Yarra River adventures
  |  First Published: March 2016

In the heart of Melbourne lies the mighty Yarra River. Starting in the hills of the Yarra Ranges where trout and cod are the definitive target species, the river winds its way through the hills, before turning to salt and into Port Phillip Bay. Here the main targets are mulloway and big chunky bream. This beautiful river is full of surprises and big fish.


In the warmer months bream become active and feed high in water column. You can see them mooching on rock walls and the plentiful pylons in the Bay. As the bait pushes up the river, this is a good time to test your patience on the ever-elusive mulloway that lurk in the shadows. Salmon and mullet are also around if you want a nice little feed.


Light graphite spin rods are great to target bream in the river. Use 2-4kg rods with 6lb braid. A long fluorocarbon leader is a must when targeting tricky spooky bream in clear slow-flowing waters around the docks. You need to fish light to get the bite – but pull them out quick before it’s all over!


If you are out baitfishing, a bait holder size 4 hook with a freshwater yabby is excellent bait that yields results. Long light 4lb leaders unweighted is the best method to bream in the city.


There are a number of lures that are effective to fish the Yarra. Strike Pro Micro Vibes and River2Sea baby vibes hold their own when fishing the pylons. You want to fish hardbodied lures and small lightly weighted plastics on the rock walls and banks. If baitfishing, yabbies and mussel fished unweighted is a deadly option for bream. For mulloway, use live mullet or fresh squid baits.


Lure fishing is a very effective way to land a few fish. You cover more area and you have a better chance at finding the fish by moving around and searching for them. An electric motor is a must-have when lure fishing, as you can use an electric to sneak around from pylon to pylon or hold position against the wind and tide.


Make sure you check the rules and regulations and ‘no fishing zones.’ Port security is right onto anyone who is doing the wrong thing, so to enjoy this fishery and keep it going for years to come, do the right thing and do the research before entering the water.


Cast way up in the shadows of the pylons and watch your line. Most bites occur when fishing micro-vibes and plastics and you won’t even feel the bite. You will see it in your line as your lure presentation is sinking. Watch for the tick and pay close attention to your braid.

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