The weather has been very kind, so no wonder everyone has been fishing so hard. Big flathead have been the real standout fish this month. Bream still seem to have lockjaw, but those who persevere with baits or lures have eventually scored big fish.
As with every year at this time the flathead make their march up the rivers. Chris Hunt and Sandra Richardson spent a week fishing the Nicholson River, where they got onto some big flatties. The biggest were 55cm (Sandra’s) caught on peeled prawn and Chris’ fish at 65cm on a Hurricane Blade. These two fish were caught up river and released after photos. Many more flatties were caught throughout the week.
When it comes to flathead, blade lures out-fish soft plastics five to one. Best of all, while using those blades you can get by-catch of bream, trevally, luderick and tailor. A lot of big flathead have been caught as far up as Lake Wellington in Bull Bay and Roseneath Harbour.
Mark Ramsay and his mate Wayne Morley caught over 30 duskies to 60cm in the area recently during a morning session and kept just a handful for the fang. In my quest to blade up cranky bream in the Straits, I’m also bumping into decent flathead with my best so far at 62cm.
The average size is around 45cm and on most trips, I’m getting between 10-20 that size. The Tambo and lower Mitchell rivers have also turned up a lot of flatties over the last few weeks. Every year around June and July, I remind anglers that dusky flathead often bite the best in the coldest months of the year.
I can never get enough of my favourite sport wrestling out nasty bream from tree snags, jetty pylons or boat hulls. The challenge to win each battle with 12lb leaders, locked drags and gut-busting fights is the order of the day. This is the best time of the year for searching all the upper rivers and the Mitchell provides endless structure. The Nicholson is also one of my favourite haunts and is overlooked by many anglers.
I’m always tinkering with homemade lures or making new and usually very unattractive creations. My latest toy is a hybrid lure that is a cross between a Kaplunk Hardbody and a soft plastic. Mick Selzer was the first to create this and inspired me to make the unsightly, lethal lure. I give him full credit. We cut a weighted hardbody in half and then glued a plastic grub to the back end of it.
Then we attach two ‘w’ hooks and work the lure super deep around fallen trees. It’s probably the ugliest, deadliest lure I’ve ever made. I can work the best snags super slow and extra deep. This lure gets through timber like a bobsled in snow. Recently, this hybrid lure has helped me score some of the biggest fish I’ve caught for ages, with perch to 47cm and bream to 43cm. All you keen lure anglers need to get out and start working the upper rivers.
Looking ahead I’ve got some handy pointers for chasing big bream. Probably the best bream fishing at the moment is in the shallow lake areas. Hotspots at the moment include the lake edges east of Hollands Landing towards Loch Sport and Wattle Point, and the lake shallows out from the lower Tambo, Nicholson or Mitchell rivers.
The biggest surprise is the big bream in Lake Wellington, an area that always fires up around this time of year if the salty water pushes in. This lake is my backyard; I’m amazed and quietly pleased that hardly anyone fishes it. For an area that is roughly 150 square kilometres and full of bream, it’s hard to believe Lake Wellington is virtually unfished.
Mark my words that one day in the future it will gain a reputation that may challenge Bemm or Marlo for chasing big bream. For those interested, a quality boat ramp at Marlay Point is your easy starting point to fish Wellington and you will probably have the enormous lake expanses and endless kilometres of snaggy edges all to yourself.
A big thanks to all the readers sending me fantastic reports and exceptional photos. You not only make my writing job easy, but you also put me onto some good fishing! I’m very grateful – keep the pics coming.Reads: 1268