Many anglers have been aware of the tuna activity along the west of the coast, and have been making the most of these fish again this week. There have been fish stretched from Portland and further west right across to offshore from Westernport and Inverloch. There have been fish inside both bays but they have been flighty and hard to come across, but they have been there to be caught.


Customer Billy has been catching some nice bluefin just offshore from the heads on small skirts. He has also landed a couple of fish in the 20kg range from inside the bay, with both skirts and deep diving hardbodies working well. The fish inside the bay have been moving about a lot, but the 'rip' section has been where the fish have been pushing through mowing down schools of pilchards. Customer Jason has also been landing fish offshore from the heads and further down towards Phillip Island. Jason has been landing fish on small 5'' skirts, and a few fish on surface poppers cast around the schools.

Customers Izzy and Bruno have been getting into the tuna also. Izzy fished out from Torquay during the week and found fish to 25kg. Skirts in the 5'' size range were the most effective on the fish, with the fish being attracted up to the surface from the commotion of deep running hardbodied lures. While the fish around Torquay and Barwon have been good there have also been some nice fish coming from Portland and Port Fairy. The fish have been cruising inshore in water depths of 15 - 50m and have been responding to the same methods - with stickbaiting and popping also very productive.


Among the tuna out west there have been schools of rat kingfish hanging about. The inshore reef around Portland has been the best holding ground for the numbers of these fish, with Izzy and Bruno catching some while down at Portland. Stickbaits and small surface poppers have been effective when the fish are on, but baits of slimey and calamari have also been deadly when the lures haven't gotten the interest of the fish. The fish have ranged in size from just legal to around 18kg, with some much larger fish harassing the smaller rats.


While not normally known for it's kingfish, the Gippsland lakes has been experiencing a run of school sized fish moving about the system. The fish have been moving from as far up as Paynesville right the way down to Lakes Entrance itself. Customer Kevin has found himself holding a knife while in a gunfight while fishing out of his canoe. Kevin has been fishing the north arm around Lakes Entrance and has been landing kingies to around 80cm. Small plastics that imitate the abundant prawns have been easy for the fish to eat and getting most of the bites.

 


There have been some solid flathead caught during the warm weather we've had, along with some nice black bream. This report features three different flathead species in it! Customer Jason was fishing down at Port Welshpool last week and he caught some nice yank flathead with a couple of rippers around 70cm in the mix. Most of the solid flathead were caught along a 6m channel drop inside the estuary. They took baits intended for whiting but were then caught on strip baits.


Customer Simon was fishing out in Port Phillip recently where he landed a few nice sand flathead up to 56cm. Simon was fishing deep of Mornington and casting soft plastics. The larger soft plastics around 5'' got the attention of the larger flathead, and sized out the common small fish. Meanwhile Trevor from Compleat Angler's head office has been catching some super solid flatties down in gippsland. Trevor has caught fish to 85cm recently at Lake Tyers using the large Yakamito SXY shads. These plastics are a perfect representation of a finger mullet that these big prey on.


On the bream front, there have been some nice fish in the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers. Customer Ryan fished with mate Nick in the Maribyrnong last week and landed some nice bream to just under a kilo. Small baitfish imitation soft plastics in the 3'' size range were effective when slowly rolled out from the banks on light jigheads. Any overhanging vegetation and shaded rockpiles have been holding the fish in the warm weather. Small hardbodies are also worth fishing amongst this ground also.


Customer Jinsu has been having a ball on some solid bream while on a roadtrip in Tassie. Jinsu has been fishing in his kayak and touring around the state. He has found bream to 45cm happy to eat a few different lure styles and in different systems. He has been enjoying some surface fishing with poppers and stickbaits claiming nice fish early in the mornings.


Many of the bream Jinsu has been catching during the middle of the day have aggressively hit crab style lures twitched out from the edges, with both soft and hard options getting eaten. The edges have been fishing well with surface and hardbodies, while the overhead sun and calm water has called for deeper presentations like crabs and plastics. Just remember to fish a visible main line to pick up on any ticks and subtle bites in the deep water.

 


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 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!

 


The big bream are starting to fire up with this weather. The local rivers such as Patterson and Yarra have been seeing more solid fish caught since the rain has started up, with things expected to get better as it gets colder. This time of the year is more about quality over quantity which fish over a kilo expected. Customer Ryan has been fishing the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers to land some nice to around 35cm on plastics. Ryan has been finding the fish holding tight into the bankside structure so weedless rigging of the plastics has been the most effective way of getting to them.


Out in Gippsland the big bream are starting to fire as customer Justin has been experiencing. Justin and brother Braydon have been fishing the three main rivers and have been landing some nice fish on all manner of lures. The Tambo and Nicholson have been producing the most fish with some big bream well over 40cm in length hanging about. The best bite on these fish has been with small grubs like Zman and Bungy Baits, along with small sinking hardbodies and stickbaits. These lures fish well when let sink slowly along the bank edge or structure, and are worked back with a series of slow hops.

 


The bream fishing has really heated up as Autumn has kicked along. Traditionally Autumn is a great time to be out chasing bream whether it's local or down the road. The bream fishing throughout Gippsland has been good, as many of the estuaries that have been shut over the warmer months are now open and have some fresh water pushing down them, and tides moving the bait around and firing the fishing up. Staff member Chris fished out in Gippsland with mates and found that the bream were aggressive towards baitfish pattern hardbodies around the weedbeds.


The Gippsland lakes are starting to produce some large bream as the weather cools down. with the three big rivers all producing fish. The recent rain has triggered some bigger fish to start schooling for their spawning movements later during winter. Customers Luke and Luke fished the rivers recently and found some solid bream to 44cm in the Tambo. The boys found that the early morning bite was the most productive fishing, and the addition of stealth was what got the bite over the line. The boys moved into position by the use of boat paddles as to not spook the fish.


Meanwhile back in the local rivers the bream have also been fishing pretty well. The Patterson river is always a good spot to tackle a decent bream, as customer Ange has been doing. Ange has been lure casting from the shore during both the day and at night, and he has been catching fish to around 35cm. Lately small deep running crankbaits have been the most effective for him, as they bump along the bottom to entice a bite. Staff member George has also been down at Patto and has been landing fish to similar size. George has been fishing a variety of baits and has found baits like pipi, squid, and small strip baits of fish have been working when fished on very light leader and sinkers. The fish have been biting well into the night, with some as late as 11pm.


The Werribee river has produced some nice fish for anglers fishing with small freshwater yabbies. Customer Glenn from the Keysborough Angling Club weighed in two nice fish recently fishing the lower section of the river. Both of Glenn's fish were in the mid 30cm size range. Baits of shrimp have also been effective when fished around the reed edges.


The Yarra river has also been fishing well for bream. Customer Ryan has been enjoying some good sessions on the fish while fishing land based. While the water clarity was excellent the fishing was tough, with picky fish cautiously rejecting lures if they weren't sure of them. Ryan has managed some nice fish to just under 40cm on small shrimp imitations. Small stickbaits and sinking hardbodies that imitate the local shrimp have been the best when let sink slowly around the pylons and pontoons. Staff member Dylan has also been catching bream to just under a kilo in the Yarra recently. Dylan has been fishing small baitfish profiled soft plastics around the retaining walls and concrete pylons in the river. The Megabass Hazedong shads have been excellent when fished on a 1/12th jig and slowly twitched very close to the structure.



 


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.