It’s definitely been a typically wet and cold winter, but the fish haven’t seemed to mind.
The surf fishing scene has been firing on all cylinders for some of the best Australian salmon action we have seen for years and mulloway anglers are being rewarded with some excellent fish at Nelson and along the Coorong.
Now we are heading into spring the sea and weather conditions will once again become more angler friendly and with the fish already on the go, now is the time to get amongst it.
The stretch of beach around the 42 mile crossing on the Coorong has been fishing very well all year but has really been firing for big salmon recently. Most of these salmon have been around 2-3kg but many much larger salmon have been about and very eager to take baits and lures. Most anglers are using a simple paternoster rig with salmon or pilchard on one dropper and a surf popper on the other. The beauty of the surf popper is that if you lose the bait you are still in with a chance on the popper.
I usually find you get the bigger salmon on the surf poppers most trips and they also catch other fish such as mulloway, snapper and elephant fish as well.
There has also been some very nice mulloway around 10kg mark caught as well as gummy sharks, elephant fish and a few large seven-gill sharks. Fresh salmon fillet used in the magic hour before sunset and after has been best for the mulloway. The sharks have been biting best on the high tide change after dark and a bit of berley is a big help along here.
The track along the beach changes daily due to varying sea conditions so I always stop in at the roadhouse at Salt Creek to get supplies and find out what condition the track is in, and to find out what the fish are doing of course! Generally if you let your tyres down to 10-15 psi, stick to the tracks and travel along the beach at low tide you will get around without any trouble if you take it easy.
Rough seas over a lot of winter have slowed down the number of boaties heading offshore but on the better days some good catches have been taken. The deeper water up to around 60-80m has seen some good catches of snapper, gummy shark and morwong. As we head into spring the reef fishing in a bit closer will get better with shark, snapper and whiting well worth chasing in the bay area. Schools of salmon and trevally have also been about at the harbour entrance.
The surf fishing around Robe has been excellent with large numbers of salmon about with some real thumpers up to 4kg being taken. A few elephant fish and gummy shark have also been about along with the occasional mulloway. The most productive beach for the salmon has been Back Beach but Bishops Pate and Domashnz Beach have also been popular. A few salmon are also getting taken along Long beach particularly in the evenings.
Not far from Robe toward Beachport the famous Salmon Hole Beach has been firing, particularly on the days of big swells when the salmon really school up and take shelter inside. Baits and lures both work very well but lure fishing is probably easiest. I like big Halco slices or large wonder wobblers and just keep moving around until you find a school. The hour before sunset has been very productive.
The Glenelg River from the mouth all the way up to Pritchards has been fishing exceptionally well this winter and the good fishing looks set to continue for some time yet. There has been good numbers of mulloway about and being taken mostly down in the estuary section with Taylors Straight, Donavans and the caves areas fishing very well. These mulloway have been around 8kg but there has been loads of undersize mulloway about which is promising for the next few seasons to come. Most of the lager mulloway are being taken on live mullet after dark with a few also being caught on pilchard and squid. Trolled jointed Rebel lures are also working as are vibe lures.
Bream and estuary perch continue to fish very well right along the river and are being taken on bait, lures, vibes and plastics. I have been doing well around the caves area casting plastics and vibes along the edges for bream to 38cm and some nice perch about the same size. On a recent trip the weather turned very cold and wet so we opted to baitfish instead and by simply using chicken breast strips fished unweighted, we ended up catching a number of good size bream and also lost a mulloway hat took a pilchard. Other baits that are working on the bream include crab, small freshwater yabbies and frozen whitebait.
In addition to the excellent estuary fishing on offer at Nelson, the nearby surf beaches have also been fishing very well. There are a number of access roads to the popular Discovery Bay Beach, which has been firing for big salmon and a few gummy shark in the evenings. The beach at Swan Lake is good and deep and easiest to get to along the short four wheel drive track. Just over the border from Nelson is Piccaninie Ponds Beach which has also been producing big salmon, a few gummy shark and the odd mulloway. There is four wheel drive access onto this beach but take care as there is often a few soft spots the further you head along the beach.Reads: 1212