Gippy firing for holiday season
  |  First Published: December 2016

December is the month when we welcome warmer weather and anglers start to get very busy. It’s with good reason too, because the bigger bream are now feeding in the shallows along with some large hungry flathead.

As the Christmas holidays draw closer, I thought I’d go through a few tips for family fishing and also a couple of ideas for keen bream anglers looking for a few stud bream.

Flathead time

This month is when we start to really celebrate the true summer awakening of the Gippy Lakes dusky flathead. Historically, the really big girls up to 90cm and beyond are caught from now through to the end of January. The prime spots include the area from Metung right down to Kalimna and up into the North or Cunningham arms.

If you’re serious about chasing really big flathead, then you have to upsize your lures or use big live baits. Big 6” plastics are the go with 1/4-1/2oz jigheads to work the deeper areas thoroughly.

Try the shallow water early morning and then move out into the depths as the sun rises up towards lunchtime. I’m always surprised how huge flathead will totally ignore smaller plastics or metal blades but when you fish the same area with much bigger lures they wake up and attack aggressively. You will also be shocked at how even small flathead around 40cm will take on big lures.

Live baits like mullet or even small garfish are also very deadly on big flathead, so if you have always wanted to explore this sort of fishing for monster duskies, now is the time. The great thing about using live fish for bait is that you could also hook a surprise mulloway or kingfish.

Horse bream

The spawning season is now done and dusted and some great reports of bream in the shallow lake margins are starting to trickle in. This is the time of year that a lot of bream come back down out of the rivers and fatten up after the breeding season.

Early morning is the prime time and slow worked shallow running hardbody lures will trick even the smartest bream. Lake Victoria becomes a real bream hotspot about now and the areas to concentrate on are Lady Bay, Emu Bight, Mason Bay and Wattle Point. If you can find clear water, then be careful not to spook the schools of big bream that will be feeding in the skinny water. Slowly drift into the shallows and look for structure like logs and weed beds.

Surface lures can be surprisingly effective at this time of year and will even work during the middle of the day. Bent minnows are the number one topwater lure for bream and I usually start of using smaller bents like the 66mm models. Work them with short sharp rips and plenty of long pauses. Unweighted soft plastics are also the go with the ZMan 2” GrubZ in chartreuse and amber colours my first choice with plastics.

Yellowfin bream

December is also the time to start looking for the ever-increasing numbers of yellowfin bream that are now calling the Gippy Lakes home. The saltiest water from Kalimna up to Bancroft Bay is the best area to chase these hard-fighting bream. Use small blades and work them faster than you would when trying to catch black bream, because the yellowfin are a much more aggressive predator. Don’t be at all surprised if you start finding big yellowfin bream well into the mid 40cm bracket.

Pinkie snapper

I’m tipping that once again, the lower section of the lakes will be inundated with hoards of juvenile snapper as the water warms up. For some reason, they love hanging around the Metung area and most of them are around 25cm, but you will often find a school of bigger pinkies to 34cm and they make a welcome addition to the days tally.

For those keen to try for even bigger snapper to 65cm and over, then anchor up down near Kalimna and work large baits an hour each side of the tide changes. A few locals get the biggest snapper there at night, and not many people are aware of just how good a snapper fishery the eastern area of the lakes can be.

Merry Christmas to all, and a very fishy New Year!

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