East Gippsland has been ravaged badly from recent fire activity in the region and still under some threat, but well worth a trip back to to region once it recovers. Just prior to the bushfires the lakes region was fishing excellent for many species. The region needs help from tourism over the warmer months to survive and the fishing is well worth the drive. If you're chasing big flathead Lake Tyers and to a lesser extent the Gippsland Lakes have been producing. The 'swimbait' craze is slowly starting to filter into the estuaries and is very much a technique worth using.


Megabass Australia Representative Nick and staff member Dylan have both fished Tyers over the pre fire warm up, and have found good success. Flathead to 86cm have been landed on both 's' style baits and glidebaits, along with larger soft swimbaits up to 20cm long The larger profile of these lures really trigger the predatory instinct of the larger fish and generate explosive strikes. When the area is all clear this style of fishing is well worth the effort for the weekend.


The bream fishing in the lake and also in the 'big 3' rivers of the lakes has also been good - both on bait and lures. Fishing baits of prawn, shrimp and crab has been the best way to land a few better fish, while sandworm has been accounting for a few more smaller fish. The Mitchell river around the 'cut' has been a good area to target larger fish as they move in and out of the river. Customer Ryan has been catching some nice fish by going simple in his lure choice, a small single tailed soft plastic grub in the 2inch size. Small shrimp and prawn colours having been catching him bream to around 38cm in all 3 rivers recently.


The other species on offer for a return trip to Lakes Entrance are King George whiting and Eastern King prawns. During the months of February and March both of these species are very good options if you're boat or landbased in and around the lakes. The whiting have been red hot from Metung through to lakes itself, with mussel, pipi and whiting worm all very effective on number of school fish. Many fish have been caught throughout the channels and have ranged in size from 30 - 43cm. On the prawn front things should only get better over the next few moon cycles, but there have still been enough around for a feed. Customer Thao had a dip around Metung while down around New Years and managed a dozen or so in an hour before hitting the hay.

 


The Gippsland estuaries have been fishing well at the moment but not on fire. The lack of consistent warm weather has meant the flathead fishing has been a bit up and down, with the big fish starting to fire up then going back into hibernation once a big cold font hits again. The bream have been a bit more active with the slightly cooler water temperature suiting them just fine. The rivers running into the Gippsland lakes have been producing some nice fish, with the upper Mitchell and Nicholson the pick of the two. Customer Pat fished the Mitchell during the week and landed a few nice bream on both sandworm and prawn. These are both good bait choices for this time of year, however make sure your hook patterns suit these baits or you won't convert many bites.


Customer Ryan has also been catching some nice bream and trevally in Lake Tyers. Ryan has been fishing with a couple of mates from a small tinny in the main basin of the lake and has found the flathead fishing to be a bit slow, but the bream have been happy to eat larger plastics aimed at the flatties. Fishing soft plastics up to 100mm in size can see less bream caught, but they are generally better quality fish. Worm and baitfish profiles have been best for him on both the bream and flathead, and most of the fish have been caught just deep of the drop off from the shoreline in 3 to 4m of water.

 


With the rain we've had around Melbourne the local estuaries and rivers have fired up and the bream have been feeding quite voraciously. Normally timid and subtle feeders, the black bream in the local rivers have fired up a bit as conditions have been prime for them. The mixture of warming water temperatures and an influx of freshwater and food sources, coupled with a post-spawn hunger has made the fishing for them quite good recently.


Customer Tony saw the forecast coming and made sure he had supply of live yabbies and he hit the Patto. Tony managed 10 fish in a short morning session, with fish from around 400g caught right through to some monsters up around 44cm. Tony fishes his live freshwater yabbies on very light line and little sinker, coupled with a fine gauge 'caddis' hook to keep them alive. Fishing them in the middle of the river was where the fish were roaming and once they ate the yabbies the fine gauge hook pinned them through the lip like it was nothing. Keeping these yabbies alive for as long as possible is paramount for tricking the larger fish.

