Warm weather, warm water – heaps of fish!
  |  First Published: December 2004

The waters inshore and offshore around Merimbula have been fishing extremely well for the past few months and should continue that way.

Merimbula Lake has been producing some thumping big flatties. Most fish have fallen to soft plastics but live poddies are snaring their fair share, too. The Top Lake is the go, with a lot of fish caught on the weed/sand edges in relatively shallow water.

Some quality bream have been caught around the main bridge pylons on soft plastics and fresh striped tuna flesh.

With the water around 21°C, sand whiting will be willing to take a live nipper or squirt worm. Fish the shallow flats from the Fisheries office to the Top Lake boat hire along the boardwalk.

In Pambula Lake you can expect flatties, bream, trevally, salmon and tailor, all of which can be caught on soft plastics in the right conditions. Fresh peeled prawns have also accounted for a lot of bream and trevally.

If the tide is going out, fish the first kilometre from the river mouth for best results. It does get quite shallow but don’t let this fool you, the fish are still there. On the incoming tide you will get good results fishing the entire river from the mouth right up into the back lake.


The offshore scene fires up in December with warmer currents pushing their way south. Yellowfin tuna up to 40kg, albacore and various bait such as striped tuna, slimy mackerel and sauries should be working.

Once the bait is here and the water is around 20-21°C, it’s not long before the billfish show up. It’s not uncommon to get three or four shots at striped marlin once the bait is here, especially if trolling lures. I have already heard of some quality yellowfin being taken at the shelf and beyond on trolled lures. Albacore have been the best for years, particularly up at Tathra Canyons and wide of Merimbula.

The close reefs have been producing snapper to 4kg. Fresh tuna is working well, while squid and fresh slimy mackerel fillets will also do the trick. All the reefs are holding fish, with Horseshoe the pick of the bunch. I know of some good fish coming from in close to Lennards Island so it may be worth a go there also.

The rocks and beaches will still hold good numbers of salmon and tailor. There may be the chance of a gummy shark also for those in the know. Pilchards, bluebait and small chrome lures will work well. If chasing some beach bream, you can’t go past live beach worms.

Mullet and whiting should also be available in deeper gutters or holes. The main beach at Tura has been fishing great guns for some weeks for all the above species.


1.Bream like this 1.48kg fish taken by Andy McGovern are available in the many estuaries around Merimbula. The hard yards have to be put in but the rewards are there.

2.The author with a solid 1.46kg black bream taken from the Bega River. Fish of this size are always released and it’s a great feeling.

3.Alan from Tura Beach with a nice salmon taken from Pambula Lake on a soft plastic stickbait.

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