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.

 


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.

 


Most of the estuaries out in Gippsland are set to fire up if more rain falls between now and Easter. While up until last week all major estuaries from Lakes Entrance and east were closed to the ocean. With water levels high and no clean salty water pushing in the fish can slow off the bite and be harder work to catch. They are still however there to be caught, and that's what will normally separate good anglers from those set in their ways.

Staff member Dylan and mates fished out in some of the estuaries recently and while conditions weren't ideal with wind and heavy rain the fish were certainly there to be caught. Fishing shallow mud and sand flats and finding the main holding areas for the fish was the first key, then working out the more successful lures was the next step. With an abundance of small school prawns and shrimp the surface bite was excellent. Over a day and a half around 60 bream were caught, with another estimated 25 whiting and around 60 flathead. A very small bag of fish was taken home, with some whiting, flathead and luderick keep for a feed.


Among the desirable fish were plenty of big tailor and silver trevally all equally happy to eat the expensive lures. The most successful lures were the Sammy 55, Gunfish, Sugarpen and overreal wake, which all represent small prawns and baitfish panicked on the surface. Retro-fitting these lures with small and sharp stinger hooks increased hookup rates by at least 50%, especially on the bream and whiting. Customer Daniel also fished in a nearby estuary where he landed some nice yellowfin bream from similar shallow sand flats.


Around the Gippsland lakes the bream fishing has been good if you're looking in the right areas. The main 3 rivers are producing some nice fish at present and should start fishing well for the larger fish the deeper we get into autumn. Customer Bashir and mate fished the lower tambo river to land a nice bag of fish on a mixture of baits. The most successful baits for the day were live shrimp and freshwater yabbies fished on number 8 'C10U' fly hooks.


Customer Ian also fished the region recently and found some nice bream floating about in the Nicholson river. Ian found that the best baits by a mile were live freshwater yabbies. If you're using slightly larger than normal yabbies it doesn't hurt to pull the claws off them to give the fish a good chance at hitting them and hooking up.

 


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.

 


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.

 


Now that many of the holiday crowds have come back home the estuaries have started fishing a little better out towards Lakes Entrance. The sheer amount of people on the water had kept the fishing a bit quiet and the fish a bit skittish, but now things are starting to heat back up. Around Lakes itself there has been a good amount of variety caught, from kingfish and King George whiting through to bream and flathead. Customer Josh fished around Lakes in search of nice flathead and he wasn't disappointed when a nice 72cm fish jumped on a hardbody in the shallows. The successful lure imitated a small garfish perfectly, and he caught many other flatties around 40cm on the same lure.


While many people might not expect to catch fish right amongst the crowds in the heart of town, and customer Anne proved that theory wrong. Anne fished the 'main' Cunninghame arm in front of town at Lakes Entrance and landed a ripper dusky flathead of 52cm. Anne was fishing with plastics and this was her first fish on a soft plastic, which is awesome. Customer Daniel was also fishing the shallow lagoons around the estuary mouth at Marlo where he caught some nice flatties to a similar size. The fish in this region have been gorging themselves on small prawns too, so if you can imitate them or use them you're in with a good shot!


Customers Jordan and Morgan both fished some of the estuaries around Lakes Entrance and Marlo recently, where the boys managed some nice bream. Fishing out of their kayaks, the boys had some good surface fishing with bream to 35cm taking 'deruzze' dead sticked amongst the weed, but the real winner was the Jackall 'spytail' fished with short darts and jerks along the riverbank edges. The fish would hammer the lure after a small twitch as it slowly 'died' and drifted along the drop offs.


Customer Ange fished the Gippsland estuaries in his kayak recently where he had a ball on the bream using mainly surface lures. Ange stocked up on a few different style of lure before heading away, with plenty of fish taking small prawn and baitfish imitations. The best lures were the new colour and size 'sugapens' along with small Tiemco 'deruzze' - which are both very natural in appearance and action. Ange landed some nice bream to 40cm using these lures, working them through the shallows. This surface action has not long heated up and will be on the table for a while yet, so get out there and make the most of it!