 

 


Port Phillip bay has been producing some good school snapper from about Mordialloc north around the shallow reef ledges. While the bay hasn't been producing as many fish as westernport, there has still been some fish about to be caught. Most of these fish have been caught in relatively close during bouts of average weather.  Customer Advan has caught some nice snapper to 3.5kg in close of Black Rock. Advan has been fishing around 8m of water and using pillies for the best result.


Customer Bashir fished out from Sandringham in search of snapper and has landed fish to around 4kg. Bashir has been fishing around isolated reef patches and pinnacles and has found pilchard to be the best. Staff member Dylan fished around Mordialloc in search of some snapper over the weekend, but with only small fish caught. Dylan concentrated on shallow reef outcrops with deep running hardbodied lures and deeper reef patches using flutter style jigs, with around 30 fish caught - but only up to 45cm. Many of the fish caught were between 35 - 45cm and perfect pan size.


Looking like snapper but silver are some of the bream that customer Minh has been catching. Minh has been fishing the Patterson River and using scrubworm to land multiple fish a session. Minh has caught fish to 44cm using worm in the river. The bream have been moving about the river quite freely, with fish caught from the bar at the river mouth right up to the rockwall towards the Frankston freeway end of the river. These fish will only get more active from now on and feed more aggressively around many areas of the river, and nearby metro rivers.

 


The action in the estuaries out in gippsland is starting to warm up as the weather does. The warmth in the water has increased the activity level of the larger flathead and bream, and with this they have been on the prowl. The estuaries of lake tyers, marlo and bemm river have been fishing well for both, as has mallacoota inlet. Some of these estuaries will see a scattering of prawns in the backwaters and the fish will hunt these.


Staff member Dylan fished lake tyers on monday and landed a handful of bream on small shallow running hardbodies around the super shallow mudflats in the lake, in between searching for large flathead. Dylan fished 6 and 8 inch swimbaits around the likely haunts and had a few enquiries with one mid 70cm flathead staying connected to a Megabass magdraft swimbait.


Friend of the shop Trevor has also been getting in to some nice flathead from the lake. Trevor has been fishing the new SXC shads from Yakamito to land the bigger fish. The heavy tail kick and body roll of these plastics really gets the attention from the big flathead and gets them to pounce.

 


The bream fishing around the local haunts has been good, as is pretty consistent if you're heading out towards Gippsland. The local systems such as the Patto have been tricky as usual but there are some quality fish coming out. Customer Tony fished the canals earlier this week in search of some black bream and he was rewarded with fish to 41cm. Tony landed all of his fish on small live freshwater yabbies. The best method was to fish the yabbies pinned through the back of the shell on a snagproof 'wacky' hook. This method doesn't restrict the yabbies movement and also stops them from crawling around timber and rocks and getting stuck - but a crunch from a bream pops the snag guard off and the fish is hooked!


A bit further down on the Tambo customers Thao and Ange have both been getting into some bream land based. Thao has been fishing the lower river landbased and has landed fish to 38cm on yabbies, shrimp and small vibes. Ange has been using a finesse baitcater setup to cast small soft plastics around the edges and he has been landing plenty of fish to around 1kg on curl tail and creature patterned plastics. The numbers of fish active along the edges should only heat up over the next 5 weeks or so.


Customer Morgan has been out in the kayak getting amongst the bream in Gippsland also. Morgan has been catching fish in the mid 30cm size range on a few different lures, with slow twitched deep diving hardbodies one of the better methods. Small sinking stickbaits are excellent in the same scenario also, along with subtly hopped plastics, especially if they imitate small worms or shrimp.


In the same area customer Jordan and wife Hannah have been catching bream, tailor and flathead. With mainly flathead on the agenda for some fresh fish and chips, bigger lures were being used. Soft plastics in the 4 inch size were fished along the drop offs and resulted in some solid table sized fish. As soon as the shallow muddy bays were encountered the hardbodies came out.


Daiwa double clutch in 90mm were effective when slowly twitched through the mud, with duskies to around 55cm happy to eat the lures along with some large tailor. The tailor have been big in the Gippsland estuaries, with many fish getting close to 65cm and even bigger. At this size they are line burning fun, but if you're chasing them make sure sure bring more lures than you need!

