produce.

The Bega River, just north of Tathra, has been fishing well. Bream, flathead, school jew and whiting have been around, particularly in the area from the road bridge to the entrance.

A few bass will start to move up the back of this system and warm, stormy afternoons are the best time to fish. If an insect hatch is happening at the same time, expect some great action on fly and surface plugs. This is a small system so be sensible with what you keep.


Offshore has been fishing well in patches – good one day then average the next. Snapper, morwong and flatties are making up the majority of the catch but November usually sees a few pelagics turning up.

Kingfish, bonito and striped tuna are a real possibility on the inshore grounds, with trolling lures the best way to bend a rod. Out wide we should see yellowfin tuna, albacore and the outside chance of an early season striped marlin if last year is anything to go by.

We had a ripper start to the 2004/05 game season and let’s hope this year brings the same.

Trolled lures are the go early in the season; you cover a lot of ground and when you find fish, some quality fishing can be had. The continental shelf and beyond will be where the fish are.


Bream, whiting and mullet will keep the beach fishos happy, with beachworms and pipis the best baits. Most beaches will hold fish but Tura and North Tura should be the pick.

Look for a small, deep gutter running close to shore for best results. A little bread berley in the shore dump will greatly improve your chances.

Salmon will still be around but their numbers will decline as the water warms. Expect a few more tailor to turn up and if you’re fishing at night there’s always a chance for a mulloway. Fresh pilchards and mullet fillets are the gun baits.

Rockhoppers who love throwing lures will be licking their chops this month. Small kingies, bonito, salmon and tailor are all a chance if the water is right and the currents come close enough to shore, especially for the kingies.

Tura Head is this region’s land-based hotspot and every year some good fish are hooked from this platform.

A few drummer, bream and blackfish will still make the washes home, so if the surface action is a little slow there’s always another option. Bread, cabbage and ab gut should work well for bait.

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