Brilliant black bream blading
  |  First Published: July 2017

It’s a bream jackpot! The last four weeks have been extraordinary when it comes to luring up big black bream and the action should get even better as we get further into winter. There have been no significant rain events of late, and that means clean salty water has filled Lake Wellington and brought a whole heap of fish with it.

There’s also a stack of flathead, and the tailor this year are thicker than ever. As you will read below, some unbelievable surprise species of fish have also turned up like trout, mulloway and even yellowbelly!

Blading big bream

Since about April we have tracked the movement of large bream from the Lake King areas of the Mitchell and Tambo river mouths, up through Lake Victoria, the McLennan Strait and finally into Lake Wellington. It coincides with the lack of flow down the Avon and Latrobe rivers and the fishing has not been this good since the drought years back around 2006.

I’m talking big bream, and lure anglers are getting plenty of them between 42-46cm. Lake Wellington is roughly 150 square kilomatres and it has been fishing the best I’ve seen it in 10 years. The edges around Tuckers and Poddy Bay have given up stud bream for those throwing hardbodies and lightly-weighted plastics, and the Marlay Point area is just as good.

Over the other side of the lake in Disher Bay has been even better. The water is very clean at times and the bream have no trouble smacking hardbody lures when they’re slowly twitched. Most anglers I’ve either fished with or anglers that have sent me reports, have scored between 10-40 bream a session, and the average size would be about 38cm.

Between all of us we have hardly seen a bream under 34cm. The stand out lure is once again a black blade, and yes, they are dynamite in deeper water, but as a few locals have found out, shallow water blading is just as good. It’s been an amazing run of big fish. The best day out between three of us saw some cracking bream released. Our final tally for a seven-hour session was 83 bream and we dispatched a couple of ugly carp around 4kg as well. There was one 45cm bream, two fish went 44cm, one at 43, about 16 bream at 42cm and nearly all of the rest between 36-40cm. It’s been an outstanding run of quality bream on lures, and this hot fishing has been going on for over six weeks now. I expect this sort of action will last to the end of winter, and hopefully into early spring.

Other hotspots

Paynesville has once again been a great place to base yourself and you will always find bream and a stack of trevally in there. The mouth of the Tambo has turned up some cracker bream and so has Duck Arm. A lot of big salmon and tailor have moved in around Metung and Mick Edwards says it has been exciting sport using surface lures. Strangely, the Nicho and Mitchell rivers have been slow for now, but I anticipate this to change very shortly. Mark Ramsay pulled in some thumping bream to 46cm in the Straits and flathead to 60cm. He’s got that place figured out! Yellow-eye mullet are starting to run and we are seeing huge schools from Paynesville right up to Wattle Point. Get ready for them to really start biting this month!

Surprise by-catch

I bumped into Gippy Lakes professional fisher Matt Jenkins a few times recently and I was gobsmacked when I saw some of the fish he’s been getting of late. It is mind-boggling some of the species we anglers rarely target that are living on our doorstep and some are very big fish! He’s worked the western areas of the Gippy Lakes to get away from tailor down closer to Lakes Entrance. Amazingly, he’s averaged about two large brown trout each day, the odd kingfish, small gurnard, EP, large flathead, big salmon, plenty of yellow eye mullet, a 58cm bass, and a single mulloway. The real blowout fish were a couple of whopper yellowbelly. All of these fish are swimming in amongst the hundreds and hundreds of carp he hauls out of the area each time.

Fishing buddies

Just a quick shout out and a big thank you to some top fishing buddies who supply me with a lot of info and pictures for these reports. I probably fish the best when I’m alone with not a soul in sight. The solitude recharges me and it’s the best rehab and therapy going when this crazy, busy world gets my head spinning. But now that I’m on holidays, sometimes the greatest joy in fishing is all about being around good mates. Over the last few weeks we’ve been laughing at and with each other while pondering all things funny and fishy. Joel Petzke, Mick Edwards, Rambo Ramsay, Donald Gned, Jason Deenan, Dinga, and Mickey Dee are all part of the crew. The real highlight was catching up with my good old buddy Havo for about ten or so outings. It’s been a couple of months on the water with a lot of giggles and tomfoolery, not to mention catching the hell out of nice flathead, heaps of big stonker bream and the odd thumping estuary perch. Grouse fun, mint weather and, big fish. I’m lucky to have such good mates.

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