 


Estuary species have been fishing well over the past few weeks, with late winter rain really helping the fishing along. The main species being bream and mulloway throughout the Gippsland lakes and around the metro estuaries. The Gippsland rivers have been producing the bream throughout mainly the lower reaches as the salinity levels are more comfortable for the fish. Customer Peter was recently fishing from the shore of the lower Tambo with his wife where they landed some nice fish. Multiple bream up to 42cm were caught on sandworm and prawn.


Around the Melbourne metro rivers the bream have been found down a bit lower in the systems and semi schooled up in more open water. The lower Werribee river has seen a lot of the fish down in the lower river just up from the boat ramp, with crab and freshwater yabbies being the baits of choice. In the Patterson river the bream have been found towards the lower river and out into the mouth of the bay, and open waters of the river. Staff member Dylan has been fishing the river recently and finding good numbers of fish to around 41cm. The fish have been moving about and timid, but have been taking small crab and yabby pattern soft plastics on the open water mudflats and silt beds. There has also been the odd mulloways cruising the main river as well for anglers using heavier gear.


On the mulloway front, there have been fishing cruising the metro rivers and also in decent numbers in the western coastal estuaries. Staff member Dylan fished some of the western rivers with mates recently in search of the mulloway and after a lot of searching the fish were found. Among all the boats fishing nearby the fish were quite spooky and moving about a lot - but found with the use of side scan on the sounder.


All up 10 mulloway were landed, with the largest measuring around 90cm. The mulloway were hard to tempt and were only willing to eat a small selection of lures, with small heavily weighted vibes being the pick of the bunch - with a few picked up on soft plastic also. Subtle action in the lures was what the fish were after most, with light tail twitches on the plastics and soft lifts on the vibes getting the fishes' attention.

 


The late Winter rain has done wonders for the estuary fishing both locally and down into Gippsland. The local Port Phillip rivers have been fishing well for bream, particularly with bait. Customer George was fishing the Werribee river just last week where he found a few reasonable size bream, but was also pleasantly surprized when a nice 90cm mulloway decided to eat one of his bass yabbies. George managed to wrangle the fish in using very light main line and leader which was a good effort.


Members of the Keysborough Angling Club fished the Melbourne metro rivers in search of bream over the weekend with mixed results. With only a few members able to fish over the weekend there weren't a huge number of fish weighed in, but the fish that were came from the Patterson River. The Patto has been running dirty in the main river with fresh coming down from the top, but the bream have been feeding actively. Customers Paul and Dave managed a few fish around 350g from the river using mainly prawn for bait. Fishing eddies and small drop offs in the river will see you come across a few fish as they cruise out of the main current and feed at their leisure. 


Down in the Gippsland lakes there have been some solid bream on the chew as the freshwater pushes down the rivers and gets them schooling and into pre-spawn mode. The fish in the 3 main rivers have been biting well, once they have been found. Looking for downstream areas of higher salinity has been where a few fish have been hanging out lately.  Customers Brendan and Phil have been doing well on nice fish into the 40cm mark fishing the Mitchell river in Bairnsdale. The best baits for targeting these bigger fish have been cut crab and freshwater yabbies. Fishing these hardier baits generally flushes out the smaller 'pickers' and leaves a solid bait intact for a bigger fish to eat. Just make sure to match your hook style and size to the bait correctly.

 

 


While the average weather hasn't been super motivating for many forms of fishing, it's probably the best time of year to focus on simple bread and butter species around the bay. The many species on offer for angler at the moment are bream, garfish, salmon, pinkies and flathead. The best part of fishing for these species is that most of it can be done from the shore, kayak or in close in the boat. The current amount of freshwater washed into the bay has dirtied the water up and although this makes the water look very uninviting, the fish can normally bite better.


