The bream are running hot
  |  First Published: July 2012

There is no such thing as winter chills when the fishing is this hot. Bream anglers in the Gippsland Lakes continue to hook truckloads of fish with salmon and luderick turning up in big schools as well.

A few surprise catches are making life very interesting at the moment and this is typical of what the Gippsland Lakes can deliver. Get the beanie out and pack a thermos, there's some serious fishing to be done.

Yellowfin bream

What an incredible bombshell for me when I landed some very nice yellowfin bream on lures recently. Slowly but surely these fish are making the Gippsland Lakes their home. They are showing up in surprising numbers now particularly around Metung and Paynesville areas where I have been concentrating my efforts during the last two months.

During one six hour session I landed 38 black bream, 2 luderick and 6 yellowfin bream. The standout fish for the day was a 43cm yellowfin that was one of the most stunning bream I've caught for a long time in this area. For the last four years now I have noticed these yellowfin turning up in greater numbers and they tend to appear in early winter each year.

It is probably no coincidence that during this time we have also had some extreme rainfall events as well. Boy I hope their numbers build even further because they are such great sport on lure or bait. A lot of anglers over look the yellowfin bream and mistake them for a silver coloured black bream but to positively identify them, apart from yellow shaded fins, look for the longer anal spike and a distinctive black dot or marking in their "armpit", in the corner of where you open up there pectoral fin. They also have a higher and more rounded body shape with most of them thinner than a black but pull twice as hard!

Black bream

I recently spent half a day in glassed out conditions at Wattle Point with my long time fishing buddy and fellow bream addict Anthony Havers; we have spent a dozen years now chasing bream in the Gippsland Lakes. Havo landed nine bream to 42cm and I got five blacks with my best two bream going 45cm. We both made comment of how our fish were ever so fat and some of the best bream we have caught in many years. It was a joy to fish the shallows with small hardbodied lures and we are looking forward to another big winter ahead.

Australian Salmon

Another fish starting to build in big numbers again this winter are the salmon and out in the two bays from the Tambo River entrance I have been told of some feeding schools smacking up the baitfish. They might only be medium-sized salmon at the moment but they are hanging around in big numbers, which means plenty of fun with small lures and light bream gear.

The best thing about these fish of course is they can fill in a few hours if other species are playing hard to get. Always pack a few surface lures for salmon or have the fly rod handy so that you can keep catching them without getting bored. Another thing to remember is that very small lures like 60mm plastics or even smaller white flies can get them on the chew if they ignore larger offerings and you can never retrieve them too fast!

Tambo bream, perch and luderick

Speaking of the Tambo, bream have moved into the river in a big way. I'm told that the area either side of the Johnsonville boat ramp has at times been wall to wall with bream all around 20-28cm. A couple of mates in Brian Lazarro and his friend Ben lifted a reasonable score each into the boat recently while using Ecogear VX blades. They also found a heap of small luderick out in the middle of the river and even a few estuary perch swimming around in the mix as well.

It is quite unusual to have EP in amongst these big bream congregations and I really hope the perch numbers are on the rise this year. Darren Mays emailed me a report and said he saw huge schools of perch and bream in the very same area and they used 100mm Squidgy Wrigglers to catch their fish.

Looking forward

It should be full steam ahead for another month of cracker bream captures now and even the western reaches of the Gippsland Lakes like Hollands Landing and Seacombe are starting to produce some fair numbers of fish. Small luderick and cracker bream to 45cm have been caught on prawn baits off the Hollands wharf.

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