AS A KID I use to dream of catching my first big mulloway, a dream not realised until I was in my early 20s fishing for snapper off Gerroa.
I was laying out a berley trail of cubed pilchards and feeding out a strip of slimy mackerel for snapper. After a short fight I landed a 13.5kg mulloway and since that day I have caught a number of these fish in many parts of Australia. I started to put in more thought, time and effort into my mulloway fishing, as well as going out with other anglers who knew more about fishing for them than I.
An angler who fishes around the Wollongong area had not targeted mulloway until two years ago. Since then he has spent an average 25 hours a week chasing them off local beaches. All this effort has paid off with around 100 fish from 4.5kg to 28kg. You may have caught a couple of mulloway, but are you consistently catching them right through the year and not just in the peak Summer season?
A lot of the medium to large mulloway will move into the upper reaches of the larger river systems in the Sydney area during the Winter. Over the past year there have been a lot of mulloway caught at places like the M5, East Hills and Milperra bridges on large minnow lures and soft plastics.
I have been trolling large plastics like the Storm and Squidgy shads at very slow speeds (one to three knots) picking up the odd mulloway along the shore from Alfords Point bridge to the old ferry ramp at Lugarno. You could also try trolling the Mann’s Stretch 10s and 20s in the same areas.
Flathead will be a Winter bonus but now both these species will have moved down to the entrances of the rivers. Places worth a try are the pylons of the Captain Cooks, Como and Tom Uglys bridges, Bald Face Point, the end of the third runway, Bare Island and Henrys Head.
Port Hacking does have a lot of mulloway but there are still enough there for those prepared to put in the research, time and effort. Places worth a try are the drop-offs in South West and North West arms, the sand flats at Lilli Pilli and the entrances to any of the bays.
Big baits catch big fish. I went out with Greg Joyes from Calmwater Fishing Charters and was amazed at the size of the live mullet and tailor he uses. You could also try using live yellowtail, poddy mullet, squid, legal-sized tailor (30cm), whiting, luderick and bream. You could use a fresh fillet. Bunches of pink nippers or whole blood or beach worms are also good for smaller mulloway.
I have been involved in many a discussion on when to strike a mulloway. My theory is to give it three seconds and then strike with all that you have. If you have any other theories, email me.
A few years back I saw eight mulloway kept in a very large pool at the Fisheries Research Centre at Cronulla. These fish were the genesis of the brood stock that produced more than 100,000 fingerlings.
Earlier this year NSW Fisheries released 35,000 5cm fingerlings near Towra Point and another 35,000 up the Georges River. If all goes well, these fish should grow to about 45cm by the end of 2004.
Scott Lyons and I took part in the Celebrity Trout Challenge in the Snowy Mountains and we had a great time over the four days, catching some great brown and rainbow trout along with a few Atlantic salmon. Most of my fish were caught on Tassie Devils. The weather was terrific apart from the final day and I’d like to thank Steve Williamson and his crew for their work. If you get a chance to go down there next year you won’t be disappointed.Reads: 5363