As expected at this time of year, the flathead have returned to the lakes. As the rivers start clearing up from recent rains, the bream have become the standout catch with some astounding lure fishing sessions.
Mullet and garfish are also around in fair numbers in all the streams, while the lakes are still producing a few flathead for those putting in the time.
The increased flow of fresh recently has had a big effect on all three rivers. The Tambo was the first to start running a little dirty. This definitely pushed any remaining flathead well down the rivers, if not into Lake Victoria. The upshot of all of this though, is that with such a valuable injection of fresh water into the whole system, all looks good for a successful bream spawning event this spring.
Already the bream are showing up in terrific numbers. The Mitchell has been fishing the best for large fish to 47cm and the Nicho has seen plenty of bream above the railway bridge.
I recently put in a day fishing the area using pink Squidgy Wrigglers, and Outback hard-bodied minnows. I experienced some of the best lure fishing for bream I’ve had in years. I caught 19 bream to 46cm including four over 43cm. Incredibly, I didn’t see a fish under 36cm. After a few photos I released all these beautiful breeders, and a single 38cm estuary perch.
On a second trip, I had a mind-blowing session, landing 17 bream in the first two hours! I went on to land 24 bream for the morning with most fish around 35cm. All were caught on hard bodies. I did manage one cracking 44cm fish that weighed 3lb 11oz on my digital scales – a really heavy bream for its size!
On a third trip I put a big day in, fishing from dawn till dusk for 34 bream! This time I caught a few smaller fish ranging from 28cm right up to 44cm. All fish were caught on hard bodies.
Peter and Paul Spehr were also on the water casting 6” Camo worms at the bream. They put together some incredible tallies over two sessions. The first trip saw them return a mind-boggling 38 bream! Interestingly, one fish was a recapture and the tag details have been forwarded to VICTAG.
On their second outing I rang the boys at lunchtime and they’d already returned 30 bream, with five hours on the water to go! I was too scared to ring them at day’s end. The final tally may have been beyond belief! The largest of the bream measured 47cm with very few under 34cm.
Phil Smallman from Melbourne took his son Tim to the Gippsland Lakes area recently using hard body lures and soft plastics. They too have enjoyed some terrific action. They explored all the rivers and searched well upstream to find the bream. After numerous casts into shallow water, Phil finally came up tight on a good bream – a new personal best of 43cm, weighing 1.51kg. The lure he used was a Gulp 2” Grub in Pumpkinseed rigged on a Squidgy resin head.
Tim also managed a milestone, landing his first on a softy, again with the 2” Gulp Grub. It was a nice bream of 750g. Phil mentioned that other anglers were catching big bream too. Three standouts were fish of 43, 46 and 47cm. It was good to hear that all were released.
The dolphins have really made the Strait their home in recent times and there are now 30+ of them residing in the area. They seem to patrol the length of the Strait and its common to see them three or four times in a day’s fishing.
The flathead have well and truly disappeared and seem to have made way for the first wave of yellow eye mullet. The only problem is getting sandworm, which has been in very short supply of late. Try small pieces of prawn or pipis instead.
Mick Selzer and Ritchie Eagan have been putting in a few days with the lures and found the going a little tough. They still managed to find a few good bream though. On their last trip, Mick returned three nice fish around 38cm and also dropped a few. Perseverance pays off for these fellas because they always catch and release a few bream each trip.
One morning I bumped into one of the local professional anglers working Lake Victoria and he showed me where the flathead were congregating out in the shallows – a large area just west of Wattle Point. There are big numbers of good fish to 50cm in about 1m of water. Be warned though – the fishing will be slow, as these flatties are not really responding to lures or bait like they would over the warmer months.Reads: 1100