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Blades cut deep
  |  First Published: November 2008



This report will focus on the incredible success of steel blades at the moment, so forgive me while I delve into some serious lure talk. If you’re a devoted lure angler, you would have had a chance to play with metal blades by now. They are the latest big thing and bream are eating them with some slashing results.

There has also been a surprising by-catch of perch and luderick that has got anglers talking. I suppose it is only a matter of time until snapper fishos also start sinking them into the depths of Port Phillip Bay.

Rivers cleaning up

Some good news on the green water issue: although the lakes are still coloured with algae, the rivers are now running very clean. The snowmelt will continue to improve the situation but there is not enough flow to flush the vast expanse of the estuary. As a result the rivers are where most anglers are chasing fish, and that means good access for land-based sport as well.

Heavy metal?

Here in the Gippy Lakes, it seems everyone wants to tie on a blade. That’s only if you can buy them, because at the moment they are in short supply. About 18 months ago I was lucky enough to try out some Evergreen blades called Littlemax lures, in 1/8oz. They were one of the first of these vibration plugs on the market here and have unique ‘w’ hooks that are very snag resistant.

I am still getting my head around how bream are so eager to hit such a heavy, hard and madly vibrating lure! It seems such a complete opposite of the heady days when soft plastics ruled the roost due them being so lifelike and, well…soft!

Bream

Neil Morrison has had great success over the last few months getting some impressive tallies of bream on black coloured blades. His son Rick has joined him, and together they have been working the rivers. The best sport has been in shallow waters of 1m or less.

A good place to start is at the mouths of the Mitchell and Tambo rivers as they are fairly clean at the moment, with good flows of fresh water. Neil was returning 10-15 fish a session, with some bream just over 41cm. Rick was catching a few as well, but it seems the Old Man was showing off again. At one stage the boys even trolled the metal blades while cruising along with the electric motor, and even then the bream still crunched the blades.

Acoustic tagging

In the last issue I mentioned the acoustic tagging study of bream and perch undertaken by Jeremy Hindell and Joel Williams. I was unable to join them in their fieldwork, but I did go for a look with a tackle box full of metal blades.

My second fish was a nice 34cm perch that surfaced with a yellow t-bar tag in its shoulder. I also noticed a small cut on its flank where the boys had inserted an acoustic tag. Of all the EP swimming in the Tambo, what are the odds of me recapturing one of their study fish? I landed a modest six bream and perch for the five-hour session and found it quite strange that the fish were taking the heavy blades in less than 30cm of water. Who said these lures were mainly designed for deep water jigging?

By-catch

There are also other fish snapping up the blades of anglers chasing bream. Luderick and perch are turning up as a regular by-catch, along with a good number of flathead, which is not so surprising.

Anthony Havers horsed in some cracker luderick recently while looking for bream, and for a species that mainly feeds on weed, it’s again a great endorsement for just how effective blade lures are proving on all sorts of fish at the moment.

Bait fishing

Frozen prawn is also accounting for a lot of bream in the rivers, and sandworm can now be purchased in some shops. The worm is apparently being pumped from Marlo and sold in Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance.

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