Prime time for bream action
  |  First Published: April 2017

This report is mostly about those famous Gippy Lakes bream. It seems like every year about this time I keep raving about the best bream fishing and I suppose I better stick to that tradition. I have received so many pictures and stories of big bream, I’m at a loss where to start!

Maybe it’s because the perfect stable weather has more anglers fishing and reporting in with grand stories. Some of the messages keep my head shaking with disbelief. Here are some of the pictures and reports from those keen anglers to showcase recent captures and what we can expect in the coming weeks.

Bait fishing

First up, I’ll make special mention of an angler who has defied the odds and is truly dedicated. I can’t believe his drive to catch big bream. All of his fishing is land-based and think of the time he must set his alarm for! It’s best I let Mick Edwards explain via his message sent recently; “I’ve been to Hollands Landing and we got there at 2am and fished until 9am, three days before the full moon.

“We caught stuff all in the dark, but just after sunrise the bream were smashing the live shrimp that I was getting in the bait trap. I then pulled a live mullet out of the trap and attached a 4/0 circle hook to it. Soon after, I nearly lost my rod, but grabbed it in time to land a stonker 43cm bream. On another trip we landed seven big bream with the smallest 35cm all caught on live bait.”

First of all Mick, I have to say how proud and impressed I am with you fishing from 2am! That’s a first in my book. Secondly, there are very few people that fish the Gippy Lakes that have ever caught bream on a live mullet, especially on a 4/0 hook! And lastly, that 43cm fish is actually a cracking yellowfin bream and extremely rare for where you landed it. I’m glad you live in my hometown of Sale, because I’m coming fishing with you!

Lure fishing

While I’m talking up gun anglers I also need to mention Matt White from Stratford. He sent me pictures of big bream all caught on blades in about 3m of water. His best session had 28 bream to 45cm, all caught and released. His wife and two daughters also pull in some really big bream using blades and also his homemade lures. Once again, he has been generally fishing the Hollands Landing area and told me that as long as there was a bit of flow in the water, the blades were working a treat.

Over at Paynesville things are starting to fire up big time. Dave Morris and Steve Hume have told me about working the jetties with lures and pulling in a lot of decent bream. Nearly all of them are 36-42cm. Steve mentioned they had to go down to 4lb leaders to get a bite on plastics and he visually targeted bream high in the water near pylons or under boats. Dave used black blades and got his big bream in the same areas by working the lure very slow right on the bottom.

Raymond Island, Tambo and Mitchell River

I spent four days at Paynesville with my better half and we stayed at Captains Cove Accommodation right on the water with the back door just metres away from our own private jetty. We launched the Hobies there each morning and had no trouble finding big bream, especially around the Raymond Island side or towards Newlands Arm.

The bream would often wallop the lure the second it touched the bottom and my first turn of the reel came up tight. Sadly this also gave the hefty bream time to race around pylons before I could fully load my rod and steer them away from disaster. The Mitchell River is full of bream at the moment and anywhere from the butter factory right down to the entrance is worth trying.

Owen and Dawn Pierce landed over 40 bream on lures near the Grassy Banks with fish coming in of all sizes. The last ABT BREAM competition saw plenty of bags landed from the mouth of the river and all caught on blades. The biggest bream I’m hearing about have been caught in the Tambo River from the boat ramp down to the entrance.

During a recent visit I was unloading the kayak for an afternoon session and one angler was cleaning his day’s catch near the ramp. I saw four impressive fish and he told me two of his bigger bream were 45cm and promptly proved it with a ruler! He said the best bait was live shrimp.

Bass recapture

Here’s some very exciting news about a tagged bass. Matty Leach was in the Tambo River and casting surface flies when a cracking bass of 48.5cm inhaled his Dahlberg Diver. He landed the beast and found a tag in its back. Matty contacted me with the exciting recapture news and lucky I still have the entire VicTag database for all tagged fish.

Sadly the tagging program does not operate now, but I was heavily involved years ago when it was in full swing. It turns out that a keen bass angler, Bryan Matthews, tagged that fish way back in 2004 when it was 43cm. I’ve yet to talk to Bryan for more information. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to hear that the tag stayed put for 13 years. Amazing! It will smash all records I’m sure, for the longest ‘time out’ for a tagged bass.

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