Spread out and avoid the crowds
  |  First Published: December 2007

With a new year upon us it’s time to adjust for the holiday masses and search out the spots less fished.

With four rivers draining into the lake it’s not hard to disappear and find a spot worth prospecting for bream and flathead. Early morning starts are the only real way to avoid the holiday crowds and fishing the flats around Sandy or Miles Island is impossible after about 9am.

The weed fringe that extends from near the bridge towards The Paddock has been producing a good number of flathead from 45cm to 55cm. In my opinion these are the ideal eating size and are generally the upper end of the male population.

There is no real reason to take fish over 70cm and I would be more than happy to see Fisheries ban the practice. There is a limit of one fish over 70cm at the moment but on several occasions in the past month this restriction has been breached by persons either ignorant or defiant of the current law.

I know it seems ridiculous to target large flathead if you don’t intend to keep them but many anglers who practise catch and released will do so over the Summer months and will take nothing but a photo while handling the big girls with care.

The clear water and sandy sections of the lower lake, near the bridge, is the place to start looking for the larger flatties and the channel between Miles Island and Little Tern Island is as good as anywhere to start.

Use heads of 1/4oz to 1/2oz with a Gulp Pogy, Jerk Shad or Squidgy Fish and whip the jig across the sandy channels to draw the interest of the bottom-buried fish.

Larger hardbodies work as well, with deep-divers whose bibs hit the bottom and stir up sand quite effective. The only real problem with bibbed lures at this time of year is the amount of loose weed that runs out with the tide.

The huge volume of boat traffic plays havoc with the seagrass and the shallowing channels will be of some concern for those not used to the lake.


The bream should be well and truly distributed through the lake and its tributaries by now and even the Wallamba River should be clear enough to fish to good effect.

Above Shalamar it is possible to find shoals of legal flathead on the shallow bends and some big bream on the snag-lined banks.

In the Wallamba River the topwater bream bite really goes off with a stiff breeze so don’t be put off by the wind, use it to your advantage.

Bream are available in the racks and flats but finding the fish can be a little difficult due to their being spread throughout the system. Poppers, hardbodies, soft plastics and bait – your pick.

A surface lure that will really get the bream and whiting toey and reckless is the Jackson T-Pivot. It’s only a small 35mm banana-bent surface lure that drives the fish absolutely mad.


The game fishing has hotted up with some striped marlin, small blacks and cobia caught close in with yellowfin tuna around 15kg being caught out wide. The warm currents can be fickle but daily checks of the web charts will give you a good idea of the trends and help forecast where to head.

There are plenty of bonito around and, of course, they are always being eaten by bigger critters.

Snapper and pearlies are knocking around the closer reefs and sand flathead are building in numbers to keep the club fishos happy. The FAD is back in position and is producing some small mahi mahi and as the fish find it again, it should have a few kings making stops along the way.

The beaches have good populations of whiting and the odd school jew with small whaler sharks always possible. Live worms are the go for the beaches and should be available at Great Lakes Tackle.

After an extensive fish kill in the freshwater a few years ago, the upper reaches of the Wallamba River experienced significant damage to bass stocks but it has rebounded with fish around 35cm being more common.

The weedy freshwater sections need to be fished with surface lures like Jitterbugs, Lucky Craft Sammys or Bevy Pros. There are pockets of clear water but don’t count on finding too many.

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