Game fish and reefies
  |  First Published: December 2005

The reefs around Merimbula are fishing great guns and should continue so for a few months yet.

Snapper, morwong and kingfish are making the inshore reefs home and anglers have been rewarded with some quality catches.

Kingfish have made a welcome return to the inshore grounds with Haycock Point and Horseshoe Reef holding fish. Most of the kingies, around 3 to 4kg, have been taken by snapper fishos.

If you take some live bait or jigs to either spot, especially Horseshoe (around 50 metres deep), some bigger kings will certainly be there.

Have a look around on the sounder and if you get some likely markings, drop a live bait over. If you don’t get hit straight away, don’t give up; try a little further down the reef.

Horseshoe is quite long and runs from Haycock Point all the way down to Lennards Island. If the kingfish are a little slow, baitfish this section for snapper, morwong, trevally and leatherjackets.

Sand and tiger flathead have been prolific with The Sticks off the Pambula River entrance the best option. Some good-sized gummy sharks are also around – great on the plate and good sport on light line.

The game fishing out wide should be in full swing by now. Albacore, yellowfin tuna, striped marlin and some decent bities will all be available from the shelf to the 1000-fathom line.

With the water around 21° and getting warmer by the day, the pelagic action should only get better. Trolled lures and slowly trolled live bait will account for the majority of fish.


The Bega River, just north of Tathra, has been dynamite for estuary perch. A good mate had a ripper session there a week ago, catching and releasing 35 estuary perch to 42cm. All fish were caught on hard lures and flies. The lads threw stacks of soft plastics at them but didn’t get a hit. It’s interesting how these estuary marvels can be so one-eyed towards a presentation; that’s why they are a top species to target.

Merimbula Lake continues to produce flathead, bream, trevally, whiting and blackfish via the usual methods. Soft plastics have accounted for most of the flatties, with sessions of a dozen fish common. This lake is quite shallow so use smaller lures and jigheads for the frogs. The bream are widespread throughout the system with some big-blue nosed fellas making the oyster racks home. Trevally and blackfish are in the channels with whiting abundant on the sand flats. Live yabbies and squirt worms will fool a whiting or two.

Pambula Lake has been slow. The last session I had there we got a few trevally and flathead but the river was full of a red algae that made lure fishing extremely difficult. I hope this is only a one-off but my heart says it’s here for the summer.

The main beach at Tura is still salmon heaven. These fish have been around for months with some specimens up to 3kg. Surf poppers, chrome lures and bait have all caught fish. The run-up tide early in the morning is the best time. Expect tailor, bream and whiting to hit the sand more this month as the water warms.

Long Point has produced some good rock fishing with drummer, blackfish and bream hitting baits. Berley has been the key; a little more work but definitely worth it. Salmon and small kingfish have been patrolling the front ledges with lures and ganged pilchards the best ways to tempt them.

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