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By Joel Edwards

For as long as I can remember, I've been addicted to pursuing the Holy Grail of the southern estuaries, the mighty mulloway.

In this article we are talking about daytime mulloway: hunting, locating and fooling these ghosts of the estuary.

Let's tackle a few tips and techniques that will help you redefine your own estuary mulloway game.

The majority of my efforts are focussed around the deeper sections of my local rivers and lakes during the daylight hours.

Enter the Zerek Fish Trap

This vibration bait is utterly perfect for the task of dredging the depths that these special fish call home.

While there are plenty of soft vibration baits on the market, the Fish Trap brings a few deadly points of difference to the table. These clever differences in design are what I believe puts these beautifully crafted baits at the top of their category.

Designed to be fished slowly and patiently, the ZFT (Zerek Fish Trap) is good to go straight from the box, built tough and fitted with Mustad Saltism 4x treble hooks as standard. This is a super comforting feature on its own. The peace of mind of a strong hook holding up when wedged in the powerful jaws of a mulloway is one less thing to worry about during the sometimes lengthy battles that go hand in hand with a mulloway encounter. The range includes a plethora of colour combinations that will suit every mulloway angler in any slimy situation.

The Fish Trap has one other unique feature that it brings to the market. This bait has a seductive curl tail that has proven to be the undoing of countless mulloway. Not only does the curl tail bring that added bit of flavour to the lure on the fall, it also moves seductively with the current whilst sitting stationary on the bottom. This has resulted in a lot of bites coming when the angler goes to recommence his retrieve after the bait has hit the bottom, simply setting the hook under the chin of an inquisitive mulloway that has come in too close to investigate the lure. So always stay awake and ready to set those hooks.

Where To

Let's break down where to fish your ZFT's in pursuit of your local mulloway.

Every system has its own set of special locations where mulloway can be found. Bridges, bottlenecks, tidal break ups and structure of various kinds are great places to start having a squiz.

I've found breaking down the chosen areas you consider hot spots, taking into account the suitable weather conditions, tide changes and the common bait source will help you plan which spot to hit and focus on any given time you're setting out in pursuit of this formidable opponent.

Planning your attack around a set of bridge pylons is a great place to start. Mulloway are guilty of loitering around bridges like teenagers at the local shopping mall. If I had to pinpoint the most productive place to deploy a few Fish Traps in search of a mulloway, I'd head straight for a set of pylons.

Bridges are productive for a number of reasons: current break up gives the mulloway a place to rest in the high flow of a tidal phase and a place to attack when the tide is slowing and slack. The pylons also are a popular area for the bait to reside. Find the bait, find the fish! When the tide slows in the hour before and after a tide change, the mulloway go on the hunt, often moving freely in the close surrounds of the bridges footprint.

A common misconception is that mulloway can only be caught close to structure. Although there is some truth to that, when the tide is slack, mulloway are mobile and will go on the hunt, so don't be afraid to fish the entire footprint of the bridge.

Hopping your Fish Traps in the bottom third of the water column around a bridge is a sure fire way to increase your success. They are an absolutely perfect imitation of a herring or mullet that's lost its way.

Mulloway will never pass up an easy meal. Even though they are an apex predator they will scavenge as much as any other species.

Getting the vibe

Now that you've arrived at the bridge, let's focus on getting your lure in front of a few mulloway.

One very basic rule when presenting any lure for mulloway is to always present your lure as naturally as possible, which means always hurl your lure up current and work it back to you with the current. This helps to ensure the lure comes past a hungry mulloway's face which will always be facing up current.

I probably wouldn't turn around for a feed if I didn't have to either, although some of my mates may say differently!

Now you have positioned yourself down current from where you believe the mulloway are feeding, the technique I use is to cast as far up current as you possibly can. As the lure lands, I like to leave my bail open and shake out a few metres of line to ensure the Fish Trap sinks vertically and I don't lose a few metres of retrieve to the pendulum effect.

Always stay in contact with your lure as best as you possibly can while it is sinking. Mulloway have a habit of inhaling a Fish Trap on the drop when the angler hasn't even commenced his or her retrieve. This in itself is proof that the curl tail on these cleverly designed lures is super seductive to a hungry mulloway.

I like to wait for the lure to hit the bottom, and with one long draw of the rod tip I lift the lure up off the bottom quite quickly. Once I've got to the top of my lift I wind slowly to maintain contact with my lure as I collect the slack line the lift has created.

Mulloway strikes are fast and precise, so it's paramount that you stay in contact with the lure at all times. A mulloway bite can be a long time between drinks at times, so it's best to stay on your game.

As the lure reconnects with the bottom I leave it there for a few seconds, then repeat the quick hard lift or draw up off the bottom.

Most mulloway bites will come as the lure is returning to the bottom. It's a very positive 'tick' on your line and it's like an elastic band to your senses through the sensitive braided lines we've all come to love.

Any tick or movement you detect through your line can be a bite so strike hard and strike strong - get those Saltisms in and then hang on!

Mulloway are a powerful opponent around bridges and other structure. They can have you worried at times but they are very clean fighters and clever angling will MOST times see the angler come up trumps.

Match made in heaven

The Zerek Fish Trap and mulloway are starting to become a very dynamic duo. I attribute a lot of my success of late to the Fish Trap. With this technique being so deadly, always investigate your bag limits and slot sizes and  fish for the future - only take what you need and let's work together to make sure this enigmatic sports fish stocks are there for generations to come.

I hope this has helped you to further understand the potent fish catching ability of the Zerek Fish Trap. I'm sure this information could be transferred over to many other species. I wish you well in your endeavours to hunt for the ghost of the estuary.

Fact Box

You've gotta keep em separated.

The Zerek Fish Traps are constructed from a super durable material (TPE) and can take an absolute hammering. BUT, this special formula can be quite reactive with other soft plastic baits so always make sure you store them separately. Never mix and match in tackle boxes with other lures constructed from other formulas.

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