Don’t shirk the shrimp
  |  First Published: December 2008

I’ve been talking to a lot of local bait anglers recently. They are having some great success, with shrimps being the standout bait for bream. The flathead numbers are still well down on years gone by, and it seems in the cycle of boom and bust the duskies are a bit like our economy – they have gone into a depression.


Chris Ware and Sue Stone are a couple that fish hard and often. They prefer lure fishing these days but like typical hardcore anglers, they are more than happy to get back to some grass roots bait fishing when needed.

Such was the case on a recent trip to Hollands Landing, where the dirty water was not looking lure friendly at all. Chris dropped a few traps into the water for a few hours and collected a heap of large shrimps. Incredibly he also found a lot of good-sized prawns in the traps. I’ve not heard of prawns in the Straits before and certainly not this early in the season, or at that size.

Chris landed a dozen ripper bream to 42cm and missed a heap of bites. He fed the shrimps onto a rather big 3/0 hook and although that may seem a little unconventional, he certainly avoided messing around with any small fish. No wonder he missed hooking so many bites, but this was part of his strategy.

You see, he also said that all the fish he landed were mouth or lip hooked. This was another bonus as he releases all his bream.

Other bait anglers fishing near by with frozen prawn were failing to turn a fish. Chris was kind enough to donate a few shrimp and then watched them happily hook a few bream.

Nicholson River

I put in a few hours fishing the Nicho recently and started off using a small hardbodied lure. I hooked a 32cm bream on just my second cast and returned two more over the next hour. With the fishing a little slow, I changed lures to a soft plastic and tied on what I thought best represented a shrimp.

I started getting more hits immediately on the Lunker City 2.5” Fin-S plastics, in the black ice colour. This has been a deadly plastic for me over many years now and is pretty much off the radar in lure fishing circles these days. With most bream taking shrimp baits at the moment, get hold of these soft plastics if you are into flicking lures.

I also landed a few flatties around 40cm. The best fishing on the day was just downstream of the highway bridge.

Mitchell River

The catchment of this river received a lot of rain recently and was flowing very hard and coloured for a while. The fresh water will breathe more life into this system in the long run.

Bream and perch have been the dominant catch, with the odd flattie to 50cm. I launched my ’yak at the back of the township the other day and went for a paddle upstream. Although I failed to turn a fish in two hours, I bumped into a couple of locals that had released a lot of small perch of 25-32cm.

Talking to other anglers back at the ramp, the hotspot for bream and flatties is apparently down at The Cut area, where land-based anglers are doing just as well as the boaters.

A lot of bream are being caught on shrimp baits at the moment. This small Lunker City soft plastic is a good lookalike if you’re trying to lure up a few bream.

Reads: 1936

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