Hungry bream and truck flathead
  |  First Published: December 2014

Oh the joy! At last some big bream are starting to work the shallows and it's nearly time to break out the surface poppers and bent minnows.

For lure casting fanatics there is no better sport than chasing large bream in skinny water and there's always a chance of tangling with an early season monster flathead. The holiday season is nearly upon us and so it's also time to talk about some summer hotspots.

Bream feeding in the shallows

The lake fishing really fires up during December and it's the time of year when bream come down out of the rivers after spawning and turn up with huge appetites into the shallows of Lake Victoria and Lake King. Even Metung starts to produce good tallies of black bream and the odd big yellowfin as well. Early mornings see the bream cruising around the bank-side edges, so be sure to get on the water in the dark to take advantage of the prime bite time just as the first rays of the sun hit the horizon. Other hotspots at this time of year include the Mitchell flats and right around Raymond Island.

At first light you should try a small bent minnow lure like the Hurricane Switch 66 and give the lure some violent rips to make it twist and turn and then pause it for a few seconds. Bream of all sizes find this irresistible and even if they don't hit the lure they will often follow it for a while. By rising to your surface lure, they give themselves up and by changing lures you can go back in and hopefully trick them into biting.

As the morning brightens up between 7-9am, it's time to try a few Z-man grubs or hardbodied vibes and start working them into slightly deeper water. If all that fails then sink a few blades into the depths when the bream can often take refuge in deeper water during the middle of the day. Early summer can be a real challenge for bream enthusiasts and it's never easy with plenty of windy spells but on the right day some thumper fish can be found.

Bait anglers should also engage the same water depth and time theory as above. At this time of year, live crab or shrimp should be your first choice for the hook and sandworm for back up.

Hobie bream comp

Just a quick mention about the Paynesville Hobie Bream Competition a little while ago. I need to send a big congratulation to Chris Burbidge, who annihilated a crack field of savvy bream anglers during a time when the fish are always notoriously shut down. He was the only competitor to find really big fish when plenty of other guys failed to bother the master. There is nothing more exasperating than flogging away at bream with determined lock jaw and this confronted most anglers during the comp. This made the win all the more meritorious as Chris employed his usual steely resolve to trap the cranky bream and score another inspiring victory. Having fished with him for years now, I can give you these two tips; always be prepared to use lures or methods that nobody else will try and always have 150% confidence in how you fish. Sounds easy, hey?

Dusky flathead

As usual, all it takes is a slight rise in water temperature to get the duskies back on the chew. You will find them anywhere from Paynesville through to Kalimna and as usual the North Arm is also very reliable during early summer. It's that time of year when they head down from all rivers and western lakes area to breed in saltier water. I've yet to hear of any stud flatties over 80cm turning up but these big breeders will be lurking close to the areas mentioned. Big flathead just over 90cm in neighbouring Lake Tyers have been caught for over a month now so the big trucks in the Gippy Lakes will follow suit.

Bait anglers have told me about modest sized flatties between 35-45cm with the odd 55cm fish turning up. Soft plastics and blades are going to score you plenty but live poddy mullet baits will turn up big girls between 70-90cm for sure. Just a reminder, if you are serious about your flathead fishing then get on the water early because duskies bite the best between first light and 9am at this time of year and can feed in very shallow water of just 20-30cm depths.

Oh, and by the way, a Merry Fishy Christmas!

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