Get a grip on Gippy Bream
  |  First Published: July 2009

Large, nasty, angry and cranky fish! It’s the only way to describe the run of big bream the Gippsland Lakes have turned on over the last month or so, and that trend looks set to continue.

The start of the spawning run up into the rivers over the next few months will be much anticipated by bait and lure anglers alike. It’s nice to know that everyone returns big breeding bream these days, so have the camera handy for some rewarding photos and release shots. There are a few standout hot spots at the moment including right along the Mitchell River and the lower Tambo River.

Paynesville jetties are fishing well and to get out of the wind, try Newlands Arm and Duck Arm. Down near Metung try Shaving Point and Bancroft Bay with Chinaman’s Creek and Boxes Creek well worth a look.

Not into bream? There are still plenty of flatties around and they are still well up in all the rivers. Salmon, tailor and mullet are all coming on the chew and a few big luderick are being caught around the popular jetties.

Bountiful bream

Looking back, it is now a little strange to think there was talk about a bream crisis just a few years ago and it’s fair to say those who were making all the noise were at least very concerned, but maybe a little ill informed. Many older anglers will still claim that the Gippy Lakes do not fish as well for bream as years gone by. That may be true but almost impossible to now measure.

All I can tell you is that during the last five years I have had some unbelievable lure fishing for bream and a lot of other anglers will back me up on that. My last four days out on the Gippy Lakes have produced some stunning bream to 43cm and on each occasion I’ve returned between 15-30 fish and most are over 35cm. I also watched a mate horse in a few to 45cm as well and we got them all on small suspending hardbodied lures. The slower we retrieve the more hits we get and when the hardbody is left dead still, that’s when you are fishing the lure at it’s very best and when the bream are more likely to crunch it.

Twitching surface lures across the top is still catching me bream even in the depth of winter. If you’re game you should try for some surface action but don’t expect quick results as it takes a long time to work this method out successfully on bream.


Neil Morrison has also been doing his own tricks with sinking metal blade lures and has put together some very big tallies. He slowly cruises along under his electric motor and jigs a blade out the back of the boat, working it along the bottom almost trolling it! Every so often he gives the lure a vigorous lift or jerk to give it added movement. It’s quite a unique style of lure fishing for bream and he has been returning tallies of 30 or 40 fish in short four-hour sessions.

It’s interesting to note that soft plastics and other sorts of lures fished deep are hardly turning a fish and the bream are really only interested in hitting the blades. Most fish caught at all the bream comps these days are also falling to blades and competitors spend hours ‘tea bagging’ or jigging the depths. It’s quite amazing to think that if you suggested this style of fishing a few years ago, anglers would laugh at you for throwing hunks of metal at bream. What amazes me even more, is that in a few years time we will no doubt have another amazing new lure and technique to trick bream and blades will become a has-been!

big Bream boat

Speaking of bream comps, I want to tell you about a new boat a mate of mine has imported from the US, which will give you an idea at how far bream fishing has come over the last decade. Matt Leach is now the proud owner of a $52,000 Blazer 210 Pro V. It’s just over 6.6m long with a hand laid hull and unlimited horsepower rating. The motor is a 3.3l, two-stroke Yamaha with a whopping 250 horsepower! This impressive bream boat can fly along at over 140km per hour and Matt put the boat to good use recently in the Gippy Lakes. He flew up and down the lakes and caught a nice tally of bream to 42cm from the Mitchell River all the way up to Lake Victoria. Keep an eye out for Matt’s new boat, but don’t blink – you’ll miss him!

Feral anglers face fines

I want to make mention of an ugly fishing offence uncovered a little while ago in my area. Three Melbourne men pulled over by traffic police during a road blitz between Bairnsdale and Stratford and will face charges of illegally taking black bream.

Police searched the vehicle after it had been stopped and allegedly found 108 bream in the boot. Fisheries Officers were called to question the men and they found 81 of the fish to be below the legal size. Fishing equipment worth about $500 was seized by Fisheries Officers and the men will be charged on summons with various offences including taking undersized fish and exceeding the bag limit, which is ten a day.

It’s nice to know that those ignoring fishing regulations are not getting away with it. The sad thing of course is that some idiots are still doing the wrong thing intentionally. It used to be considered un-Australian to ‘dob’ someone in. These days I reckon we should all go out of our way to put a stop to these feral anglers and anyone who suspects illegal fishing activity is urged to call the 24-hour reporting line 13-FISH (13 3474).

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