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Bream, flathead and whiting on the bite
  |  First Published: March 2012



This time of year is all about bream in the Gippsland Lakes. We are now into those magic months where the water will start cooling off and that seems to trigger the black bream into action.

Deciding on which lure or what type of bait method seems to matter little because the bream are out looking and eager to feed. In fact from now, right through to the end of July is definitely the best part of the year to land stud bream. During March the rivers tend to run clean and the fish will feed high up on the edges for excellent sight casting with lures.

I’m not going to give the blue green algae situation much space here because we have all learnt to live with it and the total area affected comes and goes. Any chance of further outbreaks should be over by the end of this month.

Bream time again

It can be argued that catching bream in the Gippy Lake is a year round proposition. That maybe true but take it from me there is no better time than right now, so start looking for better quality fish and be prepared for big numbers too.

Already I see catch rates starting to soar especially with bait anglers using humble old frozen prawn. Shrimp is clearly a better live bait but I also see many anglers successfully using frozen shrimp that was saved from a previous trip.

The Mitchell River from the Cut to the Grassy Banks is where your first stop should be and is accessible by boat or bank. Smaller bream will be caught along the entire length of the silt jetties and the lower section of the Nicholson River.

The Tambo can really fire from now on and it will pay to search the river lower down towards the mouth. Hardbodied lures should be worked at first light close to the bank and along the rock walls. Anglers are telling me that the best hardbodied lure for bream are the Evergreen Micromax lures and the Smith Jades. This edge bite usually stops around 8:30 or 9am so make the most of that two or three hour window from dawn and beef your leaders up because 2kg bream and big perch will shred lighter tackle.

There are plenty of carp still lurking around in the upper parts of all the rivers and some of these ferals push 5kg or better. Hollands Landing is also an option at the moment and I watched keen anglers stack impressive numbers there recently using prawn from the wharf.

Jake Renooy from Maffra showed me how easy it was to land bream around 32cm recently and fair crowd of anglers were also sharing the spoils. The fast flowing water at Hollands requires specific angling methods and it’s not always an easy place to fish. Heavy sinkers for bait fishing are a must and lure enthusiasts require fast sinking hardbodies and soft plastics.

Flathead

Recently I spent a morning chasing flathead between Metung and Nungurner but it was fairly slow going. The duskies are still there but not in the numbers of the last few years. I eventually bagged a nice feed of 45cm fish and the water clarity was very good with just a slight green colour about it. I was surprised to get a nice by-catch of bream to 28cm and small pinkie snapper as well. One reason the flathead catches have been down of late, is I suspect they have moved up into the rivers and the western extremes of the Gippy Lakes early this year.

If you want to target them this month then try Wattle Point, Loch Sport or the mouth of the Tambo and Mitchell Rivers. Use large blades with bright colours in deeper water and you should pick up some big duskies.

Whiting

It’s been a little tough to get good whiting reports this year so far but I know of one angler who had a busy afternoon and caught about 30 good-sized fish at Kalimna. He used mussel for bait. Other anglers tell me they have yet to see a King George all summer.

On that score I’d say although it’s not been a good whiting season, if by years of experience you know exactly where and how to target them on the right tide times, you should still find a few.

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