Now is the time for hardcore bream anglers to be excited, because the next month or so heralds the start of something big.
It's when bream have well and truly got breeding off their minds and they want to eat again. Flathead are showing up in reasonable numbers but so far nowhere near as thick as years gone by. King George whiting have also featured nicely over the last few weeks and show no signs of slowing down over the next couple of months either.
We all know that winter is busy for bream but I believe this month sees those cagy critters starting to really fire again. Lure anglers will see themselves getting decent numbers as they come back down out of the rivers and start feeding out in the lakes. I hear with much interest that surface lures are starting to trick a whole heap of bigger bream at first light particularly in the Mitchell River at The Cut.
Slowly worked suspending hardbodied lures along the very edge of the river are also proving deadly. The bite time however seems to be over by about 7:00am so it is crucial to be out of bed well before first light. As the day wears on try working blades out in deeper lake water because bream tend to school up in those areas at this time of year. You should also try using extra small micro-vibes that come with single treble hooks. These are lethal on bream in black or pink.
Work your lures with tight sharp little hops and long pauses if the fishing proves very slow. Most of your hook ups will most likely occur as you tea-bag the lure close to your boat. If the bream are in a feeding mode you will find a lot of fish crunch the lure no sooner as it hits the bottom and your first lift will set the hook, especially around jetty pylons.
I want to make special mention about Metung at this point because it can really be the hub of some great fishing as the summer peaks. Even land-based anglers can get some action here by fishing from the long boardwalks and jetties using prawn bait or soft plastics. Mullet and whiting can also feature with sandworm baits and a big bream also on the cards early in the morning.
Boating in the area can put you onto some excellent flathead and the long strait from Metung to Kalimna is where you will find some large duskies and by using small blade lures you will cover a lot of prime shallow flats. Expect any number of medium-sized bream to also attack your lures and tiny pinkie snapper can turn up in their hundreds at any time as well.
I have received weekly updates from the DPI and all their monitoring so far has given the Gippsland Lakes a clean bill of health. Small counts of algae have turned up in the Bunga Arm and around Ocean Grange but west of that area has so far been free of any outbreaks. Fingers crossed we get through the summer without green water but I have to say the conditions certainly look ripe for a bloom at same stage.
All too often there is a negative reaction to this much-needed natural part of the food chain and we should actually rejoice its appearance. The water may look unsightly but in actual fact it is just teeming with life.
Holidaymakers have been out in force chasing prawns and successful reports have been hit miss. They are certainly there alright and have been caught since way back in late November. The prime prawning season is still ahead of us, so be patient as March and April usually sees the run of really big prawns and they also seem to grow in numbers as well. Always choose the darkest of nights around the new moon.
A quick mention also about the huge number of bass that were liberated into East Gippsland water ways. Blue Rock Dam and Lake Glenmaggie got another re-stocking of 25,000 bass all up and that bolsters their already growing population. Of more interest and a big win for the Gippsland Lakes system was the release of bass into the following rivers: Nicholson River: 35,000, Mitchell River: 5,000, Avon River: 3000, Macalister River downstream of Glenmaggie: 2000.
The stocking of bass into Gippsland has a great record over the last decade but sadly not enough anglers are putting in the effort to catch them. They are a challenging fish all right but the rewards for those who work them out far outweigh the effort required.
With the continued years of commitment that fisheries are showing with the bass restocking we can look forward to these hard-fighting aggressive natives to become a realistic target for anglers well into the next decade. Bass can live for well over 20 years and reach 50cm or more in length.Reads: 1241