Back in the day, fisherman like my Grandfather, Don Mitchelson, commercially fished in Merimbula bay and lake.
Perched on the cliff ledge just beyond Bar Beach was a small stone hut, which they built for their lookout. They kept warm by the fire as they all watched for signs of diving birds, which signalled a school of salmon.
Once the salmon were spotted, the fishermen clambered down wooden ladders to their boats below and rowed out to where the schools were. The salmon were slowly brought in to the lake and stored in fish pens waiting to be transported to the fish markets in Sydney and Melbourne. This is why the area is called Fishpen.
Today, Merimbula is still widely known as a great fishing spot. There is no need to bring your boat, as you are spoilt for choice with great shore-based fishing spots.
There is the beach for salmon, or the lake for bream, whiting, flathead, and the occasional tailor.
The best time to beach fish is on a rising tide: choose one of the many gutters up and down the beach. Gutters can be recognised by darker water, which is deeper water, or the lack of a breaking wave.
Popular bait for beach fishing is beach worms, and these can be caught on the beach. However, it takes a lot of practice and skill to catch these worms. They are quick, and if you miss once they are gone. I must admit that I often think worming is more fun than fishing! The best tip for worming is to find someone who has mastered the art and have them teach you.
Elsewhere, Merimbula Lake offers superb fishing. You can pump for nippers at low tide just near the causeway and then cast out in the channel to land flathead or whiting. It is very easy to fish around the foreshore of the lake on the many small jetties. And walking tracks ensure it is easy to reach prime fishing spots.
Merimbula Lake is flanked by oyster leases, which offer great fishing. Walk past the Fisheries’ office along the boardwalk to the sandbank to catch flathead and bream.
If you are bringing your boat, you will reliably get a feed of flathead in the bay. Venture around the point to the reefs for snapper, ‘kingies’, and the odd tuna.
Merimbula is a beautiful location, and you are spoilt for choice when it comes to fishing. We hope to see you soon at Merimbula Tween Waters Holiday Park for your next fishing adventure.