You know the fishing is out of control when the banks of the lower Tambo River are lined with anglers and boats parked everywhere.
The size of the bream is also impressive with countless numbers of fish 1kg or better. The action there dominates this report and over the next few weeks expect to find these same bream moving up the rivers into fresher water looking for their spring spawning grounds. It will be a very busy time ahead for bream anglers and with exceptional river flows it's going to be another bumper breeding season. I'm sure all of us will release most, if not all of these vulnerable spawning fish.
The bait fishing will continue to be amazing and the best by far has been sandworm, followed by frozen prawn and live shrimp surprisingly a little slow. The new cured sandworm bait is a real hit and working just as good as the fresh or live worm and turning up in a lot of shops now. Most anglers who are prepared to fish hard and move around a little have returned home very happy.
I'm hearing plenty of stories of big bream surprising even the keenest hard core anglers and 40-42cm fish have not been rare. The last 500m of the Tambo before it empties out into the lake is where most of the action is and sometimes hard to squeeze in and find a fishing spot! Lure anglers have tried to move in on the Tambo action as well, but for some reason the bream there are ignoring just about anything thrown at them.
Bait has been the key to success in that area for a good two months now and although that action will slow a little, I suspect a lot of fish will still hang around until early summer. Other areas also fishing well using worm or prawn include the Nicholson at the boat ramp, the Silt Jetties and the Metung jetties. My neighbours also jagged some cracker bream to 40cm recently, down at the mouth of the Latrobe River on frozen prawn. This is quite a find due to the high flow of fresh muddy water and truckloads of pesky carp around. It goes to show that big bream can turn up just about anywhere at times.
As for lure anglers it's been all about targeting deep water and that will carry on until late spring I reckon. Hotspots will continue to be the lower Nicholson and Mitchell rivers and the jetties around Metung and Raymond Island. The Strike Pro Micro Vibe is turning plenty of bream especially for those who paint them black and the Ecogear VX blade in almost any colour just as deadly. Without too much effort most lure guys are putting together over 50 bream a session when the bream are biting freely and a more modest tally of 20 or so when they sulk a little.
Early morning from dawn to till about 10am has been the premium bite time and then another flurry of activity an hour before dark. Some days have seen the bream on the chew all day long and returning massive numbers of bream per angler not out of the question. Nearly all of these bream have been between 26-32cm, just big enough to provide good sport.
Bigger bream to 38cm were sitting right up hard on the jetty pylons and responded better to sinking hardbodid stick baits like Shinkus. The bigger bream at the moment are fairly scarce and nothing like the countless numbers of smaller fish stacked up in about 5m of water. Sometimes on the sounder you can see the bream so thick in the water column, the schools look about 2-3m thick.
As always these big mobs need tracking down and they congregate in a few select areas. The fish also move around quite a lot so if you re-visit a recent productive area, don't expect to find them again. They might only move 50-100m but without careful searching it can be the difference between 10 fish or over 50 for the day.
You will notice by now that my last few reports keep making reference to yellowfin bream. This time on jetties and even open water, I have found these great sport fish schooling up. I cast lures alongside a couple of fellas also blading up a big score of bream when all of a sudden the three of us starting pulling up yellowfin with nearly every cast. I pointed out to Lewis Bolton and Russell Stringer that schooling yellas was something I'd never seen before in the Gippy Lakes and it confirms yet again that yellowfin bream are making this part of Gippsland their home.
Mick Gned from Traralgon and his mate Tubby also found a heap of yellas on the day. Between all of us we returned well over 200 bream for the day and I counted 16 of my fish to be all yellas. I'm guessing the other guys caught at least that many again.
Other fish making their presence felt are luderick. A few are turning up on fresh sandworm but I'm getting quite a number taking my blades meant for bream. Some nice fish are turning up too with most of them 32-35cm and its common for me to pick up 3-4 luderick on any given day. They are mainly in the eastern areas of the Gippsland Lakes from the Mitchell flats down to Metung and even bigger numbers closer to Lakes Entrance.
Sometimes a little innovation is needed to trick fish and I found the bream keen to attack this blade and plastic hybrid lure recently.Reads: 1476