The bayside rivers and creeks have had a real good flush out and this has fired the bream up a lot over the last few weeks. The Patterson and Maribyrnong rivers have been producing some nice bream as more food is flushed around for them, and they have decreased sensitivity due to murky water. Customer Robin fished the Patto just recently and found a few nice bream near the mouth. Robin landed fish to 38cm on scrubworms fished on small whiting 'flasher' style rigs in 90 minutes of fishing.


The same area around the mouth of the Patto has also been producing salmon as they move up and back along the Eastern side of the bay. While they sometimes don't hang about for long, if the conditions are good the fish shouldn't be far away. Onshore winds and dirty water lines are good signs, especially if there are any baitfish schools about. Mordialloc through to Frankston is the region to look around through, with bluebait and whitebait the best baits. For the lure anglers, slim profile stickbaits and metal 'angry baits' have been effective in long casts into the wind, while small minnow soft plastics have also been catching fish once a bit of scent is added. Youngster James has been enjoying the salmon on soft plastics and lures with dad Chris when they can find a break in the weather.

Once the weather backs off a bit the garfish will come back on the chew. The same areas mentioned for the salmon have also been producing some good size gars when the wind hasn't been too strong. Onshore winds of 10 knots or less are generally what to look for when chasing the gars, and make sure you have heavily weighted and buoyant floats like the strada sliding floats. These floats are able to carry lots of lead for casting weight but will stay upright and alert you of any small gar bites very well.


The top end of the bay has also been producing some nice flathead in the shallows. The region from Port Melbourne through to around Sandringham has been the most productive stretch, will Atona bay another good spot to try. Staff member Dylan caught a bucket load during the calm weather trolling hardbodied lures from 90 - 130mm in size, with the best depths being around 2.5 - 3.5m of water. The rougher weather has seen many caught in even closer with the breakwalls and piers producing fish to around 42cm most days. If you're going to target a feed of flatties, make sure you lure or bait has got plenty of natural attraction and scent. Baits of small squid or squid heads have lots of movement in the rough water and might even score you some pinkies also. Small 'flutter jigs' are excellent for casting good distance as are soft hybrid vibes. The best lure choices are ones that the fish can find the easiest in the murky water, and gel or aerosol scents will increase their effectiveness 5:1.

 


Although the weather has been bitterly cold and average wind wise over the past few days , there is some decent weather with light winds on it's way. While the weather may not have been the most helpful for the fisherman there has still been a bit happening locally for rugged up anglers. The garfish have been around on the piers along the eastern seaboard of the bay, with Mornington, Seaford, Frankston and Sandringham all good places to start. Staff member Don has been catching a few around Mornington over the past week, with some good sized fish in the schools. Small silverfish and maggots have been the best, but as usual a fine grit berley and properly balanced floats are a must.


Customer Nathan has also been catching the gars from Seaford pier. Nathan has been finding that the fish are most active around the last bit of daylight into the first hour or so of night. Nathan has been berleying and fishing silverfish back in the berley trail but also paying attention to which direction the berley is being carried.


Nathan has also been catching some nice bream from Patterson river. Maximizing his fishing time after work hours Nathan has landed bream up to 42cm recently from the river. During his latest session Nathan caught 2 nice fish both around a kilo, and both on mussel. The bream were most active just after sunset and will still bite well with the dirty water conditions. Customer Cip has also caught a couple of nice fish recently from the Patto, but on lures. Cip has been using small sinking stickbaits and plastics but has found the stickbaits have been getting the bite more often. Letting these lures slowly sink and flutter down to the bottom has been when most fish are grabbing them.


In westernport there has been plenty on offer from the local piers, with a heap of pike, mackerel and flathead to be caught over the reef and weedbeds, and barracouta mid water. Customer Nath has landed rock flathead to 45cm fishing from the piers and has found soft plastics the best way to jag a few. Small 3 inch paddletail plastics have been the best performers especially in small whiting or wrasse colours. Customer Angelo has been catching a heap of big pike and couta from the pier down at Flinders on soft plastics also. Flinders is an excellent location to fish plastics for fish like pike as they patrol the thick kelp beds. Angelo has slowly gotten into the lure fishing and is having a ball catching lots of variety of the finesse plastic techniques.