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.

 


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.

 


Customers Izzy and Bruno are holidaying up along the northern coastline of NSW, and getting some fishing in while they're up there. The have been fishing the region from Byron Bay back down to around Lake Macquarie and have fun with various fish on their journey. Fishing just offshore from Brunswick heads Izzy landed some lovely snapper up to 4kg on Reedy's rigs with pilchard on them.

The offshore fishing in the same region has also had it's mix of bigger fish too, with some big sharks around. After some bite offs, Izzy and Bruno set up an overhead rod with some bigger hooks and trace, and Izzy managed to beat a big bronze whaler after an hour long fight. The bronzie was attacked and bleeding from the gills so it was kept and shared around to some of the locals. When the wind has been up the guys have been fishing inside the rivers and estuaries, and have been having some fun catching perfect eating size flathead on soft plastics. The soft plastic fishing for flathead will only get better along the coast and locally over the next few months.

 


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!

 


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.

 


Winter time is known as time to chase mulloway by many local anglers around Victoria. The fact that is these fish are chased by 'crazy' keen diehards during the coldest of winter nights all along the coast of NSW right up to the Gold Coast or so. Customer Hendrik gets up to the South West rocks region of northern NSW regularly enough to have had a good taste of what these fish are like up here. Fishing the area this week while on holiday he landed a ripper fish of 1.23m. The fish weighed 30+ lb and took a small 'mullet' sized soft plastic. The soft plastic style was a split tail minnow, which can be worked very erratically to perfectly imitate a panicked mullet.


On the subject of panicked mullet, customer Edly caught a nice bag of dusky flathead while on holiday recently. Edly was holidaying in Brisbane and caught some nice table sized fish in the Brisbane river and in the port. Edly trolled some small mullet profile hardbodies in the 80mm size range along the mudflat edges to find where the fish were sitting, and once a few were found it was a matter of honing in and fishing slower with plastics. Shad shaped plastics in the same size as the mullet were the most effective and snapped up as soon as they touched down on the bottom. While this action happened interstate not enough make the most of similar bread and butter fishing locally.

 

 


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.

 


While there have been some inconsistent estuary reports, anglers spending the time on the water are ultimately reaping the rewards - whether it's locally in the Yarra and Maribyrnong or out in Gippsland.


Customer Shane proved that the real only way to catch fish in make sure you're out there doing it! Shane caught and released a monster flathead of 92cm from the shallows in Lake Tyers just over the weekend. The monster fish swum back to the depths and shows the quality of the fish on offer. Shane was fishing the Nowa arm of the lake, which seems to be a bit more productive than the main basin at present. Warmer water mixed with a more brackish salinity is keeping both flathead and bream happily eating.


There have been enough bream hanging about on the edges of the estuaries and rivers of Gippsland but the trick has been offering them what they want to eat. With loads of small shrimp flicking about along the reed and grass edges customer Morgan found a skinny profiled surface lure was most effective. Morgan has been fishing a few estuaries recently and has found the fish wanting different lures most of the time. Small shrimp profiles in the shallows have been very effective, while larger crab and minnow soft plastics in the deeper water have been getting the bites. Changing lures and baits to try and persuade the fish is all part of it.


Customer Ryan has been finding some quality fish in the local metro rivers. Ryan has been fishing both the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers and landing bream to around 39cm on bait and lures. Ryan has been finding soft plastics effective but only when fished right up in cover and shade, as the fish aren't covering out from cover to eat. Watermelon coloured plastics in curl and paddle tails have both been good, while baits of cut crab have also been working. Fishing larger crabs requires hooks in the size 2 range, with wide gapes helping to present the bait and aid in positive hook ups.

 


Port Phillip has been quiet in terms of report this past week, but there has still been things happening. The squid fishing has been ok, with some of the southern piers about due to start firing. The northern end of the bay has also been showing quality squid from the piers and inshore reef. Customer Ryan has been catching some decent squid along the reef around Black Rock. Ryan has been finding red and orange jigs have been the standouts around the deeper reef patches. Ryan has caught squid up around 800g, with afternoons fishing better.


Around Brighton there have been good patches of squid on offer when the wind has dropped. The reef points and pier have seen squid to around 600g on darker coloured jigs. Customer Tas has been catching good numbers of 490 glow Yamashita jigs in the 2.5 size. Last light and early into the evening has been the prime time.


There have been good amounts of small pinkies and flathead in the same area, with the Brighton and Ormond shallows holding some quality table fish. Staff member Dylan has been fishing both the beaches and platforms a few afternoons a week, with a couple of flathead and pinkies being about average for a session. Small baitfish or worm pattern soft plastics in the 3inch size on 1/12th jigheads have been the most productive, with flathead to around 45cm and pinkies to 35cm both taking favour to them.


Also from the piers in the area and further down onto the Mornington peninsula there have decent numbers of garfish on the go. While there hasn't been millions of them, there has been enough to put a decent bag together if you're fishing the correct float, rig and berley methods. Customer Stefan has been catching some good bags of them around Frankston on both maggots and silverfish, lightly pinned on Gamakatsu fine wire fly hooks.

 


While there have plenty of active fish to be caught, many of the estuaries both local and into Gippsland are in need of a decent rain and flush - with quite a few landlocked at present. With no real rain to open up these estuaries they are closed, with warmer water than normal and not affected by tides and salinity which has turned the fish off somewhat. Clearer than normal water has also made the fish flighty, perfect if you're up for a challenge!


Staff member Dylan fished with mate Adrian down in the estuaries from Lakes onward where the fishing was tougher than normal. Fishing around Lakes and Marlo, Dylan and Adrian caught around 20 bream up to 41cm - with surface lures performing the best. OSP bent minnows and Bassday sugapens were the 2 best lures, perfect imitations of the available bait. Fishing these lures around pockets in the thick weed and over silt beds were where the fish had been holding more consistently. Many other anglers were seen but without turning a reel, but they also weren't paying attention to what bait was around and where the fish were holding.


Speaking of bait, these estuaries all had good numbers of prawns about. While they weren't huge there were plenty about to use for bait or for a snack. Most of the prawns have been from 6 - 12cm long and these are what a lot of the fish have been feeding on. Dylan and Adrian kept a bag of dusky flathead from 38 - 50cm working lightly weighted prawn pattern soft plastics around the silt beds.