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Breeding bream get lockjaw
  |  First Published: September 2014



It's that time of year again when bream think far less of eating and more about the need to breed. I'm quite sure they are going about this vital business a lot earlier this year because mature spawning fish have been very reluctant to eat bait or lures.

Smaller immature bream have also been tougher than normal. I put that down to the real cold snap we had about six weeks ago when water temps crashed almost overnight, from the unusually very mild start to winter. All good in theory but the fact is catch rates have been far from pleasing with lure fishing downright impossible.

As far as flathead are concerned, they are 100% shut down now and will probably only show up again about mid November. But I have a plan – I'm going bait fishing!

Bait rules

It's all good news for those willing to put in effort with various baits. Although Hollands Landing now has a high flow of dirty water, most anglers are getting a fair bag of medium-sized bream to 34cm. Fresh or preserved sandworm are definitely working and are by far the best, with frozen prawns or shrimp a poor second.

The bream can be very hit and miss, but put in the hours and you will get results. If your baits have not been taken within 30 minutes then move; it may require a big change of a few kilometres. Even if you are land-based be prepared to pack up and try a new area or maybe even change rivers. The best results will always come from those prepared to put in the effort and all the best bait anglers I talk to tell me that this time of year the bream are often moving around and covering big distances.

So where am I going to try and start bait fishing? I'm told the entire Tambo from the Blue Hole right down to the mouth can produce good bags at the moment and you can cover most of that area land-based as well. The upper Mitchell near the Wyung Bridge has also been fishing really well, with big schools of mullet another bonus. Boat anglers should also try between the two bridges in the Nicho and about 1km either side of this area.

At this stage all the popular lake areas that have historically held bream are not producing a single thing. This will all change towards late November and early December when the bream migrate out of all the rivers.

Lure doldrums

Lure fishing action, and in particular using blades, is just about totally shutdown. Bream are marking up on the sounder within large schools in deeper water across many of the popular areas like Hollands, the lower Tambo River, The Cut in the Mitchell and the upper Nicholson but they have proved far too cranky for most of us chucking every lure known to mankind!

After months of stacking big numbers of quality bream on lure I have now resigned to being a beaten man. Those bream are just way too hard for me to trick at the moment. Far better lure anglers than me keep at it and get a couple of fish here and there and I shake my head in amazement with even the odd bream to 44cm.

My bream gear is getting a bit of dust on it as I get my yearly fix of big salmon down at Port Albert. Call me soft but I only target fish that I know will eat my lure!

Good rain and high flows

The best news is that all the Gippy Lakes catchments have had very healthy inflows and the Latrobe has been in minor flood for at least a month. Even the Nicholson started to run a lot harder with a bit of coloured water and the Mitchell as always came barrelling down from its huge basin. The Tambo also rose a little and so all this water tipping into the lakes means that the 2014 spawning season will be a ripper.

Another factor into the equation is that a solid base of snow has built up onto the hills and it is thick and very widespread. This will also add to the vitality of all systems as the snow is now melting. This water may come down rather cold but it is usually very clean.

crystal ball

So sorry everyone it's hardly an inspiring report this month but I must say totally predictable for this time of year. If I had to pick the toughest fishing months on the calendar it is definitely now through to November. The winds of spring kick in and cold fronts can blow you off the water for days on end.

I had a quick glance into the future at the fishy crystal ball and I saw a few bright lights. I'm really looking forward to chasing those shallow water lake bream when they finish spawning in the rivers because they will be super hungry and aggressive.

The dusky flathead numbers seem to have exploded last year and this summer should prove to be a ripper with plenty of medium sized flatties to 45cm.

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