Snapping up the options
  |  First Published: June 2008

Winter’s here and so are those cool early morning westerly winds, but don’t let this deter you as there is some exceptional fishing is still on offer.

June means snapper are around this neck of the woods, and if early catch rates are anything to go by we’re in for a cracker few months. Snapper numbers are on the increase with some switched on crews getting double-digit numbers inside a few hours. The fish are not huge by Victorian standards, but a few of the reds are nudging 6kg – good fish for this area and very tasty on the plate.

Most reefs are holding fish, but with the cuttlefish run in full swing, some of the reefs closest to shore are fishing best. Turingal reef to the north has fished well, while Horseshoe reef and Lennard’s Island to the south would be best. Anglers who are drifting have done well, but if the wind and current are against you, getting to the bottom can be difficult. If this happens, anchoring upon the edge of the reef and drifting you’re baits over the gravel/sand patches can pay huge dividends. Using a little berley will help, but use it sparsely and don’t over do it. Better baits to try are cuttlefish strips, squid, striped tuna cubes and pilchards.

Sport fishers throwing soft plastics will also do well, but with the amount of leatherjackets around at present the attrition rate of lures may deter most anglers.

Gummy sharks are also on the cards, with morwong, trevally and the occasional John dory making up the rest of the bag.

A little further offshore the tuna run has been exceptional without being red-hot. There’s been yellowfin tuna to 60kg caught and a few bigger fish lost but that could all change this month. June is renowned for big fish along the south coast and they can turn up anytime. Most fish will be wide of the 70-fathom line with anglers trolling skirted lures doing well. Berley, cubes and using livebait is my preferred method at this time of year.

Things you should be looking out for are birds, temperature breaks, current lines and bait. If you have enough patience and get a few pieces of the puzzle together you could be in for some serious fun. The minimum tackle recommended is 15kg, but I prefer 24kg. You never know when jumbo tuna will turn up and being under-gunned when it happens isn’t a good feeling, especially with the yellowfin, albacore to 20kg and some big makos can to be expected.

In the estuaries the water has cooled off to around 16C making some species harder to catch and others hot-to-trot. Trevally numbers are on the increase with the channels in both Merimbula and Pambula lakes fishing well. Anglers using smaller soft plastics are having great fun on these fine sportsfish, as well as bait fishos producing equal success. Better baits have been bass yabbies and prawns, with striped tuna also snaring a bream or two.

In the top lake at Merimbula, tailors are on the go with some choppers close to 3kg. At that size they are great fun on light tackle and not hard to catch. Look out for working birds, cast small chrome lures to them, wind flat out and hang on. There are still a few flatties around the shallower margins, but they have been harder to catch of late.

Anglers spinning the rocks have had success with salmon and bonito in good numbers. Any sliced chrome lure from 30-50g will produce results, with the headland at Tura the pick of spots. This ledge is quite deep and with so many snapper around, a ganged pillie thrown in the wash could surprise you.

Some nice drummer and luderick have been caught at Short Point too, with fresh cabbage and cunjevoi the gun baits and a little berley will increase your catch rate. Fishing the low tide early in the morning is best. Expect this action to only get better as we head further into the colder months.

On the beaches the westerly winds have kept the swell down a bit, but salmon, tailor and gummy sharks are still on offer. Beach anglers fishing late afternoons and into the dark have done best, with fresh bait like squid, pilchards and live beach worms accounting for the majority of fish. The better beaches are Haycock, Tura Main and North Tura. Using either a paternoster or running sinker rig on lighter tackle will produce good results.

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