Perfect Patterson River system
  |  First Published: December 2016

The Patterson River system, or Carrum as it is better known as by every snapper fisher in Melbourne, is the gateway to Port Phillip Bay snapper fishing and its estuary system and lakes’ system out the back is one of the most reliable but very challenging bream fishery the state has to offer.


Chasing bream on lures in the lakes’ system is what really gets lure casters going. Fishing the warmer months when the fish are active and can be seen flashing and mooching on the abundant boat hulls and pylons is when the fishing is at its best, but also at its most challenging.

The fish you can normally see are the ones that are the hardest to catch, but knowing there are fish active and feeding will keep you casting into the shadows hoping to hook the big one.


Standard bream fishing gear or estuary tackle is more than suitable while bream fishing the structure. A light graphite rod matched with a 2000 sized reel will do the job. Just remember to tighten up the drag and don’t go easy on the fish around structure or you will lose the fish and lure if you give them an inch.


Long light leaders for spooky finicky bream is the key when lure fishing for bream in the lakes’ system. Bait fishing the main river with a light running sinker rig and a size 4 baitholder hook is as good as any rig when targeting them on bait.


Bait fishers love to use sandworms, freshwater yabbies and fresh mussel. A few go-to lures are the Ecogear SX40s when fishing rock walls and flats. Smith Crystal Alives when targeting bream in deeper water on pylons and boat hulls as well as Strike Pro Micro Vibes. For an all-rounder, OSP Bent Minnows are deadly and when the fishing is tough generally turns a slow session into a good session. 


Casting parallel to rock walls and working hardbodies along the bank is a very effective way to catch bream. For fish that you can see actively feeding on pylons and boats hulls then a small light sinking hardbody or vibe are deadly. Cast the lure to the feeding fish, watch your lure sink down into the depths and normally the fish will follow the lure down out of sight. Then wait for the line to take off and come tight, then strike. If only it was as easy as that!


As you are fishing in people’s backyards just remember to have a bit of respect for their property and don’t go damaging any boats/pontoons etc. The more damage that is caused by anglers, means cranky home-owners who will try to put a stop to fishing this wonderful system. So make sure your casting is up to scratch before venturing in and casting lures at people’s belongings. 


This system is better fished on a weekday than a weekend. Due to the fact that there are plenty of boats that patrol up and down the river and in through the system just for a casual cruise. Plenty of boat traffic means spooky shutdown fish a lot of the time and can make things really tough. But when fished on a quiet midweek morning, it isn’t uncommon to catch 20 fish in a session and have a really hot bite for most of the day.


Carrum has exceptional boat ramp and parking facilities.


There are lots of opportunities for land-based fishers.


Patterson River is a very popular spot with plenty of boats patrolling the system.

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