Bream still leading the way
  |  First Published: December 2007

Hello from Nelson on the mighty Glenelg River. I’m hoping you all had a great festive season and saw in the New Year with gusto.

December saw a fantastic run of bream fishing in the river after a huge wash of rainwater came down from upstream. In late November we had a lot of rain in the catchment areas of the Glenelg, Smokey and Crawford rivers, and masses of fresh water pushed de-oxygenated water through to the lower Glenelg. This resulted in a significant fish kill. Basically, the fish caught in the top waters of the river suffocated. It was terrible to see so many bream, mullet, perch and the odd mulloway dying, but I’ve been assured that it is a natural event.

Out of the gloom, the middle reaches of the river around Sandy Waterhole produced great fishing with many an angler bagging out on good bream. Crab has again been the number one bait during the day, while at night whitebait has been hard to beat. Deep diving lures, with flashes of gold and red, have also been good. In particular, my new handmade Morrie Kneebone lure, with a little weight added to the leader line to get it lower in the water, did the job on a few nice bream. Gulp Sandworms in camo colour have also been accounting for their share.

When the river has a freshwater inflow, the bream seem to hang in the saltier water that is pushed into the river by the sea. As saltwater is heavier than fresh, there is a fresh top with the seawater underneath. I had a fish up at Pritchards in mid-December, and found fish only in 5-8m of water. Down around The Caves and Sandy Waterhole, the fish were in 5-6m of water. In January, as the river cleans up and becomes more saline, the best fishing will be in 1-3m of water, which is more typical.

The estuary continues to fish well, especially right down on the sand in shallow water. Perch have been caught up as far as Sapling Creek. Chris Carson caught perch to 48cm around Princess Margaret Rose Caves on soft plastics. During January I would suggest this is as good spot as any to start your search for these hard fighting fish.

Waiting for the annual run of mulloway has really tested everyone’s patience, with no sign yet of the usual big schools. After being spoilt for a couple of seasons with an early run, the only choice is to wait. Back in 2003 we didn’t see them until late December, so I am hoping that will be the case this year. Keep calling us at the pub, we don’t mind on 08 87384011. I only hope I can tell those who do phone that the jewies are here, and to come on down and get into them!


The snapper season opened on December 1 in South Australian waters, with good catches coming from Orwells Rocks right along to the mouth of the Glenelg. For those unfamiliar with these waters, just keep an eye out for kelp beds as they normally grow on reefs – this is where snapper like to hang out.

Whiting and garfish have come from Livingstones, Gerloffs and Bungalow bays, as well as the breakwater at Port MacDonnell. Huge schools of mackerel have entered the breakwater, and lots have been caught off the jetty. Interestingly these schools are often precede the mulloway schools, so I hope this is the case again.

Craig Philps from Spot On Fishing Tackle in Mount Gambier informs me that offshore fishos have been bottom bouncing the Continental Shelf. Best results have come from the 400–450m line. Blue-eye trevalla, terakihi and hapuka have been caught on the days when these waters can be accessed safely.

Chelsea Kerr with a bream from the Glenelg River. Her and dad Matt caught stacks of bream along the reeds up at Forest Camp, using Gulp soft lures in pumpkinseed colour. Ecogear SX-40 hard-bodied lures were also successful.

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