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River runs clean and full of bream
  |  First Published: December 2015



The El Nino weather pattern is starting to really bite into summer. The last few months have historically been some of our wettest, but this year the rain has not arrived.

This is bad for farmers, but good news for bream anglers. The rivers are clear and salty and that means outstanding lure sport and things will only improve into the holiday season. Bream are already turning up out in the lake margins and the dusky flathead will be on their spawning run down to Metung and the Kalimna areas. It’s time to explore some fishing options for the holiday season ahead of us.

The Mighty Mitchell

One river that has dominated reports over the last six weeks now is the Mitchell. The amount of bream found almost along its entire length from the Silt Jetties to the Wyung Bridge has been astonishing.

Bait anglers have really cleaned up while using fresh sandworm with most anglers easily scoring bag limit numbers of bream from 28-34cm.

The two standout areas have been right in town between the two Bairnsdale bridges and down at The Cut. It was exciting to see a few of those same anglers thoughtfully return a number of bigger breeding bream around 40cm. I was quick to congratulate them and what a joy to see people happy to catch and release big fish.

Local sandworm has been the prominent bait by far and an $8 box of worm will still get you an impressive score of bream. Such is the number of bream in the river at the moment – I don’t think it really matters where you try.

If you’re land-based keep an eye out for where the locals are setting up, but I’m sure you will enjoy exploring new areas. Be sure to have a few baits out wide in the river and also try a few in closer to the edge.

We are blessed to have such a healthy river full of legal sized bream and I’ve hardly seen a scrap of rubbish or abandoned fishing line anywhere. A real credit to our fishing community.

Lure fishing

The lure sport in the Mitchell has been outstanding. This can be a very tough time of year for those chucking soft plastics and hardbodies but the spring of 2015 has been one of the best we have encountered for years. I’m predicting this summer will be even better.

Cranka Crabs have been doing their tricks on big bream down at Eagle Point for those searching the deeper edges.

I’ve explored the upper reaches of the river in the township, right where all the fruit bats live. It’s amazing to see so many flying foxes while hooking up to bream in the snags. I was using the brand new Hurricane Kaplunk lures and I was actually trying to catch estuary perch when the bream turned up instead. Over a couple of hours I scored a modest eight bream to 35cm but it was a joy to see this new lure work a treat.

And yes, let me declare my hand in having a lot to do with developing this hardbody but at last all lure anglers can now get their hands on a deadly tool that I’ve used for over a dozen years. It’s a fairly fast sinking bibbed hardbody and a perfect edge lure that is fitted with ‘w’ hooks to beat the snags.

Each day can be different so I work the Kaplunk lure at deeper and deeper drop offs until I find the fish. During one session I easily got bream with this hardbody but a few days later I went back to the same area and could only hook the bream on a Z-Man 2” GrubZ in amber colour. Funny critters those fussy bream, especially around spawning time.

Other lure anglers out boating are also reporting in with impressive stories of big bream taking slow twitched hardbodies out on the Mitchell Flats and around the mouth of the Nicholson and Tambo rivers. This shallow water lake fishing is happening much earlier than any other year in recent times. This is no doubt due to the lack of rain and much warmer late spring weather.

Paynesville

My boy Jack came out for a session on the bream and in all his 18 years he had never been bait fishing! I'd only ever taught him how to lure fish and it was time dad showed his son all about bream on sandworm.

We used a small jighead for our sandworm bait and it proved a much better hook up rate than a running sinker rig or any other bait rig for that matter.

We had a lot of fun in the kayaks dropping bait down between the boats and pylons around the Paynesville jetties and with the score at 26 bream returned, we called it a day.

Getting back to the basics was a heap of fun and so with the school holidays nearly here, I reckon it’s time to get the kids out jetty fishing. There are still plenty of bream at Metung and Paynesville or try the lower reaches of the Tambo or Mitchell Rivers, so get out there.

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