Young gun Ashie Damelio has been having a ball catching some nice black bream out in the estuaries also. Ash has been bait and lure fishing with his dad Steve and is well and truly hooked on fishing, as he's normally picking up more lures in store than dad!

 


For the anglers heading away out towards East Gippsland the estuaries are fishing well at present. While you may still have to move about to find some fish, the estuaries are producing some nice bream and flathead for both bait and lure fishing techniques. Customer Keith was fishing out near Bemm River recently and caught some nice bream, with some very big yellowfin bream amongst the catch. Keith caught most of his fish using ultra stealth tactics, just 1kg mono line and bass yabbies for bait.


Customer Cameron came into the store recently to gear up for targeting large flathead down at Lake Tyers. Cameron left with some lure suggestions and technique advice and went in to catch some solid fish straight away. Cameron caught some thick flathead to just shy of 70cm throughout the shallows over near the 'Glasshouse'.Small mullet imitating plastics did the trick on the flatties with the Zman plastics the main producer.


Back around Melbourne in the local Patterson River, customer Robin has been catching some bream. Robin has found that the bream in the Patto respond well after a bout of rain, which we are due for. Fishing juicy scrubworms on small circle hooks in the discoloured water has earned some nice fish to around 1kg for Robin. The next few days should be perfect for this style of fishing locally, whether it be in the Patto, Yarra or other local river.

 


The bream fishing has been good around the place! There have been some nice fish being caught both locally and also down the road in Gippsland. Locally the Patto has been fishing well for larger fish as they school up in the main river. Staff member Dylan has been sounding lots of fish around the small drop offs and sand holes in the river, with some clearly visible in the clear water!

Down the road the hot spots down in the Gippsland Lakes seem to be the Mitchell River and Lake Tyers at the moment. The Mitchell has been producing some some very large fish to 45cm as they come off the back of their spawning run, with the 'cliffs' area holding a few.

Sandworm, crab and prawn are all good baits but the bigger fish have been responding to crab and live freshwater yabbies - just be sure to rig both of these baits on the correct hooks, fine gauge 'caddis' and drop shot patterns! Young Sam caught some nice fish up to 42cm fishing from the bank of Lake Tyers past Lakes Entrance. Sam was using fresh sandworm and fishing from the shore from the Mill Point area.


Customer Jake has also been catching a few fish both locally and from the creeks out to the East. Fishing small paddle tailed plastics has gotten some nice fish over the past week for Jake, with colours like pink and pumpkinseed getting bites. Just be sure to fish these, or any plastic on the correct weight jighead. Most people will opt the heavier option, but a lot of the time this causes the plastic to sink at an unnatural speed and may cause it to spin - and many of the bigger, smarter fish won't fall for it!

 


The local bream population had gone a bit quiet with the clear green water in most of the estuaries and lakes, and bream reports were quite low. The fish get cagey in the clean water and go off the bite a little bit, or regulate their feeding to low light times or when there is strong winds. With the recent small bit of rain we have received the fish lower their guard and bit a bit easy-'er' to tempt. Not that the weather mattered much to customer John. John and mate Bashir fished the Tambo river in Gippsland to land some nice clean bream. The guys found that live shrimp and fresh prawn were the most effective when fished along the river bank drop offs.


Back in the Patto, customer Tony has been catching a few nice fish. Tony has been fishing early morning around first light and this is when he has been catching most of his fish. Small live freshwater yabbies have been effective, but they must be fished on ultra-fine gauge hooks and light leader, with little or no sinker. The fish will sense if the yabby is impeded by a heavy hook, thick line and 'anchor' of a sinker stopping it from acting natural.


Customer Ange has also been catching a few bream in the Patto with some mates. The guys have been lurecasting from their kayaks, which off the ultimate stealth approach to these flighty fish. The most effective lures of late have been 'ned-rigged' soft plastics, and small slow sinking hardbodies. These lures are best fished with very small 'pops' of the rod tip to create a kick but not scare the fish. Most bites will come as the lure or plastic has stopped or settled on the bottom.

HOT SPOT: The Patto will continue to fish well after more rain this week, especially around the first flood gate. Just remember to scent up your lures and baits as the water turns murky.