Test your toys at Nelson
  |  First Published: December 2008

I trust you all had a safe and very Merry Christmas. Hopefully you all received fishing gear from ‘Old Nick’ that is in need of testing. If so, there is no better place than the mighty Glenelg River.

January should see masses of mulloway in the middle reaches from the Victoria-SA border near Dry Creek, right through to Redgum Landing. In years gone by we have had some ripper nights out trolling.

In the last couple of years during January McLennans Punt and Canoe Camp have been two areas that have stood out, for the numbers of fish rather than their size. This is the best section of the river to target especially for mulloway. Be aware that anglers trolling have 20-40m line out the back, so give them room.

An area that stands out for a better size of fish is the Reed Bed, which is the next lot of shacks around the corner from Donovans Landing. History has proven this area to be very consistent for good-sized fish.

We should have completed tagging mulloway by late in January, so if you could it would be nice if you record the time, place, length and, if possible, weight of the fish, and then contact the phone number on the tag. I believe there will be some sort of reward or prize sent out to those who phone in to report catches.

Bream have dispersed themselves all along the river. During December there were good catches up as far as Pines Landing. The river gets quite snaggy up there, so be wary, but it’s worth the effort.

The estuary is still providing good fish as well, so with around 60km between Pines and the estuary, you will need to move around heaps. The Glenelg has endless areas that look fishy, so target the edges and move, move, move.

From Sapling Creek right through to Moleside Landing is where you target perch during January. Arm yourself with fresh shrimp or gents, or lures like the Ecogear SX-40, and be prepared to lose some gear. Whack your baits into the snags that abound along the river’s edge and when fish strike, try and hold them out of their hiding spots. Any bait requirements down here can be handled by Chris and Cheryl Carson from Nelson Boat Hire (08 8738 4048).

For the land-based angler, a day out at the estuary is a lot of fun. Low tide sees a huge sandbar form, and wading over to it gives you access to plenty of water to cast lures and flies around for bream and salmon. Be careful as you get closer to the mouth, as the sand can get quite soft.

Along the river there are heaps of landings. In Nelson most are privately owned but publicly accessible. The rule of thumb is if the owner turns up it is polite to move on.

In the National Park there are landings dotted along the river. They are pleasant spots to spend an afternoon trying to catch your dinner. Remember that most landlubbers cast out as far into the middle of the river as they can, while boaties sit out and cast to the banks. The boaties are more successful – so when fishing off landings, try and fish along the banks or the structures that surround the landing you are on.

Along the coast the snapper have been quite prolific from Orwells Rocks right back along the coast to the mouth of the river. The best areas to target are kelp beds. With any luck you might even snag a good-sized mulloway or a thresher shark. They aren’t called threshers for nothing, so make sure they are really dead before you try and boat them. I have seen several boats that were near write-offs from damage caused by thresher sharks that were boated too soon.

Offshore, the 200-500m line has seen good numbers of terakihi, blue eye, hapuka and flathead caught by bottom-bouncers. The South Australian fisheries are very active during January and February so check out the local rules and regulations before they tap you on the shoulder. I hope to see you in Nelson soon, call us at the pub for any further enquiries (08 8738 4011).

Masses of sand flats at low tide give land-based anglers access to gutters and channels in the estuary of the Glenelg River.

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