Bag Out on the Beach
  |  First Published: February 2009

The local beaches around the Merimbula region are firing with all beach species available and in good numbers. Bream, whiting, salmon, tailor, mullet, mulloway, gummy and school sharks have all played the game with most anglers having loads of fun and getting some quality fillets for the pan in the process!

With the warmer water the whiting action is full on. Fish to 40cm have been caught with bag limits reached inside a few hours for those anglers in the know. Live beachworms and fresh pipi have been the dynamite baits, with a little berley also helping things along.

Some decent yellowfin bream are mixed in with the whiting with fish to 1.2kg succumbing to the softer baits. Beaches that have fished well are the northern end of North Tura Beach, near Bourndal Island, especially on flooding tides near sunset. You can get some protection here from the usual afternoon nor easters, fishing close in to the beach break is all that’s required for some great bags.

Others locations to try are Tura Beach (northern end) with Haycock Beach just south of the Pambula River mouth also producing good fishing.

In the estuaries, Merimbula Lake has been a standout with a smorgasbord of species available. Flathead have been prolific with some sizeable models being captured. A few days ago we got an absolute croc that went 92cm and 6kg – a true trophy fish that was released in superb condition.

The top lake has loads of duskies in the 45-55cm bracket. Fish soft plastics or strip baits and you’re almost guaranteed a feed of flattie fillets. Concentrate your efforts casting towards the banks that have ribbon weed nearby. The flatties love getting up in the shallows and the weed gives them more camouflage when feeding. Fishing the outgoing tide where the water drains from the ribbon weed is the place to start.

The oyster racks are holding some bruiser yellowfin bream but they can be hard to entice. Smaller soft plastics like flickbaits, Juro firebaits and 2” grubs will catch fish, but expect to put the hard yards in. Using suspending hardbodies and surface lures should provoke strikes also but accurate casts will be needed. Have a variety in the tackle box, as what works one day doesn’t always work the next.

If you’re bait fishing, fresh peeled prawns, nippers and tuna cubes will work. The sand flats are full of sand whiting as well. Try wading the shallows to the left of the main jetty with live Bass yabbies or worms; you should be able to pick up a few there.

Offshore the action will be in full swing for gamespecies like striped and black marlin, yellowfin tuna, various shark species and kingfish on the inshore reefs. The water will be anywhere from 21-24ºC, with mahi mahi, wahoo and possibly short-billed spearfish on the cards if the temperature gets over that magical 24ºC.

Depending on where the warm water starts will determine where to fish. Generally the 40 fathom line off Merimbula is a good starting point. Trolling a variety of skirted lures, bibless minnows and live baits should work.

Last season the 70 fathom line had heaps of slimy mackerel down deep and a lot of marlin were caught there trolling these guys on a downrigger. Let’s hope this season is a little better than the last, fingers crossed.

Inshore, flathead, snapper, morwong and long finned perch will patrol most reefs. The better ones to try are Horseshoe, Long, Turingal and White Rocks reef to the north of Merimbula. Fresh squid, striped tuna, pilchards and bigger soft plastics should produce a fish or two. Expect a few kingfish, especially off Long Reef.

Anglers fishing the stones are in for a treat as the pelagic action is in full song! Kingfish, big salmon, bonito and striped tuna have been caught from Tura Head. It’s a decent walk in but certainly worth it.

Both lures and bait have produced but personally I’d be sticking to the chromies. Casting these bits of metal to the horizon isn’t for everyone but when it all comes together it doesn’t get much better than that.


You know it’s big when it takes two kids to lift. At 92cm and 6.4kg it's one hell of a flattie.

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