Glenelg River ghost hunting
  |  First Published: March 2017

Only 45 minutes from Portland and five hours from Melbourne in the small peaceful town of Nelson lies the famous and almighty Glenelg River. People travel from all around the country in search of bream and estuary perch, but what really gets the hairs standing on the back of anglers’ necks is the ‘ghost of the estuary’ – the elusive mulloway.


The prime time to chase mulloway in the system is from September through to December. Big schools of fish ranging in size like to enter the estuary around the full moon and big tides and gorge themselves full of the abundant salmon and mullet that call this river home.

Bream fishing is red hot in the warmer months where they like to cruise the flats and mooch around the never-ending cliff faces that line the river. Winter can be good fishing too, as the bream school up in the middle of the river getting ready to do their thing. If the schools of fish can be found, it can make for some very memorable fishing.


A light graphite spin rod is best suited for this estuary and is more than capable when targeting bream, perch and mulloway. For bream, a 2-4kg spin stick is ideal. If you want to chase mulloway then something a little heavier with a bit more pulling power is needed, especially when fishing along the cliffs and rock faces.


Use 6lb braid for bream and 10lb braid for mulloway – this is more than enough for lure fishing. Bream like light leaders so 4-8lb fluorocarbon is a must and will give you the best opportunity to improve your catch rates, unlike heavy mono leaders. Targeting mulloway, heavier leader is best. Try 10-20lb. There is nothing worse than hooking a fish of a lifetime only to lose it because your leader was unable to hold up.


The most effective way to target mulloway while lure fishing is to bump vibes and blades along the bottom. Small Ecogear ‪VX40s and 45s are go-to lures. Chasing bream, there are a wide variety of lures that work well. Blades and plastics are deadly for fishing the deep. When working the edges and flats down the front of the estuary, hardbodies like Lucky Craft Flash Minnows, Chinus and Pointers are all good lures to tie on and cast. Lightly weighted plastics skip cast back into the shadows are deadly and pink grubs fished on a worm hook twitched across the surface are great.


Cast parallel along the banks when working artificials and always look to cast at some form of structure, whether it be snags, rockwalls or drop-offs. Don’t be surprised when targeting bream along the edges if a mulloway comes along and takes a liking to your little bream lolly.


After coming off the road from Portland to Nelson, be very aware of the kangaroos along the side of the road, especially when driving at night time. These big animals can do a lot of damage to vehicles and are a great danger to drivers who aren’t concentrating. Remember to keep your eyes open and drive with care and awareness.


A lot of mulloway are caught in the Glenelg by anglers who catch a few live baits and have them trailing out the back of the boat while casting lures from the front. As much as mulloway love to eat a lure, I don’t think there is a more effective way to catch these fish than live baits. Why not cover both bases when lure fishing?

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