Estuary Efforts Pay Off
  |  First Published: June 2010

The local estuaries around the Merimbula region continue to fish well despite the cooling water. Pambula and Merimbula lakes are holding plenty of fish, with anglers using soft plastics and blades faring best.

It is quite common during July for estuarine species to respond better to artificial lures than bait. This is especially true in the channels as the fish don’t have much time to decide if they like the offering or not, and when fished in the faster running water they tend to hit it more due to natural instinct rather than hunger.

In saying that, bait anglers will still do well particularly after dark on a flooding tide. Those that use live bass yabbies or worms should get quality bream and big winter whiting.

Fishing the lower sections of the channel is the go. Up in the basins of both lakes, salmon and tailor have been prolific with Pambula a stand-out. Look for working birds, cast small shiners or plastics and hang on. You’ll have heaps off fun on these under-rated sports fish and the kids love catching them.

July is also a great time to target bream, whiting and blackfish. Yes, blackfish on blades. These tiny bits of metal are dynamite in the cooler water, fish them slow and change your retrieve often. Faster rips work better of blackfish, I know it sounds mad but it does work.

Outside, snapper fishos are having a ball on reds averaging a kilo or so. What they are lacking for in size they are certainly making up for in numbers. A few local switched-on crews are getting bag limits on some sessions, which is great fishing in my books!

The fish are widespread but I’d expect the inshore reefs to figure this month. The cuttlefish run should be in full swing now and every year reefs like Horseshoe, Long and Lennards Island fire. Anglers casting soft plastics will have fun, and bait anglers using fresh squid, cuttlefish and pilchards are faring best.

Expect morwong, trevally and John Dory when targeting the reds, plus the dreaded leatherjacket. Sure they’re good on the plate but expensive on the gear!

Further offshore, southern bluefin tuna should be prominent but, like usual, a lot depends on current, water temperature and bait. If we get half the season we got last year then we’re in for a cracker. Trolling and cubing should get results, and a few boats last season trolled first then got the blues up and cubed to them. One local boat caught 40 odd bluefin like this last season and let them all go – great fun and awesome to see. Let’s cross our fingers they turn up again this season.

The rocks have produced quality drummer fishing of late and this will continue for some months yet. Pigs up to 2.5kg are common; with cunjevoi, red crabs and bread the best baits to tempt one of these brutes.

There are some nice bream and blackfish in the washes that are being tempted with lightly weighted tuna cubes. Using a berley mix here will greatly improve you’re chances.

Schools of salmon are patrolling the outer edges of the wash zones; ganged pilchards or lures should do the trick. The better ledges to try are Tura Head, Long Point and Short Point.

Things have been a little quiet on the beaches with extremely flat seas, however, when we do get some swell expect the salmon action to hot up. Bream will also be on the cards; fish the rocky corners with fresh crabs or live beach worms for best results.

This time last year we had a ripper gummy shark run along North Tura Beach. I haven’t heard of any being caught lately but fishing this coming full moon could pay dividends. Try fishing late afternoon into the night with a rising tide for the best chance of connecting to one. Better beaches to try are North Tura and Tura main.

It will be very cold but your efforts may just be worth it.


The author with daughters Jessica (8yo) and Sophie (5yo) with a beautiful bream from Pambula Lake taken on a blade. The fish was released in super condition.


Tom Fox with two solid bream from the fast water in the channel at Merimbula. Fish like this can be caught all winter.
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