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Perch, bream and flathead
  |  First Published: February 2008



With thousands of holiday visitors dangling a line recently there’s plenty to report on, especially with the great run of hot summer weather we’ve had. Big bream captures are still the talk of the town, along with the flathead numbers that are now starting to peak. Estuary perch are back in the news. Prawns and whiting are also on the menu, with the hotspot down near the entrance.

Bream

There are still some record-breaking bream turning up and Steve Riseley from Maffra proved it with a thumping 2kg fish caught down near Paynesville on frozen prawn. Steve said an angler fishing nearby had two even bigger bream, both pushing 2.5kg. It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago these huge old fish were such a rare catch. These days it seems 2kg bream are common, and land-based anglers appear to be getting most of them from the jetties skirting the lake. Metung, Paynesville, Wattle Point and even Loch Sport are all turning up the odd big bruiser bream.

The Tambo and Mitchell rivers have a few bream as well, but they are smaller fish and a little harder to find.

Flathead

Big dusky flathead have turned up for summer as expected, mainly out in the lakes from Metung down to Lakes Entrance, and up into the North arm. One big flattie caught and released by a local was guesstimated at 5.5 kg, while plenty of other duskies of 3-4kg have been landed.

Up in all the rivers, mainly in their lower sections, smaller flatties of 30-45cm are now moving in. Although not plentiful at this stage, I expect their numbers to grow as the duskies migrate from out in the lakes and up into the Tambo and Mitchell rivers heading into autumn. Their numbers should peak in early winter, but be on the lookout in case they turn up early this year.

Prawns

Nothing motivates hungry anglers more than the summer prawning run. It seems everyone around here eats prawns ­– no other form of angling would keep hundreds of boats out all night looking for a feed. Some diehards have been known to stack up 30-40kg for a night, and be back out again for another big haul the next night. This feverish harvesting is driven by the short season: prawns peak from January through to March and the best time is only around the new moon of each month. It’s a little early to say if this year will be as productive as others, but early reports are promising.

Estuary Perch

It’s great to see my favourite fish turn up again, the mighty estuary perch. A month ago I started hearing a few rumours of ‘EP’ being landed in fairly good numbers just before dark on lures. Like most serious and secretive perch fishos, the successful anglers were trying to keep the lid on exactly where the perch were concentrated. Without giving too much away, and at the risk of death threats, let me just say that the Mitchell River is a good starting point if you want to find a few EP.

I might add that the only reason dedicated perch anglers remain so protective is that these fish can congregate in huge schools and are open to over exploitation. As an example, I’ve experienced some super hot sessions on the EP recently, with big fish from 38-49cm schooled in large numbers. I returned an incredible 108 perch in one long session using both sinking hard-bodied lures and noisy surface lures. Boy, it’s too much fun watching perch boof a floating soft plastic off the top, and nearly every surface take shocks the life out of me! In another shorter session I returned 31 perch, two flatties and a mullet, with the standout lures a sinking Rapala Rattler and an Evergreen Micromax lure, both fitted with ‘w’ hooks.

Big perch find a well-presented lure hard to resist.

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