Senior Fisheries Manager, Coffs Harbour Fisheries, Dr Heath Folpp, presented the artificial reef program to a well-attended clubroom last Friday. Artificial reefs are utilised worldwide to enhance recreational fishing opportunities, by creating additional habitat for local aquatic organisms and fish.
First developed in WA, the pinnacle artificial reefs at Merimbula are the first of their type established along the NSW east coast. The state of the art reef design deflects currents creating eddies and upwellings to provide intricate habitats for a variety of fish species.
Dr Folpp let us know that each reef site is monitored using a combination of methods that include baited remote underwater video (BRUV), underwater vehicles (ROV) and state-of-the-art sonar scans. Already less than a year after deployment (September 2018) the Merimbula reefs show favourable weed growth has occurred far more rapidly than anticipated.
James McLeod and Luke Bidgood Fisheries Technicians, Port Stephens Fisheries also visited Merimbula last week to take performance readings of the Merimbula pinnacle reefs and train club members in the use of monitoring equipment. The DPI's "Citizen Science" program now sees club members taking BRUV readings on a regular basis reducing the DPI technicians' visits to a quarterly basis.
Ocean flathead remain available north of Bournda at 20 fathoms as well as off Tura Headland, Tura Beach Golf Course and Short Point. With inshore ocean temperatures in some areas now down to 14 degrees, local reef fish are likely to be a little dormant and snapper and morwong have become patchy about the local reefs.
During the full moon some nice gummy shark have been landed. Try north of Baronda Headland out from Kianniny and the Horseshoe Reef area south of Haycock. Fresh baits are best for gummys, try anchoring and using a bottom berley bomb. Tailor and salmon are reporting from the headlands as well as the beaches. A big "bust up" reported from Tura Headland contained salmon and possibly kingfish.
Heralding the spawning season, huge schools of yellowfin bream have been sighted in the Merimbula Channel off Fishpen. The beginning of the run-in from the sea is good for bream and trevally particularly over the shallows in the Merimbula Lake. Nippers without a sinker or soft plastics will get results.
The club's next event is its Presentation Night on Saturday, August 10. Following its change to length measurement not weight, (the Kiss and Release principle) a whole new series of club records will be presented.