Fine fare on local beaches
  |  First Published: February 2008

The beaches around Merimbula area have been on fire lately with anglers targeting bream and whiting doing particularly well, with some of the whiting topping 42cm.

At that size they are great opponents of light beach outfits and a great feed later. Bream numbers are also on the increase with switched-on fishos getting bag limits in a few hours.

Fishing the correct tides is paramount for consistent results with late afternoon rising tides best. Coincide this with the freshest of baits like beach worms, pipis or fresh tuna cubes and watch your catch rates soar.

The rocky corners on most beaches have produced, with favourite haunts being Tura, North Tura, Merimbula Main and the entrance to the Pambula River.

Salmon and tailor will also be available though their numbers have been down a little.

Anglers targeting gummy sharks and mulloway should also do well. Use big fresh baits like tailor fillets, squid and bunches of live beach worms after dark in deeper gutters for your best chances.

Out wider, the water is a warm 24° and that means marlin. There have already been a handful of fish hooked and tagged and it will only get better. Blue, black and striped marlin will all be caught with the chance of a monster blue a real possibility.

I know last season of a few big blues that were hooked but, being the brutes they are, they won their freedom after torrid battles.

Yellowfin tuna numbers have been good though the fish are quite small with most averaging 15kg with the odd fish up to 40kg. Expect the bigger models to turn up in April, though every Summer a horse is caught so be ready for the unexpected.

Trolling skirted lures is the go at this time of year. You cover a lot of ground and become aware of temperature breaks, tide lines, bait holding down deep and bird activity. Most action will happen from the 40-fathom line onwards but if the conditions are right and bait is present, the close grounds south of Pambula are worth a look.


Those fishing the estuaries are having a field day. Merimbula Lake continues to amaze me; the place is the size of a big puddle but always produces. Flathead to 95cm, bream, whiting, legal snapper, tailor and blackfish are all being caught with most methods working.

Fresh bait like nippers, worms and tuna has worked a treat for the bream with anglers anchoring up in the bottom lake channel having good success. The soft-plastic brigade has also had great results with plastics up to 80mm doing most of the damage.

The Top Lake is the place to fish with plastics. Concentrate on shallower edges on a run-out tide.

A few mulloway have also been hooked and while guiding there a few weeks back we had a fish estimated at 20kg smash a hooked tailor on the surface. Our jaws hit the deck as the jewie ripped the tailor of the hook, leaving us looking helplessly in disbelief.

Those fishing the stones for the pelagic species have also had some fun. Using whole ganged pilchards cast out and slowly wound, they have caught kingfish, bonito and some above-average salmon to 2.5kg. Chromed slices up to 40g have also paid dividends.

The better places to fish are Merimbula wharf, Short and Long points and Tura Head, which is the pick of them all but it’s a decent walk from Headland Drive to the rock platform below.

For anglers targeting bread-and-butter species like blackfish and drummer, Short Point is certainly the place to fish. Expect a few bream as well if you use berley.

Expect this action to continue for a few months with the tuna species possible if the currents do the right thing.

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