Mulloway arrive
  |  First Published: December 2008

What a weird month it has been for fishing here in Nelson. After the bream spawned, instead of masses moving upstream like usual, most of the action was centred around Hutchessons Landing. The school then slowly migrated downstream towards Donovans Landing.

The estuary perch followed the same route, and there were some ripper mixed bags of both species caught. Best baits for bream have been crab, rabbit and whitebait. For the perch, shrimp and live gents have prevailed.

Lures such as small, bibbed hardbodied lures cast into snags and metal blades thrown around in deeper water are well worth their money as the results are quite outstanding. These two types of lures, along with your sounder, should see you catch a lot of fish often.

The ‘good news, bad news’ story for late October was the arrival of mulloway into the system. Most years the first run of fish are not big in numbers but big in size, and this was again the case. Fish like the ripper 19kg specimen caught by Joe Price on squid and 8lb line had us all salivating.

I went down to the estuary after a big one, but only managed to spectate while others caught a fantastic sample of fish. Ian Jenkins with a 9kg model and Alan Unwin with one of 8kg led the way, with many other anglers pulling in large hard-fighting fish.

The bad news is that while this was going on the mouth closed over...thus preventing anymore mulloway from entering.

Unusually, the mouth then reopened again ten days later so the dream of more good-sized fish entering is still alive. There is no reason they won’t; the river looks fantastic with clear and healthy water despite minimal inflows.

I believe the lack of fresh flow has changed the river and the way it fishes. Mulloway don’t seem to hang out down at the estuary like they used to. They come in, hang about for two or three days, then move upstream fairly quickly.

On the other hand the estuary seems to fish more consistently for bream now: the last few years have proven very successful down there.

For several years the middle reaches, 15-26km from the mouth, have been the most successful stretch for big numbers of mulloway, as well as bream and perch.

Bream fishing should improve towards Christmas in the Caves to Forest Camp section. If you have access to small crabs it would be well worth bringing some along. The local river crabs stocks take a battering at this time of the year. Spew worm are also a fantastic bait, especially at night. Shrimp get their fair share of the fish too, especially when cast into snags unweighted.

For those who want to order mullet for trolling, call Chris or Cheryl at Nelson Boat Hire (08 8738 4048) and they will have them ready for your arrival. They also have a good selection of tackle and soft plastics, along with other fresh and frozen bait that work in this river.

For land-based fishos, the estuary is a cool spot to walk around and cast lures or flyfish. There are a lot of exposed sand bars and wading in the shallows produces some good fishing. Hardbodied lures like surface poppers and Ecogear SX-40s, along with soft plastics like Gulp sandworms small shads, should see you hooked up. Just be careful closer to the mouth as the sand can get soft under foot.

During December we should see some great fishing, with the promise of more schools of mulloway entering. Call us at the pub (08 8738 4011) or email for updates. Accommodation can be a little busy at this time of year so it pays to book ahead. Our rooms start at $60 twin share.

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