The estuaries out along the east Gippsland coastline are fishing well at present. The holiday crowds have quietened off and water traffic is back to a minimum and the fish are eating. The Gippsland lakes themselves have been quiet however, with some rumoured blue-green algae present. Lake Tyers has been producing fish for anglers keen enough to be on the water early and late, and move about to find the fish. Customer Shane was down at Tyers just recently where he landed this ripper flathead that measured 92cm. The monster flattie took a 5'' prawn imitation, which needless to say Shane has stocked up on again.


The bream have been actively feeding around the margins of the lakes and creeks in the area, with shallow diving minnows and surface presentations getting the most consistent results. A common theme recently has been the use of brightly coloured lures to 'shock' the bream in to giving a 'reaction' bite. Where natural or ghost colour patterns may go unnoticed the brighter contrasting colours key in to the fishes inquisitive nature and the only way for them to test is by using their mouth!


Customer Ryan with some average Gippsland bream caught using small brightly coloured surface and subsurface lures, with overcast and slightly choppy conditions favoured as being the most productive.

 

Some of you may or may not have been to Hazelwood Pondage in South Gippsland over the last 12 months to try your luck on our very own 'Victorian Barra Fishery'. Things started of with a bang at the pondage and anglers were rapped on being able to successfully catch barramundi just over an hour from the city, but as we entered the cooler months of the year things started looking grim. Well fast forward to today, Victorian Fisheries have opened up an extended section of the pondage for land based fishing to all. Fisheries have confirmed that there still are barra in the pondage with fish OVER a metre in length, and that they have been somewhat confined to an area that was, until today off limits to any for of fishing.


This map from the Victorian Fisheries Authority shows the lake with restricted zones and permitted 'land based fishing zones' - with the newly opened zone in green at the top right of the map. While the access is still somewhat limited for anglers, this new section could be described as a bit of a 'hot spot' as testing has shown that the fish have been congregated in this area for some time.


If you are interested in having another shot at these fish pop into the store as the guys have been down and caught these 'vic barra' on both lure and fly and can pass on any handy tips and hot lures for the pondage, to give you a good shot at getting a fish for yourself.

 

If you are out towards Lakes Entrance or anywhere in East Gippsland and are thinking of chasing the bream then right now the fishing is excellent. Most of the estuaries are running warm and full of food items such as prawn, shrimp, garfish and other small baitfish - and this abundant food has got the bream biting. You can certainly catch a few fish by bait fishing from either the shore or in a small craft, but the lure fishing is simply too good at the moment to pass up. Many anglers have been reporting crazy sessions where 50 fish on lures isn't uncommon - but there are certainly some tricks to help boost the bite for you. Firstly, you MUST use a light and responsive graphite rod. This sort of fishing is all about control and feel and simply, with a fibreglass rod you have none. Light braided line will help you with the feel factor, as it will indicate any subtle bites or taps on the lure, and it will also get the lures to swim better - which results in more bites! 

Customer Russ tried his hand at lure fishing for bream for the first time down at Bemm River. Russ did well landing some chunky black bream in the lake, with Luckycraft 'flash minnows' and 'bevy shads' getting the job done for him. Russ looks stoked and will probably continue on board the lure fishing train now.


Victorian Tackle Representatives Gez and Mitch were also down at the Bemm doing the same thing on the bream, and they report that the bream are really going well. Using 'bent minnows' and other surface pencils along with shallow running 'jerkbaits' like luckycraft flash minnows, Gez and Mitch report that in some areas they were going a fish a cast, with many double hookups on nice size fish. Again finesse tackle certainly helps, as these fish are cruising along shallow clear flats and can be spooked easily.


Staff member Dylan also fish out in Gippsland over the weekend, with a bit of variety of fish landed while targeting the bream. Fish like this 37cm yellowfin bream were crunching surface poppers and stickbaits, with every fish for the trip taken on a surface lure. Big amounts of small prawns in the estuary really got the fish hitting the surface aggressively.


Customer Jordan with a nice 39cm yellowfin bream caught on a surface pencil from the weekend. Small lures that fit the profile and natural colours of a school prawn got belted when they were cast into the right areas. 

 


While the local bream fishing isn't going too bad at all, the Gippsland lakes is on fire for bream fishing. The fishing has been great, whether you're bait or lure fishing - but it is the lure fishing that has been very hard to beat. The warm waters of the gippsland estuaries have really geared up with lots of prey items for the hungry to chomp through, with shrimp, prawns and small gars all getting smashed. Lots of lure choices are working very well at the moment but the hardbody and surface luring has been 5 star. Anglers are reporting multiple hookups and not uncommonly landing 30 or 40 fish in a session. 


Customers Jordan and Josh fished from their kayaks recently and found that the bream were more than happy to hit their surface lures. Both the guys were fishing small surface stickbaits in the 60mm size range and they landed over a dozen fish each, with this session Josh's introducing to bream lure fishing! Surface lure fishing is very visual but there is certainly a knack to triggering the big bream to eat, and having refined tackle makes this a whole lot easier.


Now, if you've always thought bream on lures is a conspiracy, check out how much these fish wanted these 'bent minnows'. Customer John was out in the gippsland estuaries during the week where many bream like this were caught using these surface stickbaits. These premium quality lures certainly get the interest of many a bream, and now is the best time to be out using them.

 


It feels like at least half of Melbourne is away somewhere along the east gippsland or NSW south coast over the Christmas break, and rightly so - with this part of the country some of the best we've got (opinions may vary...). While the increase of angling pressure over this time does shut some of the fishing down there are still plenty of options for everyone, and generally always some fish to catch somewhere, no matter your skill level. Speaking of skill level, staff member Don is away along the south coast of NSW currently but as we expect, still getting a fish in. While not entirely a fishing holiday, Don has managed some time out to walk the local estuaries casting lures. Don has found bream, flathead, tailor, trevally and flounder taking a liking to his small hardbodies and plastics. Don said that he has been targeting the quieter sections of the estuaries away from boat and foot traffic and working slowly through an area, making sure the water is covered effectively.


