Perfect weather, big tuna
  |  First Published: July 2009

Merimbula has had a couple of weeks of picture-perfect weather with slight seas, above-normal temperatures and, best of all, no wind, making fishing out wide for some jumbo southern bluefin tuna possible.

We have experienced tuna fishing at its best, with fish over 100kg almost the norm.

Bruce Libbis from Rathlin 2 game charters told me this action could last well into August, with even bigger fish possible.

Bruce had a trip the other day, which yielded five bluefin from 65kg to a mammoth 110kg.

These are big fish but bigger models have been captured. The best I’ve heard of is 127kg, with a few bigger ones lost – truly amazing fishing.

The fish are wide: Anywhere from 50km to 70km offshore and trolling large pusher-style lures is the go.

It’s interesting to note that we have not seen any school bluefin (30kg fish) along the coast – not sure why but who’s complaining when jumbos are chewing.

A little closer to the continental shelf, albacore and yellowfin tuna have been captured. Most are falling to cubes fished down a berley trail.

Some of the albies are nudging 25kg with yellowfin to 95kg. These fish will probably slow down as the month passes but who knows when you’re dealing with Mother Nature?

Anglers fishing the close reefs continue to do well on snapper. These fine table fish are being caught on most reefs, with Long and Short Point, Turringal and White Cliffs the best.

This action will get even better as we head further into the month with reds to 7kg possible.

We don’t usually get a lot of big snapper here but with the cuttlefish run in full swing, anything’s possible.

With the snapper, other species like john dory, morwong and, in deeper water, Tassie trumpeter, should make up the rest of the bag.


The beaches will continue to fish well, especially for salmon. Most beaches will hold fish; look for the deeper gutters which have been prevalent on most beaches.

North Tura has been fishing well for the sambos in the good gutter close to the rocks on the southern end. Spasmodic catches of tailor and bream will come from this same section of beach, so take a lighter outfit for the bream.

Some fishos when chasing beach bream make the mistake of fishing too heavy. If you use a lighter rod around 9’ long and 6lb to 8lb line and fresh bait, your catch rates will soar. Pipis and beachworms are the preferred options for bait.

Quite often the bream will be feeding just beyond the shore break, so a short cast is all that’s required.

On the rocks, the usual cold-water suspects like blackfish, drummer and groper will keep anglers happy. They a great feed and their fighting capabilities are up there with the best of them.

Lightly weighted baits like crab pieces, cunjevoi and cabbage weed cast into the washes will see some great action.

Most ledges will hold fish but the better ones are the southern side of Tura Head, Short Point and the rocks inside Merimbula Bay at the northern end.

A few salmon and tailor can also be caught on the outer wash zones on ganged pilchards and chrome spinners.


August is probably the slowest month for our estuaries. The water is quite cold, crystal-clear and uninviting to most but there are still some great options available.

Trevally and bream are in good numbers in the channels, especially in Merimbula Lake.

We have had some cracking days in there, mainly using soft stickbaits in the faster water. Some of the trevors are nudging 2kg and great fun on the light stuff.

Salmon are not always there but on the flood tide there seem to be more, especially from the entrance to the bridge.

Up in the Top Lake, tailor have been abundant with the odd flathead around the shallower margins. Smaller plastics and live poddy mullet have worked best but there are lots of casts between fish.

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