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The prime time at the metro rivers
  |  First Published: July 2017



Cold weather is here and that’s no reason to pack away the gear. If you want to target a trophy-sized fish locally, the next few months are prime time!

Melbourne anglers hold their waterways close to their hearts. This can resonate strongly with many anglers who have targeted the much sought-after mulloway in our metropolitan rivers. The vast majority keep their hard-earned tactics to themselves, holding them in higher regard than any other locally targeted species.

Tactics and lure choices vary across many of the latest must-have lures and the marketed arsenal from numerous tackle companies out there. One thing remains true: these fish ambush and can’t resist a lure or bait with vibration. Whether the lure is 30mm or 300mm long, match the fish the mulloway are feeding on!

One technique that has delivered success is to target mulloway on lipless vibes. This technique can be replicated with many lures that have a heavy vibration, such as paddle-tail soft plastics. These lures are an effective way to probe deep water and structure, particularly when fished in the dirty water we find throughout the lower reaches of the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers during the winter months.

While many fish can be pigeonholed as feeding around dawn and dusk, mulloway are like many other estuarine-based fish; the tidal cycle seems to be the incentive to feed. The bulk of the action regularly occurs two hours either side of a tide change and often strategic anglers focus their effort around these times.

Now, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s pointless to fish any other times. Our metro rivers, loaded with artificial influences and developments provide ideal structure for mulloway, serving up a gourmet home delivery service! Fish can lay in wait for an unsuspecting meal around the many pylons, rock walls or concrete structures. These provide an area of diminished current where they can also rest between food offerings. These areas make easy targets to cast a lure to a waiting predator.

Embracing the superb technology that anglers have at their fingertips nowadays can provide a sensational edge; side scan, down scan and 3D sonars lead anglers to the best areas with ease. Find the bait hanging near the structure and there is a fairly good chance will be a mulloway or three lurking!

Like all fish, the key to chasing mulloway in the metro rivers is to be prepared. Make sure your gear is up to scratch – these power players will find any weak point in your armour. Mulloway are renowned for dispensing of a seemingly solid hook set; they will run you back across structure and never give up. Fish will find the nearest underwater shopping trolley or piece of river junk that you don’t even know exists.

Most of the mulloway landed in our metropolitan rivers are up to 8kg in weight, but some true horses pushing in excess of 20kg have been landed and are not a totally uncommon capture. The beauty of chasing mulloway on lures in our local rivers is there is always an option for by-catch, depending of course upon your lure choice! Don’t be surprised if a decent pinkie snapper or a horse-sized bream takes a liking to a well-presented lure that you normally wouldn’t consider throwing at them.

If our mulloway aren’t playing the game, there is always a backup option. Throughout July the numbers of pinkie snapper that move into the lower reaches of the Yarra grow. Ideal locations to target them are anywhere from Williamstown, through the ‘Warmies’ and even into the lower end of the city. Princess Pier is a favoured haunt for many boat and kayak lure anglers.

Regular metro bandit, Dale Baxter has continued his productive Thursday morning sessions with some solid bream and snapper catches throughout the lower reaches of the rivers.

Winter is a great time to target the Werribee River. The little cousin to the larger Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers, the Werribee can often take a different approach to fool a resident fish. The river contains large amounts of weedy areas, often fouling lures or making a clean bait presentation difficult. Tubeworms are a well-recognised bait for anglers fishing the river. Scrubworms are also a good bet when fishing higher in the system around the ‘Cliffs.’

The shallow flats of Werribee South around the river mouth entrance to the bay can often produce some sensational fishing opportunities that everyone can access. It’s an ideal location to take the kids with a park area and open sandy beach to fish from.

Matthew Calleja recently headed down after work and landed six bream in a quick session then headed home for dinner! Tubeworms fished rigged on a long shank hook proved the best bait. When you head down and fish this area, take the time to observe the amount of food around around the weed beds and washed up shells.

BEEN FISHING?

I’d love to see and hear fishing experiences in the local area! Send through fishing reports and high-resolution photos of your great catches to --e-mail address hidden-- with as much detail as you are happy to share.

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