Mulloway are often regarded as the ghost of the estuary- a fish known as an elusive predator caught only incidentally or by those putting in long, tiring hours in the darkness. But targeting mulloway isn’t as daunting as it seems, it simply requires knowledge and persistence. Persistence is up to you, but we can try help with the knowledge part. Let’s take a look at the top three mulloway tactics in our local rivers here in the western district.
More mulloway are taken casting than any other tactic locally. However it depends on the river; the Hopkins, Moyne and Curdies tend to be rivers where casting is king, whilst in the Glenelg trolling and bait fishing are more common. Many mulloway, particularly fish under 85cm, are caught by anglers casting for bream using anything from bent minnows through to metal blades and anything in between. The two most common lures employed for casting at mulloway are vibes and soft plastics. Popular vibes include blades (Ecogear VX, Strike Pro Cyber Vibe, TT Switchblade), plastic rattlers (Rapala Rippin’ Rap, TN60s, Strike Pro Hummer Vibe) and soft vibes (Jackall Transam, Samaki Vibealicious, Berkley Shimma Shad). These are typically long casting, fast sinking lures and are hopped slowly along the bottom for schooled up fish. Soft plastics can be anything between 2-8 inches for mulloway but the 3-4″ size is most productive in a fish shape. Popular choices include the Westin Shad Teez, Gulp Minnow, Z-Man Slim Swimz and Trick Swimz, and the Berkley Gulp Turtle Back. Fish these with a 1/16th to 1/4oz jighead depending on your water depth, but 1/8th is a good all round mulloway size with a 1/0 hook.
Trolling is often viewed as a relaxing, simple and “easy” way to mulloway fish, but a surprising amount of skill is needed to consistently produce fish. Areas such as Taylor’s Straight in the Glenelg are popular due to deep water and few bends in the river. Last year, there was a mad rush for Daiwa Hybrid swimbaits which caught some epic numbers of fish in the Glenelg. However, many different diving lures can be trolled for mulloway. At night, trolling shallow using lures such as Westin Shad Teez, Samaki Redic 90, Rapala Shadow Raps and gold bombers are supreme. During the day as the fish move deeper, so should your lures. Try Samaki Redic 80s, OSP Dunks, Daiwa Double Clutch 95mm, or even the Hybrid swimbaits; if you can find one! Don’t discount a trolled live mullet too, especially near the river mouths; an extremely successful tactic both day and night. Just keep one thing in mind for mulloway trolling; slow.
- Bait Fishing
Bait is still the downfall of many a mulloway locally, both in the rivers and beaches. Mullet is the number one bait for many, but spew-worms, pilchards, nippers, crabs, salmon, chicken and even rabbit are fish takers. Try using a running sinker rig for static bait fishing in the one spot using an Ezi Rig, or using a barrel style sinker to troll a mullet on. Match your hook size to your bait; a large mullet intended for a big fish may need up to a 7/0 hook, whist a small worm may need a 1/0. The most popular hooks we sell are the Black Magic C-Point (suicide) or KLT (circle), in a 4/0.
Pictured is Luke Gercovich’s Glenelg fish taken trolling, Tim Vincent’s 102cm Hopkins fish taken casting, and John McCosh’s 29lb Glenelg fish taken bait fishing.