Follow the birds to find the fish

Keep watch for bird activity to identify swarms of bait fish (slimy mackerel) draped along our shores. With the possibility of Australian salmon and kingfish near the surface and flathead, morwong and snapper down below, these bait swarms can provide exciting pelagic and bottom bouncer angling.

Snapper are back on the chew at our local reefs and when weather permits good catches have been reported from all down the coast from Goalen Head, past Tathra, White Rock, Long Point, Haycock and south to Lennards and Boyds Tower. Some lovely gummy shark have also been landed off Kianinny. Morwong have remained on the bite and respond to bait, micro jigs and soft plastics.

Recent scientific studies, passed on to us by the DPI, confirm that there are two genetically different snapper stocks off the Australian east coast, where it was previously believed all snapper were part of a single stock. The two stocks meet and mix around Eden. Local snapper are reasonably plentiful but they tend to be smaller than those in Victoria or to the north that are of similar age. This means that our local snapper are older weight-for-age and just like long-lived orange roughy, likely to be the best table fish.

Kingfish are reported at Mowarry and continue to prowl the Tathra and Merimbula wharfs. At Merimbula calamari squid are available just after dark. With prawns running last week, try a look-alike jig. Luderick are back on the bite and double hook-ups possible on artificial weed lures, best time dawn and just on dark.

Sand flathead are back on the chew, remarkably so, as they are stuffed with small bait fish. All portends well for a great summer season. Some good size sand flathead are reported from north of Tathra near Cowdroys. Others are off Bournda Island and Tura Headland.

With the next prawn run close to Christmas we are encouraged by reports of good size prawns from early catches in the Merimbula Lake between the Bridge and Fishpen. In the estuaries tailor remain active early morning and evening. School kingfish have been noted in the Merimbula Lake chasing good size garfish.

Dusky flathead remain active at Mogareeka. Metal vibe jigs, soft plastics and bait are all effective. When using bait, anchor and burley for best results. Bream are a little shy, try further up the Bega River and the Merimbula back lake where nippers are the preferred bait. Trevally abound in the Pambula Channel though mostly just legal size.

The club will be open this Friday, December 6, when you can enjoy the fishing report, the ambience, friendship and lovely views with very competitive bar prices. Everything you need to know about local fishing is on the club's website: www.mbglac.com.au.

Lovely fish: Steve Weave holding a nice catch-and-release snapper off Gillards. Snapper are back on the chew at our local reefs and good catches have been reported from all down the coast.

Lovely fish: Steve Weave holding a nice catch-and-release snapper off Gillards. Snapper are back on the chew at our local reefs and good catches have been reported from all down the coast.