Winter River Bream
  |  First Published: July 2005

Although we are well and truly into winter here in Melbourne now, it doesn’t mean the rods have to be put away for a few months. There are still plenty of options around the bay for anglers to keep themselves busy.

For the bait fisherman, now is the time to get amongst some of the biggest fish of the year. Although the bite is generally not as hot as in the warmer months, the average size of fish certainly makes up for it. The Patterson, Yarra, Maribyrnong and Werribee rivers fish well for big bream in winter. Time spent getting good fresh bait, rugging up and filling the thermos with hot coffee and then heading off to one of these rivers will usually be rewarded with some big bream. These bruisers cruise around at night feeding on shrimps and crabs in close to the banks and structure. They’ll be bulking up now in readiness for spawning over the coming months.

But it’s not only bream that will be about for the big fish fans. The rivers should continue to fish well for mulloway throughout winter also. Live baits of mullet have always been the most consistent producer of jewies around Melbourne over the years. But remember to take a few lures along with you as well. Either hard bodies or soft plastics in sizeable baitfish patterns will produce fish if thrown into their path. Lure casting for jewies also keeps you active, and thus warm, while you wait for one of the bait rods to take off.

I believe that throwing some lures around is a good habit to get into when fishing for jewies. Creating some extra noise and vibration in the area you’re fishing will attract predatory fish keen to check out the disturbance. And if they swim into either a lure or a live mullet I’m sure they’ll have a crack at it.

For those who like to fish out in the bay itself we all know Port Phillip produces a lot of very large snapper over the winter for the dedicated bunch that put in the time and effort. Picking the good weather and fishing out deep with either couta or squid will put you in with a chance of landing a big red. And if you don’t succeed on the first outing, don’t give up. These fish receive very little fishing pressure over the winter months. So don’t stay at home! Rug up and get fishing. You may just catch that personal best you’ve been chasing for years!

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