Bream and bass on the boil
  |  First Published: February 2014

Now is that magical time of year when the weather settles down and the hottest months are ahead of us. Flathead are hungry after spawning, whiting are starting to peak and best of all the bream are up in the shallows and looking for anything that moves! It's also a busy time for those of us chasing prawns and flounder

There is plenty of bass news as well and these fish look like making a regular appearance in my reports now.

Bream start to fire

It seems like an eternity but bream anglers are now starting to see some much better results, especially with lures because the perfect angling scenario is now with us. It's that time of year when you can sight cast for bream and also target them with surface lures.

There are times when bream are right up in the shallowest of waters digging holes and they will be hungry; not just for shellfish, they will happily eat nearly any lure put in front of them. The trick is to find them, so you need good polarising sunnies and look for shallow banks with multiple fresh bream digs. Even if you can't see fish at the time, return to that area at first light the next day and expect tight lines.

If you see feeding or cruising fish then make a strategic cast so that when the lure lands it will not spook them and then slowly bring the lure into their field of vision. Sometimes the lure will scare the hell out of them and that's the last you see of your quarry, but then sometimes you will witness pure joy when a big bream will swagger over and engulf your lure like it was a wounded prawn.

It's fair to say this sight fishing is hard to master and it may take hours to find where the fish are feeding but you can always blind cast while you are looking.

Surface action

One of the best searching tools for shallow water bream is a surface lure like a Bent Minnow. Cast it out as far as you can across shallow water and work it fairly quickly. Often you will see the head of a bream push a wave of water up behind the lure and sometimes smash the lure with real aggression.

If the fish turns off the lure then stop winding immediately. Wait a few seconds and start a few slow twitches because the bream will still be there looking at your lure like a dog with pricked ears. When you least expect it the fish will most likely crunch your lure and you will start giggling like a little kid! It has to be the best bream fishing fun anyone can have.

The biggest mistake a lot of people make is to wind faster when the bream first appears behind the lure. More often than not they will lose interest or even spook so always remember slower is always better.

You may also be shocked with your possible by-catch when surface fishing because I often have flathead smashing my top water lures and also the odd whiting and estuary perch.

Where to?

The best places to find this shallow water bream sport are well known, like the Mitchell Flats, out around both sides at the mouth of the Tambo River, Duck Arm, Raymond Island and the edges of the Silt Jetties. Lesser explored country includes the lower Nicholson River downstream from the ramp and the vast sand flats around Metung and Bancroft Bay.

All these areas will work well for bait anglers but no matter your technique, always plan to be on the water as early as possible. Even in the dark of morning will be deadly; it also means you avoid those nasty easterly winds that rise around lunchtime.

Aussie bass

Just a quick mention about the incredible bass fishing that is now playing a big part of the Gippsland area. Nearly half a million bass have been stocked into this area over recent years and it’s all starting to have a fantastic impact. I'm talking about guys releasing 10-50 bass a session, mainly using lures but also ordinary old worms.

Rivers like the Nicholson, Tambo and Mitchell have received another 10,000 bass this year. Both Lake Glenmaggie and Blue Rock are fishing hot and it looks like they will become well established bass fisheries. Their stocking has become a huge success and most of the fish caught are each side of 30cm with some closer to 40cm. We expect them to grow a lot bigger yet and I even anticipate some well-organised competitions to start in the next few years, just like the huge bream comps around.

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