Prime time for surf salmon
  |  First Published: May 2009

Cool mornings with south-westerly winds are the norm at this time of year but some decent angling is still available.

Winter time is prime time to target big salmon from the local beaches and some sambos over recent weeks have pushed 4kg. These bigger fish will be around all Winter, along with the usual run around 2kg.

Expect a few decent tailor, too. Every year we see some big fish and a few hefty models are already being caught in the local estuaries.

Almost any rig will work, but a whole pilchard rigged on ganged hooks with a single dropper has been the preferred method lately.

Casting small chrome lures up to 50g into the washes will also pay dividends.

Light braid on smaller outfits will produce hours of endless fun on these fine sport fish and a decent feed on the plate if prepared the right way.

Better beaches to try include Tura, North Tura and Haycock to the south of Pambula.

Anglers fishing the stones are having a field day on bread-and-butter species like bream, blackfish and drummer, with a few decent reds as well.

Short Point, Tura Head and the stones inside Merimbula Bay are all worth a look.

Conditions to fish the rocks have been good; offshore winds have kept the swell down to a manageable level with safe conditions available but enough wash to make it worthwhile to fish.

Best baits for the snapper have been cuttlefish and whole pilchards rigged on ganged hooks or single dropper rigs.

Cabbage weed, cunjevoi and fresh prawns are great baits for the other species.

Expect a few salmon and tailor if casting chrome lures past the wash zones, with the outside chance of bonito and mackerel tuna if the water is still warm enough.

The estuary water has cooled to around 18°, making some species harder to catch and others hot to trot.

Trevally numbers are on the increase with the channels in Merimbula and Pambula lakes fishing well.

Anglers using smaller soft plastics are having great fun on these fine sport fish, while bait fishos are also having success.

Some of the trevors are around a kilo, with better fish expected as the month goes on. Best baits have been yabbies and prawns with striped tuna snaring a bream or two also.

In the Top Lake at Merimbula, tailor are on the go with some greenbacks close to 3kg. At that size they are great fun on light tackle and not that hard to catch.

Look out for the working birds, cast small chrome lures, wind flat out and hang on.

There are still a few flatties around the shallower margins, but they have been harder to catch lately.


Offshore has been a lottery with some sessions awesome and others ordinary, to say the least.

The local reefs are starting to produce some decent snapper averaging a kilo. A lot of moving around is required to get consistent bags with drifting while berleying effective.

A paternoster rig with a squid/pilchard cocktail has worked, as have soft plastics in the shallower areas.

Among the reds are morwong, pigfish and the dreaded leatherjackets so good at snipping terminal tackle.

Further offshore, yellowfin tuna to 60kg and albacore are patrolling the continental shelf line. These fish are responding well to trolled skirted lures, with cubing also getting results.

The fish are not thick but I think this season will be late. They’re catching plenty of fish north of us and it’s only a matter of time until they head south – hopefully!

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