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Bream and Flathead galore
  |  First Published: February 2010



The Gippsland Lakes were again host to the latest ABT bream comp and some very hot and windy weather greeted anglers.

Once again impressive bags of fish hit the scales but as usual all lures were worked overtime in this vast system; it can be a daunting place to find bream.

I got on the water during the pre-fish Friday and landed a grand total of one 33cm bream. Just as well I didn’t enter the comp. I did however bump into 15 large flathead while working the shallow margins of Lake Victoria.

The next few months are the best time of year for stable, calm and mild weather so get on the water as often as you can.

The lakes system is in beautiful condition with crystal clear waters right up to Blonde Bay and the rivers are also running clean. Lake Wellington and The Straits are still dirty however and the fishing has been quiet in that area.

Bream

I take my hat off to these dedicated compeition anglers because fishing the Gippsland Lakes can get very ugly during summer. I’m talking about stiff 40km/h easterlies and hot days where the fish can sulk for hours.

Although a few blades were tied on, the boys told me that most bream were landed using small suspending hardbodies in shallow water. That is certainly typical for this time of year but often the hot bite is over by 8am and it leaves little time to hook a few.

Congratulations to Brad Hodges with another terrific win but even more impressively another first placing to the non-boating guru Jordan Trusty. Take up golf will you Jordy – and don’t ever buy your own boat! Special mention to fellow contributor Mark Gercovich who travels a long way from home and always gets into the top ten.

Since the comp a lot of bream have been caught in the lower Mitchell, again in shallow water and early morning the best time by far. Be on the water before 6am and work the snags around The Cut and then move up into the river and fish the rocky edges. The mouth of the Nicholson River is fishing well and some big bream are still right up in the North Arm but are fairly spooky.

With calm weather ahead I reckon your best bet is to cruise around quietly and search for bream by sight. When you start spooking a few, pull up and start fishing: this applies to lure and bait anglers.

Dusky flathead

It has been amazing the amount and size of duskies I have bumped into while searching for bream recently. In fact I have dedicated a few sessions to flathead only and the results have been very rewarding. As usual when looking for duskies the best method is to search with soft plastics.

Luring up flatties is often called one of the easiest forms of fishing but there is certainly more technique involved than say spinning for salmon or tailor. The main aim is to cover a lot of water quickly and make sure your lure hits the bottom between every hop of your retrieve.

Colour is not so important but white lures are a good easy starting point and try plastics sizes around 75mm. There is a misunderstanding that you have to work plastics very slowly to catch flatties but this would only be on very rare occasions. Flathead are explosive ambush predators and can attack like lightening. More often that not, a faster retrieve actually gets more bites. The main mission is to get the fish to see your lure and once the flathead starts chasing he rarely gives up until hooked.

A lot of flathead have been caught in the Paynesville area including Mason Bay, Duck Arm and a lot of fish in the Campbell Channel. I am finding most of the flatties during the morning up until midday in about 2m of water but at first and last light these duskies can move into the shallows to a depth of 30cm or less.

For bait anglers, a lot of flatties have been taken in the lower Mitchell just upstream from The Cut and in the Backwater.

Prawns

This is now the real peak of the prawning season and they will be at their largest too. They have moved down out of the upper lakes areas and should now be running close to the mouth of Lakes Entrance.

The best option is to anchor your boat in amongst the locals as they will know where the best spots are. Don’t overlook the little prawns either; bream never knock back a live bait like that.

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