Cold weather means just one thing to Gippsland anglers – bream! This winter could be one to remember in the aftermath of last year’s floods. Already this year incredible stories of huge bream still have heads shaking.
A lot of bream weighed in over the last six months have hit the scales at 2kg, with some even pushing 2.5kg. At the other end of the scale, countless small bream are showing up right across the Gippy Lakes. The big downpour of 2007 must have created perfect conditions for a major spawning event. The future bream fishery here looks very promising even if they are proving a little elusive at the moment. My report this month concentrates on the bait fishing in the area, as the lure fishing continues to challenge even the best of anglers.
Strangely the Tambo has been fairly quiet recently. I’ve searched high and low for positive results but most anglers report that finding legal-sized bream has been a little tough. Those doing the best on bait are using striped tuna or shrimp.
Lure fishos are cleaning up with steel blades, worked deep and slow near the mouth. Most bream have been around 34cm.
A sprinkling of flathead has kept a few anglers busy, with some up to 40cm. Most flatties have been landed downstream of the highway bridge. Soft plastics around 100mm will be your best bet, but duskies also respond well to slowly drifting with whitebait.
Luderick have also featured near the mouth and are being caught on pipi and small pieces of peeled prawn.
The Nicho is renowned as a big bream fishery and again it has produced the goods. Bream to 1.4kg have been caught, but as usual time and effort is required to find them.
Deep sinking lures are proving their worth around the railway bridge, while downstream of the boat ramp frozen prawn and pieces of bluebait or pilchard will be the best bet. Sadly the river is in a fairly bad shape upstream near the Junction, where a few dead bream have been sighted floating around, along with some very sick gudgeon.
The Mitchell is the pick of the rivers at the moment and is really worth a try before the others. Plenty of good bream are being caught by anglers fishing from the bank right along the Silt Jetty and up around The Cut.
Flathead are also showing up and this river seems to be your best bet for a larger dusky in the area too. I’ve caught flatties right up the river, even at the back of Bairnsdale. When you catch one flathead, there are bound to be more around as they can school in big numbers at times.
The Mitchell has also seen the odd sea run trout show up over the last few years and it’s about this time of year that a couple of anglers usually fluke one. Again, try using shrimp and frozen prawn – but to get yourself a really big bream try striped tuna or cut pilchard.
The local jetties have seen anglers land a few bream to 1.3kg on prawn but most bream have been undersized fish, so take care in returning them.
I was down at Paynesville recently and got talking to a few locals fishing around the moored boats. They were returning 15-20 bream a session using small pieces of peeled prawn on an unweighted hook. Every so often a much bigger fish would turn up and smoke them and I politely pointed out that their 3kg line should be upgraded to 8kg if they were serious about landing big nasty bream.
The water is still fairly green in the area, but is having no effect on the fishing.
I’ve heard of a few mullet being landed around the Metung area, which is encouraging to see as they have not shown up in big numbers for many years now. As usual there are bream and medium-sized flatties being caught on local prawn.
The run of luderick continues at Hollands Landing, and fishing off the jetty is probably the hotspot. You certainly don’t need a boat to get a few. I watched a few kids land a heap of these fussy feeders, with most of them 24-27cm. They were losing bait with every cast and had a lot of trouble hooking them, as luderick are renowned for stripping hooks with their small mouths. The fish were picking and plucking at the peeled prawn on size 8 hooks and proving a real challenge for the young anglers.
Paul Spehr with another typical winter bream ready for release. In Gippsland, cool water means bream!Reads: 661