Good and getting better
  |  First Published: August 2009

With spring comes the promise of longer days, warmer water and heaps more fish.

In saying that, the past month’s fishing hasn’t been too bad and things will only get better as we head into September.

Offshore boaties fishing the bottom are smiling from ear to ear as the snapper continue to impress.

Reds to 3kg are the norm on almost all reefs with the average fish around a kilo. Catches of a dozen fish are common and some switched-on crews are getting bag limits (10 apiece) in a morning outing.

A few mates and I had a dynamite session with Steve Tedesco recently that yielded 41 snapper to 2kg plus a mixture of mowies, flathead, nannygai, and coral cod –not bad fishing in five hours in water less than 13°!

I expect red numbers to slow a little from now on but the upside is the size should gradually increase. The fish we encountered were found on the outer edges of reef, mainly on gravel bottom, and it was paramount this is where you fished.

If you missed the edge you missed the reds. Good quality sounders come into their own when fishing like this. If it wasn’t for the clear picture the sounder produced we wouldn’t have caught half the fish we did.

Better reefs to try are Horseshoe, Long, Whitecliffs and Lennards Island, with any fresh bait producing results.

Out wider, the southern bluefin have moved on and I think this month will be quiet offshore.

There are certainly fish there but a long way out for any trailer boat to venture. Wait until next month when we should see an inshore run of albacore and yellowfin tuna, if previous seasons are anything to go by.

There have been a few mako sharks patrolling the continental shelf so if a bitey is your preferred species, it may be worth a look.


The local estuaries have been tough by their standards but that should all change this month.

Flathead numbers will slowly increase as the water warms, with Pambula and Merimbula lakes worth fishing.

I’d still be concentrating on the shallower edges with slight drop-offs into deeper water for best results, with smaller shad-style plastics the lures of choice.

Both lakes have countless areas like this and it’s impossible to fish it all in a day.

Along with the flatties one can expect silver trevally, bream and the odd legal-sized (30cm) pinkie snapper.

Bait fishos have had it worse than the plastic junkies but that will change. Bream and bigger whiting will start to again feed on the flats with anglers using squirt worms faring best.

Lightly-weighted baits on ultra-light line are necessary to fool these spooky critters but persistence will pay off.

Blackfish continue to keep the rock fishos happy, with a few drummer still around to show who’s boss.

Some of the pigs have nudged 4kg, big fish for the stones, with a lot more lost. At that size they are strong, powerful fish that need luck and good angling to land.

Cabbage weed has worked well, as have cut crabs and cunjevoi.

Better spots to try have been Short Point, Tura Head and Long Point.


Big schools of salmon have been seen in Merimbula Bay and when they come close enough to shore the guys spinning from the stones have been having a ball.

Chrome lures up to 40g are ideal but it does pay to have a selection because some days the fish are fussy and hard to catch. I know that sounds mad but smaller 10g to 15g chromies will outfish bigger models at times so be prepared.

Anglers fishing the beaches continue to do well on salmon, which are in plague proportions at times.

All beaches with a decent gutter are holding fish, with North Tura a stand-out.

Bait and lure fishos will do well with early morning flood tides providing the best conditions to target them.

This month should see a few more bream being caught as they get ready to enter the estuaries after doing their spawning thing.

The southern end of Merimbula Main Beach towards the Pambula River mouth always has bream; it’s certainly worth a look.

Lightly-weighted beach worms or pipis should do the trick.

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