Back in black
  |  First Published: February 2009

It seems every time it rains around here the big black bream come out of hiding. After some terrific falls a while back, the rivers have again come to life, just as they did after the great winter floods of 2007.

Big bream

The Mitchell River is the bream hot spot at the moment and fish measuring 48cm have been netted (and lost!) at The Cut area. Land-based anglers using baits of crab have been having too much fun with these trophy fish, but lures are also proving their worth.

Anthony Havers pulled in two nice bream at 42cm using SX-40 lures, but looked on with disbelief as bigger bream fell to a nearby angler using black crab. He then got talking to the angler and watched his rod buckle over yet again, as another bream took the deadly bait.

These bruiser bream were as fat as mud and apparently easily pushing four pounds. You might find it hard to source crab at the moment, but I reckon it is well worth tracking down.

If you’re game, try something different get yourself some striped tuna for bait. Cut into strips, this can tempt those big fussy bream that shy away from prawn or sandworm.

There are also luderick in the Mitchell and they are taking steel blade lures meant for bream along the Silt Jetties.

The Nicho

Robert Harvey, a gun lure angler who lives near the Nicholson River, has been hooking plenty of bream by working tiny 25mm vibes in deep water. He also told me of a bait angler who used prawn to land over 40 bream in a hot session. Although the water had a bit of colour to it, the fish were certainly on the bite. As usual, a bit of fresh water inflow really fires things up in the rivers of the Gippsland Lakes.

The best breaming areas in the Nicho are usually above the railway bridge and especially at the car bodies. There is not a lot of bank access along the Nicho, so a boat is needed to fish the better parts of the river.

In contrast to that report, Dave and Jack Morris worked a heap of lures right up the Nicho recently and only landed one bream. Dave said the water clarity was not lure friendly at all, so maybe try further towards the mouth of the river.

Tambo River

Here’s a great flatty report from the Tambo. I purchased some hot pepperoni from a stall-holder at a recent Farmers Market here in Sale the other day. This guy was packing up hurriedly and urged me to be quick with my shopping, as he had more big flathead to go and catch.

As you can imagine I pricked my ears and before I handed my money over, grilled him for more info. He has been using bluebait right at the mouth of the Tambo and has had to upgrade his leaders to 20lb breaking strain to land duskies up to 65cm. No wonder his 6lb and 8lb lines were getting chewed through, as flatties this big will make short work of that cotton.

He also told me that the secret to hooking them was to keep moving the baits slowly to entice a bite. This is a deadly way to fish and works the bait just like a lure. For those that are boating, try soft plastics on these flatties and, when you find a few, anchor up as they often school together in good numbers.

Hollands Landing

There are a few reports filtering in from Hollands Landing and Seacombe and, although bream numbers are still down, a lot of luderick are biting on sandworm and tiny bits of frozen prawn. The water is still running fairly dirty through the strait and lure anglers are waiting for it to clear after watching the murky water for an agonising 18 months. Live shrimp is still by far the best option for bream in that area.


The summer prawning run will motivate plenty of holidaymakers, with February and March the peak of the season. The best time is around the new moon of each month. You will get a few prawns with a little moon in the sky, but the general rule of thumb is “the darker the night the better”.


Just a quick mention that sandworm is making a comeback in some areas of the lakes, so try pumping your favourite beds if you are into collecting your own bait.

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