Slurp, sip, glug, suck and kiss! These are just some of the noises that black bream make while trying to eat surface lures and it's the most addictive fishing the Gippy Lakes can provide!
Slowly but surely the bream are starting to rise and attack topwater lures but soft plastics are still accounting for most fish at the moment. Flathead have finally woken up, luderick are on the chew and the perch are back in the rivers. It's a great time of year now and plenty to talk about.
Bream on the flats
The sight fishing for bream is now a real feature for lure anglers and there a days when big solitary bream can be seen cruising the shallows all day. You need to be selective in the areas you choose to fish at this time of year and the best hours to be on the water are, as usual, an hour before and after dawn. Not just because the fish are active, but you also beat any wind before it sets in for the day. Quite often you will observe a few bream sipping or slurping down shrimp, baitfish or small prawns and although you may not see the actual fish, by casting in that area, will often induce a strike or at the very least an active follow.
Some mornings the bream will totally refuse to eat any form of topwater lure and we will never know why! The good news is that you will discover this with your very first half a dozen casts or so. If these initial searchings fail to get a surface strike, then quickly go to a sub-surface plastic or hardbody and don't waste too much time trying to talk bream into rising up. If you find that bream eagerly eat those lures then periodically try your surface lures again and don't forget to give it long pauses.
You also need to ready yourself for a big flathead to come from nowhere and monster your lure as these explosive surface strikes can scare the living ‘be-geeeezus’ out of you! Right now, you need to target areas like Metung, Bancroft Bay, Nungurner, Nyerimlang and Kalimna. The odds of finding a big aggressive yellowfin bream are also increased at this time and so be sure to beef your leaders up a little.
While on the subject of those last few hotspots just mentioned, the very same areas will also become the focus for flathead. You can also throw in areas like the North and Cunningham arms. Start your lure search close up near the bank side and as the morning rolls on, search out in deeper water even down to 3-4m.
Big blade lures and heavily weighted soft plastics to 90mm are all the go and search fast! Cover heaps of water and find out where the flatties are hanging out and if you locate fish, then slow your retrieve down.
The really big duskies between 85cm and maybe even a metre will probably be caught by the very few anglers left in this world who live bait with mullet. I don't care what anybody says, I have seen dozens of huge flathead totally ignore a lure but those same fish rarely give up the chance at scoffing down a fat mullet struggling with a size 3/0 hook pinned in its back. Make yourself aware of the new size slot limits for dusky flathead, the bag limit remains the same at 5 fish per angler. Also, don't be fooled into thinking that fish caught so close to the mouth of the Gippy Lakes are the yank flathead. I can guarantee you that 99% of every flatty you catch will be a dusky, so treat them all as such to avoid breaking the regulations.
Just a quick mention of a species I often ignore but should probably talk about more often. Recently I stayed at Paynesville for 4 days enjoying some time with the missus bike riding, kayaking and romancing! We walked around the jetties and it was good to take time, stop and talk to a few anglers. A cagey old luderick angler was enjoying some terrific fishing that really opened my eyes. I spied on him from a distance and saw him lift in some cracker fish, using weed under a float. Some of the luderick looked better than 35cm and it got me thinking about how very few people know about the numbers or sizes of these fish that call the area home.
I've bumped into a few good-sized luderick on blades here over the years and I can recommend trying the jetties of Paynesville and Raymond Island to those of you unsure about trying the area. When I finally approached the wily old angler and asked him how the fishing was, he replied with a very short and sharp... "No bloody good". Now that reply actually confirmed to me that the luderick fishing there must be better than good!
As far as other bream angling is concerned, I have to steer you back to the Tambo. The lower areas of the river towards the mouth can be accessed by land-based angles from both sides and sandworm has proved so deadly there.
Very keen and astute Maffra anglers Peter Weir and Warren Bertram have told me about big numbers of bream with each visit they make to the area and the only problem is having enough bait to wade through the dozens of smaller bream and catch a few better size fish for the table. A big crab or a bunch of live shrimp might help to keep the juveniles at bay while frozen prawn seems to be ignored at the moment.Reads: 1530