Mulloway mayhem
  |  First Published: February 2009

In Nelson, there’s great news on the mulloway front. At present we have heaps in the river, spread from the estuary right up to Pritchards Landing and beyond.

In saying that, it doesn’t mean you can catch them anywhere. They are schooling and moving around, but the spread of fish is astronomical. The size is nothing great, with the average being about 3kg, but there’s the odd 7-9kg fish in the mix too.

The best areas are the estuary, Reed Bed, Dry Creek, Caves, Hutchesssons Landing, McLennans Punt and Canoe Camp. The local trolling gang have taken the chocolates lately, with good fresh mullet the gun bait. Several anglers have also used lures with success.

As usual when there are a lot of mulloway around, live mullet become a little scarce. It’s well worth the effort to try and get as many as you can (within the bag limit) as nothing really beats good fresh bait.

Those who like to sit and fish have also accounted for their share. The battlefield seems to centre from Princess Margaret Rose Caves to Hutchessons Landing. It’s not a bad area to anchor up and spend a night.

Soft baits like spew worms, rabbit, whitebait, squid, octopus and pilchard should be in your bait barrel. Plan your trip around the full and new moons.

The better bream have been hanging around from Donovans Landing to the top of Taylors Strait. In February, they will likely move up towards the middle reaches around Hutchessons Landing, as they have in the last couple of years. Again, concentrate on the banks and the structure that lines them, be prepared to lose some gear, and have fun.

We are also coming into that other crazy time when tuna are on everyone’s radar. At the start of December we have the marine phenomenon called the Bonney Upwelling. It is an influx of cold, nutrient rich water from off the Continental Shelf that occurs between Portland and Robe.

Conditions push the surface water out to sea, allowing cool, rich water from the deep to move closer to shore. This water is filled with a great food chain, from small algae to the largest whales. In the mix are usually massive schools of tuna and albacore. It is not continuous and only starts when the conditions are spot on. It will run for a few days, then relax, then start up again when the next high pressure system arrives.

As the Continental Shelf is as close as 20km from shore, the fishing can be nothing short of fantastic. The last couple of years have seen record size and numbers of bluefin tuna caught.

Over the last couple of years we have had more and more tuna fishers stay here at the pub in Nelson. We are 30 minutes from Port MacDonnell and 50 minutes from Portland, giving you a base that is an each way bet. If the sea and weather are unfavourable, the river will at least give you a spot to have a sheltered fish.

As usual we offer phone info on 08 8738 4011. If I’m not around, leave your name and number and I will get back to you. Alternatively send an email to the address above.

February is my favourite month to go fishing as the large crowds have gone and we have a little more time to get out on the water. The weather is usually great and the fish are still around.

There are currently stacks of 3kg mulloway in the Glenelg River.

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