Cross your fingers, and pray to your God. I live in hope that we have a repeat of last year’s fantastic start to our mulloway season.
Traditionally, the mulloway in the early run are bigger fish, with last season’s biggest being 16kg, and the average around 7kg. Normally we expect the first run in October, but the last three years have seen an early September entry. All styles of fishing work, so whether you are a plastics fan or a bait fisher, come and have a crack.
The estuary is the first place to start your expedition. What I want to get across is we all need to respect other anglers’ rights and give each other some space. Here in Nelson we have a unique band of ‘trolling putt-putts’ down at the estuary, and there is a definite channel that these guys need to work in. If you are anchoring up, try not to block the channel. If you’re fishing under floats, make them bright, and if possible use a glow stick at night. That way the trollers can avoid you and won’t cut you off. With a little co-operation there is plenty of room for all.
Everything looks like it’s in our favour for a great mulloway season. We have a good open river mouth, plus the river during July and August has been quite tea coloured. This has seen good flows of dirty water entering the ocean, which some of the gurus reckon attracts the mulloway schools. There is plenty of tucker in the system to keep them full, so it should be all systems go.
Get the best gear you can afford, but most important of all are good rigs and knots. If you don’t know a strong knot, learn one. We don’t want to hear about the one that got away because of a bad rig.
Bait should be as fresh as possible. Best baits include squid, octopus, whitebait, spew worm, pilchard and, best of all, live mullet either trolled or under a float. Even filleted mullet is great bait.
Chris and Cheryl Carson from the Nelson Boat Hire can fit you out with live mullet, as well as a range of other baits and tackle. It’s best to order your requirements in advance, as they will be at a premium during the season (call them on 08 87384048).
Lures to try in the estuary should be shallow divers, as you will be in less than 1m of water some of the time. There are obviously hundreds to choose from, but I will stick to my favourites: blue Rebel fast-track broken-backs, small Attacks with some red and gold, the larger Ecogear SX-48, as well as some new lures I bought up in Queensland off Morry Kneebone. Last year I tried his 401, which worked a treat in deeper water, but it got down too deep for the estuary so I’m going to give his 501 and 511 handmade wooden lures a try. They have a little fin right at the tail that will make them work really well – I’ll give you the word in the next month.
The mulloway seem to bite better around the full moon, in combination with a rising barometer.
Bream have been exceptionally consistent all year, and I can’t see that changing. The only thing that may alter is that at present most bream are being caught in 4–5m of water because there still is a freshwater top to the river (because of the wet year). Additionally, the best fishing has been in the bottom 8km of the Glenelg River. If the rain slows down the fresh top will return to normal and the rock walls will be the area to target. We should see some of the bream move further upstream, too.
Reports from Port MacDonnell have improved, probably because the weather has enabled more people out on water. Whiting, mullet, garfish and bream have been caught at the breakwater and at Livingstones. Snapper catches are improving along the coast, including at the favourite spots of Orwell Rocks, Danger Point, Green Point and the Woolwash. Land-based fishers have landed gummy and school shark, snapper and salmon at Piccaninny Ponds through to Hutt Bay.
Remember you are allowed to drive on the beaches in South Australia, with the nearest access to Nelson being at Piccaninny Ponds. I advise you to check out that ‘little’ sand dune before you attempt entry onto the beach. Anyone wanting to enquire about amateur crayfish licenses and regulations, try 08 83476107 or www.pir.sa.gov.au . I’ve heard they are cracking down on amateurs this year.
Anyone wanting accommodation can give us a call at the Nelson Hotel on 08 87384011, or check out our web site on www.nelsonhotel.com.au (email --e-mail address hidden-- ). We have a variety of accommodation options and we do meals every night. We will even cook your dinner and keep it for you so you can fish that little later.
Kerrell and I really look forward to meeting new people, as well as catching up with old acquaintances, so don’t forget to say hello next time you’re in town.Reads: 2573