The recent cold, blustery weather has managed to keep all but the most serious anglers off the water. With strong 30 knot southerlies blowing for days on end, those keen to wet a line have been forced to wait for the occasional calm, clear night.
All this sounds like the perfect recipe for the mighty mulloway. It’s no surprise that several of these prestigious fish have been landed during the past few months, some of which have been of monstrous proportions.
Several mulloway (also affectionately known as ‘jewies’) have been caught in the Warneet/Blind Bight/Cannons Creek area. These fish are generally in the 3–6 kg range, however I have received unconfirmed reports of a few fish to 16kg. Unfortunately, regular mulloway anglers are often reluctant to display their trophy catches, perhaps fearing that they will have to give up their favourite locations. This is a real shame because all members of the angling community enjoy these fish, and a few more jewie photos wouldn’t go astray. Besides, you don’t have to hand in the GPS coordinates when giving a fishing report, simply “the top end of Westernport, land based” will do.
Other notable mulloway captures include a fish of 34kg taken by a professional fisherman targeting mullet. Brendan Wing was so inspired he purchased the fish and brought it into Cranbourne Tackle World to show it off. We were all amazed at the size of this monster, with deep silver-gold flanks and a mouth that could easily swallow a football. The mighty fish was taken in the shallows somewhere in the North Arm. Other details are sketchy, but we know it had been raining steadily for a few days, perhaps congregating mullet and other small baitfish nearby. Surprisingly, this fish was the smaller of two mulloway the pros had taken that week. A few days earlier, the same netter boated a fish of approximately 40kg.
Interestingly, the big fish was full of estuary perch. Last year, I saw several jewies being cleaned and more than half had remains of small flounder in their stomach contents. All these little tidbits of information show that mulloway are clearly opportunistic feeders, they aren’t afraid of shallow water and they love to eat live fish baits. It is no wonder that they are also regular catches in other estuary systems that hold high concentrations of bait (i.e. the Yarra River, Barwon River and Patterson Lakes).
MULLOWAY FISHING TIPS
Best baits: Live mullet, fresh squid (strips or head and tentacles), any small but legal live fish, fresh flounder strips
Water depth: think shallow. Less than 6m
Size: Most commonly 3–12kg but can grow to over 50kg
Time of year: all year but more common from February to July
Hook: hooks have to suit the bait, not just the fish’s mouth. A small 12cm mullet may need just a single 5/0.
Tide: can be taken at any stage, but an ebb tide can concentrate baitfish as they are forced out of smaller channels
Trace: 50-80lb. Mulloway have small but sharp teeth that can sever light leaders