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 estuary action has been pretty hot locally and further out into Gippsland. For anglers targeting bream and flathead, the fishing is pretty good at present - with some effort required to locate the fish but warm water and abundant food keeping the bite going.


Staff member Dylan fished with some mates out at Mallacoota over the weekend, and although the weather was abhorrent the fishing was worth it. With warmer water feeding from the creeks and into the shallow bays the flathead were eagerly waiting for a meal on the flats, where they were caught on fly and shallow running lures, and a handful on surface lures.


While the flathead were active, the bream fishing was also good - with around 50 fish encountered for the trip, up to 40cm. Schools of yellowfin bream were found on the shallow gravel bars and snags pushing upstream and were caught on various lures. The standout lures for the trip were the 76mm bent minnows in varied colours while bream and flathead were caught on small shrimp pattern flies as well. There were good numbers of small garfish and shrimp in the shallows so as usual matching to the profile of the bait worked very well.


Closer to home in the local Patterson river the fishing has been good. Over the past week we have had patchy rain which has given the river a flush and brought some easy food to the fish. With semi clear water conditions the bream have been easier to trick compared to during last week's clear tides. Customer Ronnie fished the river land based around the first gate to land some nice bream on scrubworms straight after the rain filtered into the system. The rain that has pushed in to the river has also attracted schools of mullet, which has in turn created some interest from the larger predators. Customer Goran caught a solid school mulloway after dark from the banks of the river during the week, so now is the time to be out there casting if you're chasing one!

 


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!

 


Some of the school holiday crowd head out towards the east coast of Gippsland and into NSW over the school break. With beautiful scenery and even better fishing, there's no wonder so many Victorians head out that way. Down around Bemm river in east Gippsland customer Mark got into some lovely bream fishing the lake. The lake here will continue to heat up over the next month or so, and perfect timing with many anglers heading out this way around Cup Weekend. Mark caught most of his fish between fresh prawn and sandworm on light running sink rigs.

Around the southern NSW coastline, customer Lilong camped out and fished with some mates from the rocks and wharves of the area. With a large offshore algae bloom the fishing was slower than usual, but the guys caught plenty of couta, pike and salmon using a variety of lures. Casting slow jigs and smaller plastics accounted for most fish between Tathra, Merimbula and Eden. The squid fishing in the area has also been good, with the same wharves producing both calamari and arrow squid around last light on size 3.0 jigs.


Staff member Dylan was also situated around the south coast for a few days with a couple of rods packed. With cold water temperatures, there were plenty of silver trevally, tailor and salmon around in the estuaries. Dylan spent a bit of time studying the habits of some nice luderick in the area and tried a few methods of catching them on the fly rod. After a few days of different methods, he managed to work out their feeding habits a bit and got into some. Fishing home tied 'weed' flies to fish around 1kg on the sand flats was the best method, with a handful making their way home to the table. Among the luderick, he also caught flathead, tailor, silver trevally and salmon on fly in the local estuaries around Merimbula and Eden.


Further up the coast, customer Hendrik has been putting slabs of chrome on the rocks. Hendrik has been fishing around Southwest Rocks, and has been getting cleaned up by some mulloway. Along this part of the coast the mulloway range in size from big to huge! Using a few techniques, Hendrik has landed fish to around 1.1m. Fishing live baits of mullet and pike has been getting the attention of the fish, with scary big fish earning their freedom back in the reef also. Another popular method along this part of the coast is casting big hardbodied lures and swimbaits to likely areas where these predators hunt.

 


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.

 


While the windy weather of late hasn't been great for the boat based fisherman wanting to get out in the bays, the local estuaries around the bay and further afield have been producing some good bream. The mixed freshwater in the local systems has stirred them up enough to get the fish fired up and give anglers a bit of cover. The Patto has been running hot with the bream of late, even though it hasn't been getting fished that much.

Customer Tony got down to the river recently and caught some nice sized fish among the canals. Tony was fishing small live freshwater yabbies on fine gauge hooks on light leader to fool fish up to 39cm. 


More anglers having success in the Patto have been using mixed techniques. Customer Tony fished the main river near the end boat ramps during the week to land bream to around 35cm. Tony was using shrimp and freshwater yabbies on a basic running sinker rig. The main river has been seeing a lot of attention for mullet fisherman of late, and a lot of the berley and commotion also brings the bream around for a feed.

Customer Jake has been landing some chunky fish on lures in the canals. Jake has been using a mixture of hardbodies and plastics to land the cunning fish, but his persistence and belief that the fish will eventually eat a lure is also a vital skill to employ on such tricky fish. If you're into your plastics and lure fishing, make sure you pop into the store and check out some of the new lures available.


Down the road the Gippsland lakes have been fishing hot-and-cold for the bream. Being such a large system, the fish can be at the complete opposite of where you're fishing - especially if you only fish a few locations. Generally at present most of the bream and lower in the systems, where they school up in preparation for spawning. They can be frustrating to tempt when in such a mood, but cycling through different lure and bait options will see you eventually gain success. Customer Paul was down in the lakes system recently and found the the fish were keyed onto his plastics, with the newest model UV loaded 'Squidgies' being the most effective.


In the same part of the world angler Pat got into some nice bream. Pat was fishing the 3 rivers out in the Gippsland lakes and caught his brace of fish on fresh sandworm.