Customer Jinsu has also been fishing along the east gippsland coastline in search of some decent flathead. Jinsu has well and truly got decent flathead covered with some smaller 35-50cm fish making it to the frypan, and this mega 90cm fish making its way back to the depths. Jinsu has found that 'squidgy' wriggler and paddle prawns along with 'bungee baits' paddletails doing all of the damage when slowly whipped along the estuary drop offs.

 

 

 

The holiday crowds are starting to build along the eastern coast of the state in places like Lakes Entrance. Staff member Dylan fished with some mates down around lake on Monday. The plan was to catch a feed of prawns during the night then work the flats chasing flathead and maybe the odd bream during the day.

With the amount of people around the shallow flats were fickle, with fish still about but a lot of people weren't catching due to sitting in one spot for too long. Remembering that these areas are a dynamic environment and always changing and using a mobile approach can mean the difference between no fish or a bag of fish. Many of the smaller channels and gutters held schools of silver trevally along with dusky flathead to 57cm, with larger fish up to 80cm sighted. Soft plastics accounted for a couple, but with slightly milky coloured water hardbodied minnows really did the job when crashed into the mud and sand bottom. Lure like Jackall squirrels, Daiwa double clutches and Zerek tango shads all worked well, with high UV colours the absolute standouts.

While not a red hot session, the guys managed a decent catch of prawns around Lakes Entrance at night. The prawns weren't really running as such, but they were around in large enough numbers to be caught. A good quality headlamp and prawn light were essential in picking up on the prawns as they sat around patches of weed and rock, and a decent length net handle also helped heaps in collecting the prawns from the slightly deeper water.


Jinsu Park also caught a chunky sea mullet from Lake Tyers on a Zman soft plastic which gave a good account for itself.

 

While most fisherman have stayed indoors over the last week with the heavy rain, the trout fisherman have been on a winner. The heavy rain has pumped the larger rivers full to flood capacity, with virtually all smaller creeks running high and dirty also. The initial torrent of rain made conditions borderline dangerous to fish in, but as the rain slowed up and the rivers backed off to dirty and high rather than flooded the trout really fired up.

Customer Anel loves his trout fishing and has had some ripper sessions recently, with fish to 2lb coming from streams that normally hold fish around 200g. Anel has been fishing some new lures from Duo and Bassday and doing well.

Customer Daniel has also been chasing the trout during breaks in the wet weather, with south gippsland streams providing plenty of action. Small minnow pattern soft plastics with a small 'huddle' or paddle tail have been very effective when simply wound straight back in across current. In amongst the browns there have been a few chunky rainbows to jump and cartwheel around the streams. The current rainfall should only increase the aggressiveness of the local river trout if you're keen to throw a spray jacket on.

 


Most of the Gippsland estuaries have started slowing down over the past month or so as the water starts to cool down. Bream, flathead and most other species are still being caught but not in the numbers compared to the warmer months of the year. This time of year however can be good for quality size bream, with some of the larger fish feeding up before the winter pre-spawn.


Staff member Dylan has been paddling around some of the eastern estuaries recently, where some nice flathead and bream have been caught. Most of the larger flathead have been sitting on the flats late in the afternoons with some sun to warm the water, while a lot of bream have been caught fishing shallow drop offs and ledges with small hardbodies.


Customer Brett fished out in the Gippsland lakes recently in search of some bream, with a few nice school fish around and eating the lures. Most of the fish were hovering either side of 30cm, and were hitting small hardbodies like Daiwa Double Clutch 60's with gusto. Slightly warmer water temperatures have had these fish feeding right up along bankside structure still.

 

 

While a lot of people don't seem to think there's much happening on the fishing front over the winter months - it can be the best time of the year to target fish like bream. There an still be some very tough days when chasing them, and a bit of ground work to locate the fish - but once they are found they are generally found in good numbers. Most often than not the fish are located in the deeper sections of the waterway during the colder months, so that is a good place to start looking. Customers Thao and Nick fished around the estuary of Mallacoota during the week with a few mates with bream being the main target. 

Both of the boys caught some nice fish to just over the 40cm mark using various different lures. Most of the bream were found in small schools and responded to lures being fished deep and slow. The most productive styles of lures were plastic and metal vibes along with Cranka crabs.

Thao and Nick also kept a feed of flatties in the 45cm size range while out targeting the bream. Dusky flathead this size are a very common by-catch while targeting bream in the eastern estuaries, and are perfect size for a couple of fillets.

 

 

The trout action has been good in many of the local streams and rivers recently. With Melbourne's cold and windy weather at least fishing in some of the rivers you can get a bit of a break from the wind, and sometimes the rain too. Customers Jinsu and Jordan have been fishing local rivers near Noojee in search of a few spotted river wrigglers.

Jinsu has found that soft plastics like Gulp Minnows and turtleback worms have been effective in dirtied up pools when visibility is low, while Jordan has been catching fish on a mixture of flies. Jordan has been alternating between indicator nymph fishing and also wet flies like wooly buggers and the like. Between both of these techniques the guys have been pulling some nice sized browns for the streams.

Up around the Eildon region, customer Vince has also been getting a few trout here and there. Vince has found that the most effective lures for him recently have been small spinner like the Blue Fox Vibrax, in plated gold and also brass colour. With a bit of colour to the water he has found the trout have been able to find these lures a bit easier.