Bream are firing for summer
  |  First Published: February 2017

This is the month when the Gippy Lakes bream are feeding around the shallow flats and will sit high in the water column around snags and jetty pylons. In other words, its sight and surface fishing time for both lure and bait anglers.

The flathead have now finished with breeding and are starting to head back up into the lakes. Down towards Lakes Entrance the prawns are running and the whiting are on the go. Between Nungurner and the mouth of the Mitchell River, you can find pinkie snapper, luderick, tailor, trevally, flounder and I’m hearing early whispers about kingfish.

Dusky time

The shallows are now alive with hungry flathead and most fish this year are 38-55cm.

Some huge trophy girls up to 85 or even 90cm have also been landed for people who gear up for them. If you are serious about targeting flathead in the Gippy Lakes, the first thing to do is to use leader materials of at least 10lb breaking strain. Start with about 15lb to give yourself a better chance of landing those real huge duskies for a once in a lifetime photo before release.

Be on the water early and use big plastic lures upwards of 80-90mm. The hotspot areas are still Metung, Nungurner, Nyerimlang, Kalimna or up towards the mouth of the Tambo. Paynesville and Duck Arm are now fishing well and with less boat traffic there, the flatties will sometimes bite all day in the shallows.

Mitchell River

Some of the best action over recent weeks has been in the lower Mitchell River from Two Bells right down to the entrance. Peter Nord and Robert Lee sounded up some big schools of fish and pulled in a swag of bream to 43cm, mostly on blades. Hardbodies also tricked a few.

There were massive schools of yellow-eye mullet swimming around on the surface near the entrance. I threw some small 45mm unweighted plastics at them and failed to get them to bite.

The numbers of mullet this year are quite amazing and I wish I could catch them more often with lures. You can imagine my shock when three bream attacked my surface plastic and they must have been sitting there at the surface in amongst all the thousands of mullet. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this, so always be on the lookout for big mullet congregations. Be aware that bream may be lurking around with them.

While trying to get more bream on surface, I also ran into some big tailor to 50cm. I tried working blades in the deeper sections and was surprised to pull in a few flathead to 52cm and a couple of luderick to 28cm. That’s a really nice mixed bag of species during the one trip.


Don’t be put off by the slightly cloudy water at Hollands Landing because the bream are in the area and taking lures or bait. In fact, the water has cleared up nicely and I managed 14 beautiful bream on a blade recently at the mouth of the Straits with my best two fish going 40 and 43cm. The fishing was all over by 9:00am, but my tip is that we are in for a very big bream season ahead.

The early signs are looking good with salty, clean water conditions developing like most years at the end of summer. Even the dolphins are back and have been spotted at Seacombe. That means a lot of fish must be there for them to feed on. I also reckon flathead will return to the area over the next few months.


Holidaymakers have been out in force chasing prawns and successful reports have been coming in all the time now. This prawning season has already been a great success. Remember, March and April usually see the peak run of really big prawns and numbers as well.

I’ve always chosen the darkest of nights around the new moon to chase prawns, but recently a few anglers have told me different. They never worry about a bright full moon night and some people have told me they prefer this time of month. I’d be really interested in some feedback from anybody who has had success during the full moon period.

Looking ahead

The section of the Mitchell River around the township of Bairnsdale is really firing for bream and a few big perch at the moment. This should continue right into autumn.

The best places to find bream feeding in the shallows at the moment will be the Mitchell Flats, out around both sides at the mouth of the Tambo River, Duck Arm, Raymond Island and the edges of the Silt Jetties.

You should also consider exploring the lower Nicholson River downstream from the ramp and the vast sand flats around Metung and Bancroft Bay. Stay tuned for some news on kingfish, because a lot of us will be out there looking for them like last year around this time.

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