The fish have come on the bite right on cue for the summer holidays.
This is good news for all, including those who will visit or fish the area for the first time. There are plenty of flathead now showing up and later this month the first serious bags of prawns will be taken home.
I always enjoy talking to older anglers who have stories of hooking huge bream from years gone by. Interestingly their techniques remain unchanged to this day and they still catch plenty. Sandworm gets only a brief mention because live spider crab and shrimp remain the stand-out baits when searching for big bream.
For even bigger models a live prawn or small mullet could have you landing a serious bream well over 2kg. These cagey and wise old anglers assure me that other baits work just as good if not better at times, but are rarely tied on these days.
There seems to be a lost art of using scrubworms, fresh tuna, bluebait, squid and even fresh chicken meat. It seems bigger bream will happily eat these offerings if only anglers were willing to use them again. Keep this in mind when you are next on the water.
Blades. That’s the simple one word message when it comes to catching bream at the moment and the latest metal lure now being hailed as the next biggest thing, is the Ecogear ZX30. They are a prawn look alike and have two trailing stinger hooks that rarely miss their mark.
Take it from me, these lures are really smashing the bream at the moment and they will land you a serious tally of fish when used in deep or shallow water. Recently Mitch Chapman and Gerard Hawthorne came down from Melbourne and we went looking for some deep-water fish. Mitch started landing a heap of bream on his ZX and soon after Gez tied on the same lure and starting hooking up with almost every second or third cast.
Sadly I looked on and struggled to lift into much at all as the boys landed well over 30 bream.
My plastics and lures were not doing the job. Later on Mitch donated one of his Ecogear ZX Prawns to my tackle box and the results were immediate and stunning. I quickly landed bream to 43cm and my by-catch of flathead also went up. The next day with renewed confidence, I tied on some Evergreen Littlemax blades and got into some very serious fish.
My best bream went 45cm and two flathead came in at 79cm and 80cm. I also caught about 40 perch on the blades, which was a first for me and one of them had a tag in its back.
I tagged this estuary perch seven years ago when it measured 28cm. Can you believe that over all that time the fish was caught in exactly the same spot and had hardly grown at all and sat on my ruler the other day at just 31cm!
Makes you really wonder about how old perch and bream are when they get over 40cm or even 50cm. Even more of a concern is how a few anglers are still happy to throw these ancient breeders into a frying pan.
So here’s an up to date list of where to find some holiday fish.
Big schools of bream are still in the lower Mitchell River and have also spread out into the nearby lake and are now feeding in the shallows. Use blades and frozen prawn for the deeper river fish and live shrimp or crab for the lake and use small suspending hard bodies in the shallows.
The Tambo is always worth a look but the bream have finished spawning so try the lower 2km of the river down to the entrance. Big flatties are already in breeding mode down the lower areas of the whole Gippy Lakes near the North Arm up to Nungurner.
The Nicholson River has gone very quiet and Hollands Landing is still not firing so wait a few more months before trying those areas.
A quick mention and congratulations to Stephen Parker and Daniel Mackrell who took out the Skeeter BREAM Classic Championship with 10 bream going just under 12kg.
Never an easy event to win, the Gippsland Lakes can frustrate tournament anglers no end and to win this final against a cracker field of bream-fishing nuts is worth the rich reward of a new boat.Reads: 2932