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Fishing was great before the flooding rains
  |  First Published: August 2013



I have run out of superlatives to describe the unrivalled fishing recently. Well that was before the big rains arrived and turned everything to mud.

At one point I was on the water hooking plenty of big bream and I counted nine mates all around me doing the same! There were also six other anglers nearby so it's fair to assume, the word was out! Some in kayaks others standing in boats but all of us hoisting in cracking bream to 44cm on blades or bait.

For a diehard lure tossing bream junkie, life could not get any better. Bait anglers have also found their rods bent down solid with a lot bream around 40cm for them as well. The better baits have been glassies and those using pilchard pieces also lifting in some bigger bream. Quite a few of those anglers were down to one bait rod because the fish were so thick and hungry. The humble frozen prawn probably as good a bait as any and with sandworm you can also fluke a few mullet and luderick as well.

Interestingly, all the bream I've caught over the last few months have all been full of shell and crunched up barnacles. They often ‘eject’ this grit all over my lap while I'm removing my hooks. Finally, just before all the rain arrived, a few big winter dusky flathead had turned up while we were all out madly blading the depths and I returned at least 15 nice duskies between 50-60cm with a few smaller ones as well.

Metung

One of the recent highlights has been the exceptional number of fish at Metung both on the flats but more so around the jetty pylons. A lot of luderick have turned up as by catch for the bream guys and one mate Justin Dingwall sight fished a nice luderick and fooled it with a well presented soft plastic. That is top sport for sure and when you also watch dozens of bream to 40cm do the same then you can hardly wipe the smile from your face.

The water was clean and almost straight from the ocean but that same area is now all muddy brown. Bream to a massive 2kg had been caught and released here. Tailor and big nasty trevally were also in the mix down at Metung and yet again this year, more yellowfin bream are making an appearance.

Slowly but surely the yellowfin bream are making the Gippsland Lakes part of their range as they move in from eastern waters. Down on the Ninety Mile Beach at Seaspray, Ken Cook tells me some bigger yellowfin bream have turned up for surf anglers as well.

I even caught two small yellowfin bream recently down at Port Albert and my tip is within the next five years we may see their numbers grow extensively. This Metung area will be one of the first areas to clean up and start fishing okay, as all the big rivers come down with cleaner waters after the floods.

Blade-fest

As per usual for chasing the winter bream it has been all about working blades. The lower Mitchell seems to always stack the biggest schools of bream although the lower Tambo might equal that title. Hollands Landing, Loch Sport and Lake Wellington were also very busy hot spots before the floods moved in. Blades are rather deadly in very dirty water so be sure to give them a try. To trick bream on these heavy little lures is not hard once you sort the finer details of technique.

Unless you experiment it can mean the total difference of five bream versus 55 bream for your session. Sometimes you need a very aggressive retrieve while other times it requires a much slower approach with subtle finesse. And then you have all the variables in between those two so be prepared to work at it and let the fish tell you how fast to blade.

And then there's the whole ‘tea-bagging’ thing I'm so often banging on about. This is the deadliest way to trick bream of all sizes in my book and as the name of this technique implies you do not need to cast your blade out very far at all. Drop your offering straight over the side and even better if you can get a slow drift happening. Little tiny hops right near the bottom will pester even the most shut down bream you will find.

Looking ahead

I've spoken little about the big east coast low that drenched Gippsland recently and down came the muddy waters from all the big rivers. Some areas in Gippsland got between 200mm and 320mm over five days. Almost every area got at least 150mm. It sure did spoil what was shaping up as the bream season from heaven.

But we shouldn't let a bit of rain spoil the party and it just means we will now have to work very hard for our rewards. After a big winter flush, historically this can make the bream hungry for bait, but lure anglers are left twiddling their thumbs. It seems the fish feed up big time before they make their spawning run into the upper rivers over the next few months. Now as the waters have settled a bit, I expect to hear about a lot of big bream taking all sorts of baits.

I think the smile says it all! Great fishing before all the floods anyway!

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