February is a cracking month to be out on the Glenelg River as there is a distinct drop-off in boat traffic after the end of year holiday period finishes, while the remaining heat of summer keeps water temperatures high.
The Glenelg is an extremely popular place over the holiday period with the township of Nelson and the multiple campsites at specific landings along the river well visited by fishers, campers with canoes and kayaks, and those whom simply enjoy the pristine bush and river environment. This can make the fishing a little tougher through the late December and January period with boat traffic at its peak for the year. However, February sees the whole area begin to quiet down as holiday-makers start to thin out. Reduction in boat traffic saves the edges of the river from the battering effects of multiple boat wakes. Finding that all important clearer water suddenly becomes much easier, although the best tip is to fish the rock walls with adjacent deep water as boat wake does not stir up the mud and bottom in that deeper water.
A change in conditions in February sees a slight change in tactics for both bait and lure fishers. With the warmer water and the improvement of clarity in the shallows, bait fishos can now really make use of floats to suspend their baits (live and dead), adjacent to the heavy timber snags and even over the shallower flats. Live minnows, crab worms, and small mullet will catch plenty of bream, estuary perch and mulloway. The humble prawn and pilchard fillet are also a standard go-to when other live baits are hard to come by.
Lure fishing is at its prime this time of year and surface lures thrown both early and late in the day have become irresistible to perch and bream. Surface lures such as Atomic K9, OSP Bent Minnows and small to large poppers are absolutely deadly thrown over shallow flats and heavy snags alike. During the day, both light and heavily weighted soft plastics in minnow, critter and grub styles are also a great choice. It’s important to work out where the fish are sitting when deciding whether to fish light or heavy. If they are quite wide of the banks then generally a heavier jighead weight will work best to get the plastic down deeper to the fish. In comparison, lighter jigheads give much longer hang time in the water with a gentle descent through the column to tempt the fish when they are a bit shallower and feeling finicky.
There can be a little trial and error involved in tempting the fish and finding a consistent pattern at this time of year but that’s half the fun and challenge of fishing so get out and have a crack!Reads: 760