Whitebait the key to bruiser bream
  |  First Published: July 2007

In Nelson it’s been cold and wet – beautiful after a drought. In amongst the weather there is always a chance to go for a fish, and a sunny winter day out on the Glenelg River is unbeatable!

The bream have spread out, from the estuary up the river to around Red Gum Landing. As winter continues they will move even higher. As always the best baits are crab and fresh whitebait out of the river if you can get them. Some supermarkets also sell whitebait that will work a treat, so bringing your own is an option.

I offer the use of a whitebait net and 12-volt light to attract the whitebait to any anglers who visit our pub. I’ve also asked the cooks to keep some tins so that we can give them away as crab tins. It really is worth the effort to gather the best bait you can for a day’s fishing. Call into the pub and we will try to fit you out with the right gear.

I was talking to some blokes the other day who fish the river extensively. They fish mainly at night and when they are chasing whitebait they move around constantly until they come across them. They use some they’ve netted that night, and the rest they freeze to start off their next trip. One bloke told me he cuts off the tails and reckons this improves his strike rates. Anything is worth a try!

The soft plastic fraternity have had a lot of success as well, mainly concentrating along the edges, as is the norm down here. As winter progresses and the bream migrate upstream, good catches will be had way up near Dartmoor, though last year they didn’t reach that far until around September/October.

Perch have moved upstream as well and nice fish around 30-40cm are not uncommon. The best place to start your search would be Sapling Creek and move upstream from there. You can lose a bit of gear chasing these blokes but it is a fair fight and quite often the fish are too good for the angler. Live gents, gudgeon and shrimp are the best baits, and small lures like Ecogear SX40s really rock. To lessen your chances of snagging your favourite lure, remove the front treble hooks and put some lead putty on so the lure will go along slightly nose down. This makes them almost like a StumpJumper and will help reduce losses.

Big schools of yellow-eyed mullet are still in the river. You need to move around a lot to find them and I suggest you start up around Donovans Landing and keep moving up. Prawns, cockle or squid under a pencil float are good baits to try.

Although a few mulloway to 12kg have been caught over the last few weeks, reports have been very thin on the ground. I can’t see that changing until we get our new run of fish. Cross everything you can, say a few Hail Marys and hope that we get a good early run like last year.

For those planning holidays around this marvellous run of fish, work on the first big tides around a full moon during September and October, then pray for a rising barometer.

Port MacDonnell has been fishing well with good catches of tuna in as close as the 40m line. Mixed in with the tuna was a ripper run of dolphinfish in early June, out around the 100m line. The problem was finding a good day to get out, but that’s fishing.

Fred Lampard from the Seaview Motel believes the tuna should still be here for another month or two. Call him on (08) 8738 2243 for the latest reports. The breakwater and in particular Cape Banks have produced good catches of salmon, mullet and whiting. You need to find the weed that these species inhabit, and use cockle and squid for bait.

Hope to see you down at Nelson one day. Mention that you read this magazine and say hello – if you catch us in the right mood we’ll buy you a beer!

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