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Perch, bream and sea run trout galore
  |  First Published: November 2012



Overwhelming, implausible or staggering. These are just a few words that come to mind when describing the bream and perch action at the moment.

This is a complete turnaround from my last bleak report a month ago and how things can turn around in a few cold windy weeks. I also have an amazing tale of sea run brown trout from the Mitchell River and stories of estuary perch on fly. Remember too that this is the month that large dusky flathead wake up so beef up your leaders and check your reel drags.

Sea runners

It's a well-known fact that brown trout have turned up in the lower sections of the Mitchell River since way back in the 1960's. The trouble is they are rarely caught by anglers. They probably don't exist in huge numbers and their winter or spring run is most likely a brief affair spanning just a few weeks or even days. Nobody really knows. During the recent drought years of the early to mid 2000's some of these fish showed up and were well over 2kg.

I have a terrific story from Neil Morrison who hooked a monster sea runner back in 2003 but was lost at the net. Neil said it was easy 5kg and his pain was eased only when he hooked three or four smaller ones soon after, all around 2kg.

Now for this following report from the Sale Fly Fishing Club. Just recently an angler was parked down on the Mitchell Silt Jetties with a box of sandworm looking for a few bream. Then much to his surprise he landed five brown trout all about 1.5kg! What a story and I wonder just how many of these trout were schooled up? Could there be hundreds of these fish swimming past totally oblivious to anglers like myself who would be keen to mess with them? I would love to get any feedback on this subject and recent pictures a real bonus.

The bream bonanza has begun

The Tambo River. That's all you need to know if you're interested in catching a big stack of black bream.

During a recent visit with Bryan Lazzaro we spied huge schools of large bream that were sitting deep down mid-river and keeping company with smaller luderick. Although we struggled to get them on lures, bait anglers were having no such trouble. On a second visit with another mate we saw even more action from those using prawn or sandworm baits. They were fair dinkum poling them in from the bank and boats anchored in the centre of the river from the Rough road area right down to the boat ramp. The boys with bait were having a ball.

We saw fish going into creels between 30-40cm and most anglers looked very busy re-baiting or unhooking fish. Painfully for those of us throwing blades and hardbodied lures to these fish, we failed to really bother the scoreboard!

I've never seen the bream so thick yet refusing to look at lures. At least during my session with Bryan he put together about eight bream and a luderick on blades while I looked on and went fishless! It made for very frustrating fishing on my behalf and makes for a long drive back home too! However, good luck to the bait anglers and they have certainly hit the jackpot at the moment. I expect this bream action to peak later this month and by then the fish will have probably moved right up into he top reaches of the Tambo so it will pay to search around. At least a few lure anglers have found bream recently with the Painsville area the current hotspot.

Flyfishing for Estuary Perch

At least the estuary perch have been playing fair on lures and this winter and spring has been the best in many years. In fact quite a few of the better known perch streams and estuaries right across Gippsland have turned up incredible numbers of these top sport fish. Massive schools of EP all around 32-34cm have surprised many. Even the Mitchell River has recruited another terrific run of perch and I'm sure they will become even more active as summer rolls around and as usual the highway bridge and the Backwater will continue to produce.

I'm almost too embarrassed to tell you some of my big tallies recently for a six or eight hour session. Only those who know the schooling nature of EP will understand the extraordinary numbers that can be found during a hot lure session.

I've shared a few days out with a couple of mates on the perch and we come away just shaking our heads. With these colossal schools it has provided a chance to use the fly rod. Mick Selzer tied me some beautiful flies and we scored about 20 each during a crazy outing that saw us stack a remarkable tally using soft plastics.

Then two days later with an even bigger tally, Mitch Chapman joined me for an amazing session on fly and we got at least 30 each using small white or green Selzer Smelt flies. We got loads more on soft plastics, hardbodied lures and Mitch even snagged a few on surface lures. The Squidgy 80mm wriggler in Silver Fox was the stand out lure.

They will remain some of the greatest days of fishing for me and so nice to share it with good swampy and trustworthy mates who are as passionate about perch as I am.

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