Bream are the staple catch
  |  First Published: May 2012

The mulloway are still around, although catches have tapered off after a promising but short run in early autumn.

Catches are still reported daily but big bags are sadly few and far between. The bigger percentage of fish have been taken by anchored fishers using fresh baits such as squid or fish strips along with live mullet under a float. Pictured is a rig that is handy to use for live mullet either from a boat or land based. When set up correctly you can fish without care of the live bait tangling because you have anchored it where you want.

Another good tip for this rig is to attach a glow stick for night fishing as the last thing you need is to hear your reel screaming as a passing boat has picked up your float and rig as they pass you by. I am going to fish soon for the mulloway with a couple of mates. So give us a call at the Nelson Pub and I’ll let you know how we go.


Bream again have been the staple for the river, although early to mid autumn saw a reduction of catches, they fired up from the 20th onwards. The usual thinking is 2-4 days after a full moon for better fishing but we had a big drop on the barometer just after the full moon resulting in later than expected better fishing.

At present you really have to target the edges and if you’re fishing the stonewalls, cast within 20cm of the edge, any further out is too far. Often the stonewalls will offer a second ledge just below the surface; that’s what you need to target.

The tidal effect is still very strong so the currents are quite quick, especially on the outgoing tide. The way the river has been formed from a fault line from an earthquake thousands of years ago, the river slowly tapers down in width the further you go upstream but it has a consistent depth creating a funnel effect.

When the bigger tides come in the water levels actually go uphill as they move upstream. What this creates is a surface water flow outwards but an underwater inward movement, so when you anchor up you sometimes see surface junk flowing downstream but when you cast your baits out they will actually move upstream with the lower waters tidal movement. Confused?

Estuary Perch

Perch also have been extremely consistent; lure technology has seen a lot more of these fantastic fighters boated. Once the domain of specialist anglers with bait such as minnow, shrimp and live gents cast into snags and around structure on lightly weighted gear, hardbodied, plastic and bladed lures are now seeing a lot more anglers catching perch. Often these are a by-catch when targeting bream as they move about with their electric trolling motors.

A gun bait to use is fresh minnow – best kept alive. Lately the locals have been fishing the pylons on the bridge, simply by dropping the bait down around 3-4m. Perch that were hanging around the pylons can’t resist well placed fresh bait, similar results come from fishing snags and structure along the river banks.

The key to better fishing was the use of live minnow as opposed to just fresh. A 40cm perch is a great catch on light gear, cunning and the score can be well in their favour as they run back to structure to cut you off.

Call us at the pub on 08 87384011 for any questions on the fishing or accommodation here in Nelson.

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