Bream an’ the Duskies
  |  First Published: May 2010

It’s not often in fishing we get to predict good angling ahead of time.

As we all know, there are no certainties in this game. In my last report I forecast exceptional fishing ahead and for once I’ll lay claim to getting it right and even declare “I told you so!”

Bream, tailor and particularly flathead are around in terrific numbers and this season is clearly our best since the floods of ’07. To a lesser extent trevally, mullet and luderick are also turning up for those who target them.

Even better news from local resident and keen angler Matty Leach about the incredible recruitment of bream stocks as the rivers and lakes are full of tiny yearling bream and even greater numbers of 15-20cm bream schooled up. I reckon these bream represent the massive spawning event after the big floods of three years ago.

Sight fishing for bream

What a joy to see big numbers of bream holding high in the water and therefore providing some excellent sight casting with lures. I’ve been enjoying some exciting sport in the Tambo with my best results for a six-hour session returning 35 bream to 37cm and 13 flathead to 50cm.

I used small suspending Evergreen hardbodied lures and watched dozens of bream rush over and inspect their next meal. As usual plenty of fish were happy to just look and peck with the larger bream attacking with gusto, but hook ups were still a bit tricky. A longer pause longer and waiting for the fish to turn eventually improved hook-ups.

I was pulling the lure into the fish rather than straight back out of their mouth.

The upper reaches around the Blue Hole will this month be a hotspot and for those boating, head to the mouth of the Tambo and check out the enormous schools of those small 20cm bream that will come up on your sounder.

Lake Fishing and the Mitchell River

We will get some cold and crisp but beautiful still days over the next couple of months and there’s no better time to explore the wide open lakes. You can sight fish for bream around the jetties at Paynesville and Metung or find some shallow water flathead grounds, then slowly work small soft plastics along the bottom and you will probably land a bream for every dusky you catch.

Rick and Neil Morrison have really got the Mitchell worked out when it comes to hooking bream, perch and flathead. Each session they are getting between 30 and 60 fish on hardbodies and small blades. Rick actually prefers to fish windy and coloured up water in about 60-90cm deep and uses shallow-running bibbed lures to nail his bream and gets plenty of flathead by-catch as well.

Neil reports that blades are still very deadly in the area of The Cut and the entrance to the Silt Jetties. The upper reaches near Bairnsdale will also produce fish and the schools of bream turning up on the sounder in this area are also quite impressive. If you look for perch around the township you should have no problem finding them but don’t expect fish bigger than 32cm.

Best bait

Sandworm is a good all round bait that targets all species and mullet are almost impossible to catch unless you have these juicy worms on the hook. However prawn, crab and shrimp will out fish worm any day if you want to target big fish.

If you can get these baits on the hook alive, expect to triple your catch. It’s also time to remind you once again that fish baits are also deadly on bream and chunks of fresh tuna have caught some very big fish for those who know just how deadly this bait is on bream.

Bluebait and whitebait will also do the trick and this will also attract a lot more flathead while you look for bigger bream.

I know one angler who will only use fresh chicken breast meat and he catches an amazing assortment of fish on his unusual bait including large estuary perch!

Here’s a handy tip; if you rig up and slowly retrieve your bait like you were using a soft plastic: I think you’ll be shocked with the results.

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