With the silly season in full swing I thought I’d put together a rundown of where and how to make the best of fishing the Gippsland Lakes during the holidays.
I’ll also try to accommodate those of you trying to get away from the crowds and suggest some of the best areas for lure fishing as well.
The best area to target flathead over the Christmas break is in the southeast corner of Lake King. The Reeve channel will be a hotspot again this summer and maybe you can get away from the crowds and try the shallows in the area south of Flannagan Island.
Flatties are a schooling fish and can often hang out in big packs where feeding or possibly spawning conditions really suit. So if you catch a flattie, be sure to search the surrounding area thoroughly to find all his mates. Where you see a heap of boats is usually where you’ll find a heap of flathead – word gets out quick.
Up in the North Arm will be your best bet for bigger girls over 75cm but they will get gun shy fairly quickly with the amount of pressure all the boat traffic will put on them so be on the water early. Upgrade your leaders and hook sizes when fishing this area, because last year a few thumpers turned up measuring either side of 90cm.
To beat the stiff easterly winds that always come up over summer and again, to get away from the crowds, try the area from Metung right up to the Nicholson River and concentrate around Tambo Bluff and Swan Reach Bay.
The wily old bream can at times be the greatest of challenges and boy they can get cranky over summer. The Tambo will be the ‘go-to’ area and this river is still living up to its name of the ‘bream capital of Victoria’. Sandworm will keep you busy and is a great bait for the kids as they haul in plenty of smaller models for entertainment value.
Use cut crab or a heap of live shrimp to get bigger fish. Best lures to try are small blades and fish them slow at first with long pauses. If that fails to create interest then try the exact opposite and retrieve them fast and erratically as this sometimes fires up the sleepy shut down bream.
For the really keen lure nuts, maybe pick the best calm early mornings and sight fish for bream using suspending hard bodies around the entrance of the Nicholson River or along the lower Mitchell River down at the cut.
By using a light berley trail you should easily get a heap of mullet on the chew. Sandworm is by far the best bait and look for the tasty yellow-eyes in fairly shallow water just about anywhere from Lake Entrance right up to Loch Sport. I’m still hearing that whiting numbers are down on other years so check with the locals if catch rates have improved. Garfish will also show up as they really respond well to berley and will often feed right on the surface.
It’s prime time now to start seriously prawning: you will see plenty of boats out at night around the new moon phase. And that’s how you do your homework, by seeing just where and at what stage of the tide that the most people are out on the water. Look for all the lights and just park in amongst the crowd.
To get away from all the traffic head into the shallows and wade around on foot and although you wont get as many prawns, you’ll enjoy looking at all the flounder, crabs, seahorses, mullet and other critters. At the very least, wear an old pair of runners and never go barefoot because you just might step on a cobbler. Ask around if you don’t know about these nasty little fish.
This year a lot of small snapper have shown up and surprised plenty of lure anglers closer to the entrance. Big silver trevally can turn up at anytime and schools of tailor will take lures trolled or retrieved very quickly. Luderick will eat sandworm and often attack metal blades aimed at bream and flathead, particularly in the Mitchell River.Reads: 774