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Snags + bream = mayhem!
  |  First Published: April 2015



The last month or so has gone exactly to plan. The end of summer in most years is unofficially the seasonal start of prime time bream luring.

This year has exceeded all expectations and the action is really starting to hot up. The catalyst to all this great sport has been the salt water now pushing into Lake Wellington. All the other signs are also there, like dolphins and jelly fish around Loch Sport and birds diving on bait up as far up as the Latrobe River. Bream are now holding high up in the water column and now smashing surface lures. Bait anglers are also hooking plenty of bream and flathead in all the usual areas, but it’s time to talk about lure fishing, so let’s get started.

Sinking hard bodies

Snag fishing in the rivers is what the Gippy Lakes are renowned for, especially after the legend of all bream luring, Bushy, weighed in 10 comp fish going just over 14kg in total, all caught on lures. This happened about nine years ago.

Compared to soft plastics, hard bodies are much better suited to working in woody structure because they are less likely to get caught on timber and I rig them with ‘w’ hooks that ride through even dense snags and hardly ever hang me up.

The other trick I employ is adding lead to my bibbed lure and I make them sink at a brisk rate so that I get into deep water before I even start my retrieve. Often my lure is eaten on the drop or my first wind of the reel and the slower and deeper I work my lure, the more I catch.

This bream sport is not for the faint-hearted and the reason you need at least 10lb leaders is because when you feel a hit, pull your rod in the opposite direction as fast as human reflexes will allow with a locked drag! Most battles will be won, but I guarantee you will go home after that mayhem shaking!

The latest hotspots for this action include the upper Tambo and Nicholson rivers, the Mitchell River from the highway bridge right down into the silt jetties, McLennans Strait and even the lower Latrobe River. Over the last 5 trips that I’ve gone snag fishing, my score has ranged between 14-28 bream, with most fish between 37-42cm. I fished with comp anglers Peter Nord, Robert Lee, Michael Newman and Justin Conn recently and although we caught around 30 bream to 44cm, we all came away frustrated and narky from all the bust offs and dropped fish. Key words: “must use 10-16lb leaders”!

For those of you more inclined to work plastics in the same snags then yes, they are working just as well, but try to rig them snag proof. A ZMan motor oil 2.5” grub is the go-to softy.

Blade time again

Bream are also responding to blades a lot earlier this year and I’ve shown quite a few anglers how fish holding in shallow water will smash small metal lures worked at speed. Most times, I find that they attack my blades with spirit while those same fish turn their noses up at soft plastics and hardbodies.

During the middle of the day, I’ve explored much deeper water and pulled in fair numbers of bream to 38cm and as always a nice by catch of flathead around 30cm.

Speaking of duskies, they are a little elusive this year with big scores of them under legal size, so maybe we need to wait another 12 months for them to fill out a bit more.

Surface luring

Now for the exciting news about surface fishing and it’s all about the bent minnows. I've been patiently waiting for this action and praying that it will be as good as last year and so far the signs are excellent.

Mark Ramsay along with Dave and Jack Morris were the first to ring me with the exciting news with dozens of bream taking their lures off the top but at this stage nothing much over 32cm. I always get carried away about bream eating poppers and I realise I’m not the only angler doing it, but fair dinkum, if you don’t give this a crack you are missing out big time.

Target bream with surface lures in the Mitchell River above the highway bridge and down near the Cut, the lower Nicho and Tambo rivers, Paynesville or Metung jetties and especially the shallow lake areas right across the Gippy Lakes from Waddy Point and Loch Sport to Kalimna and Lakes Entrance.

If you can sight fish bream high in the water then throw a surface lure at them. I will have a lot more on this subject next report, because from today onwards my sole purpose in life will be getting bream to eat my bent minnows.

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