Mulloway is the way
  |  First Published: August 2009

Fishing at present at Nelson has been exemplary. We have had a very wet winter - July saw 8 inches of rain and August, whilst not as wet has produced good falls.

Bream, mulloway and perch have congregated down the lower reaches, possibly pushed back down with the fresh water influx. All fish have been caught in deep water, with most fish being pulled out from 15’ or deeper. Blade lures have been the rage with the locals, and I have witnessed quite a few new converted anglers drifting along the river letting the wind move them along, simply bobbing the blades up and down along the rivers bottom.

Ian Netherway has had great success using this method. I saw Ian’s haul one afternoon of 2 mulloway to 4kg, 6 bream averaging 900gm and two ripper perch with one going 1.75kg. Definitely one of the converted, as Ian is a traditional bait fisher.

If the rain keeps up the fish should hang down the bottom end for a while but I would think as the rains abate, a lot of fish will move back up river to spawn. In past years the spawn has happened near Sapling Creek, masses of fish head up and find the area where the salt and fresh water is at the right level.

When they spawn, the mix of eggs and sperm need to hang in the water close to the surface: it will be interesting where it will take place this year with all the rain we have had.

The bull nose mullet run is in full swing at present as well. I have heard of good catches up as far as Donovan’s Landing. Mullet over one kilogram are not uncommon; cockle or prawn suspended under a pencil float is the best method. All you need to do is work out how deep they are and set your hang to the hot spot, at present 1 – 2 metres should do the trick.

A good berley mix is recommended, something that will float a little and sink slowly.

Mulloway research

The results from the mulloway tagging by the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research should be available soon. The boys did share some interesting information with me before going back to properly formulate the details.

Of the 30 fish tagged, 4 acoustic tags have been sent back to them by fishers who caught the fish. Two seemed to be in the river and not moving, suggesting the fish have been caught and the tags thrown into the river. Of the remaining 24 tagged fish, 22 appear to be still in the system. The thinking we have always had is the fish come in and eventually head up river and stay and move about.

Science has proven otherwise, one mulloway’s data caught at the estuary showed it moved up stream beyond Pritchard’s landing 45km, then it came back down as far as the estuary and then moved with no real pattern back upstream.

Three other fish movements showed the same results and without correlating all the data showed no real pattern at all. It appeared they just cruised around eating. I am hoping the boys will be allowed to share their full research with me so keep tuned. If you do catch a mulloway in the river the research fish have two tags in them so if possible return the fish to the river to help this very important research programme.

Cheers to all pop into the Nelson Pub and say hello if you are down this way.

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