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 freshwater reports have been overshadowed a bit by snapper but there has been a bit on offer in the sweet water. Murray cod season has just opened up and is looking good for the Summer ahead, there have been yellowbelly and redfin caught locally and the trout fishing has been excellent still.

Eildon pondage has again been the standout if you're chasing a couple of nice trout and not fussed on either lure or bait fishing. Customer Zoran has been fishing the pondage and has been catching fish to around 2kg on a mixture of dough and powerbait. Long rods fished with mono have been the go in setting the hook on subtle bites and pickups where shorter rods simply can't.


Eildon pondage received a top up of ex brood fish averaging 4kg last Thursday, with plans for another top up before Christmas, so it is well worth a trip up. Customer Jozef helped release some of the fish into the pondage which has baited him to get back up and try to catch them. Jozef did witness some large fish caught on small hardbodies as they cruised through the shallows as they hunted for small minnows and insects. Having a spin rod rigged with a small hardbody or plastic is a good idea while you're bait fishing.


A bit further north many anglers tried their luck fishing for cod over the opening weekend. Mulwala had a large field of anglers for the Cod Classic, with some lovely fish to over a metre caught. Customers Shane and Sue Brown fished the busy lake over the weekend with tough fishing but did manage a couple of small cod casting spinnerbaits at the timber.


Customer Steve also tried his luck for the first time on the cod, fishing the Murray up around Cobram. Steve and mate Ev camped in the area and tried a few techniques on the cod, with Ev landing a 57cm fish on a large yabby. Steve tried out some lures he purchased in store and nailed a nice 60cm fish on a spinnerbait. Steve has since purchased a baitcasting outfit to get into them even more.


Reports from Sugarloaf reservoir around Mebourne's outskirts is that it has been fishing well for yellowbelly. The dam is normally reasonably quiet for anglers but can be a good spot for a walk around the shoreline casting lures. Of late the yellowbelly have been active, with warm water bringing the fish on to the edges to look for food. Customer Ryan has been catching fish to around 40cm on a mixture of vibes and soft plastics. The vibes have been a fast way to 'search' the banks for a school of fish, while the weedless rigged soft plastics can be fished back slowly and thoroughly to make the most of the patch of fish.

 

Now is the time to be out targeting the super sized flathead that terrorize the Gippsland estuaries. The warmth in the water lures the big fish to the shallows where they will soak up some warmth and pounce on anything that swims past them. With numbers of small prawns and mullet in the shallows these 'crocs' are well and truly in feeding mode.

Captain Bill and friends have been catching some solid fish out towards Mallacoota in the estuaries, and all on lures. Bait fishing can be an option for these fish, but you are almost out of the game unless you are fishing live mullet or prawn. Lure fishing using large lightly weighted soft plastics, hardbodies or swimbaits will put you in the right zone to land some rippers like Bill has. many of the fish have been around the 80cm mark which are very respectable on light tackle.

 


The land based fishing for snapper has been exceptional over the past few weeks. The normal run of land based reds occurs from late July onward but the shore based fishing has really heated up the past fortnight, both locally and out of town. Customer Taki has been chasing the reds from the rocks around the bay and his last session down towards Mt Martha yielded 2 nice fish up to 4kg. Pillies fished on 4/0 circle hooks did the job.


Customer Shibu has also been catching some nice school snapper from the shore. Shibu and friends have been from the beach along the Mordialloc - Black Rock region where fish to 2.5kg are not uncommon. Running sinker style rigs have been letting the bait move about naturally and have been attracting more bites. Pilchard has been the most effective bait along the area.


While there have been plenty of fish caught along the shoreline of the bay, there have been plenty from along the rocky ocean platforms out of town. Ocean ledges like Punchbowl have been producing snapper for the anglers out there in search of them. A bit further down the road around Wilson's Prom Customer Abdul has caught some nice fish to around 80cm. Abdul came in to store to prepare for a snapper session from the rocks and his organization led to success.


Abdul took a light rod and heavier shore rod for snapper, and caught some salmon using pilchards as bait - which were used for the snapper. The fresh fillets of salmon accounted for all of the snapper and a nice gummy which broke off at the rocks. Carrying minimal gear and catching fresh bait can be the huge advantage to catching quality fish.

 


There have been plenty of good bream caught over the past week from anglers fishing the local creeks of the bay and also into gippslands' estuaries. The estuary water is warming and the fish are becoming more and more active, with plenty of food available. Customer Jordan has been catching some really solid fish on plastics during the week, with some thumpers to 44cm nailing small grub plastics that imitate marine worms.


Customer Paul fished the Gippsland lakes over the weekend in his kayak and found the fishing a touch slow but he still managed to catch bream to 32cm on soft plastics. Paul found feeding fish sitting along silty drop offs where they were happy to pick up a 'TPR' plastic grub off the bottom. If you're unsure of how this style of grub entices fish - simply check them out in the test tank in store!


The bream fishing around the gippsland lakes has been a touch patchy, with numbers of fish still schooled up and holding from late spawning movements. There can be a bit of time in between finding fish but when found some decent numbers can be had. Staff members Dylan, George and Chris fished regions of the lakes over the long weekend with customer Daniel and while finding the fish was patchy, around 40 fish were caught on lures. A couple of fish were taken on small hard bodies but the real winners were soft plastics.


Staff member Chris took out the title with more than a dozen bream landed on small TPR grubs in motor oil colour. The most effective method that the fish were really keyed into was a bright motor oil grub fished on 1/12th jighead to help it stay right in the strike zone, which was at the base of steep rock walls.


Back around the local estuaries customer Tony has been catching some quality bream also. Tony has been fishing the Patto and landing bream to 38cm. Tony has found that fishing the river a day or so after heavy rain has been the most effective, and when the fish are biting the most aggressively. Tony has found small freshwater yabbies fished on 'C10U' or 'wacky' style hooks provide the best hook up and snag proof rate. Just remember to use as lighter weight as possible, and the larger fish are picky and will rarely eat baits with huge big sinkers attached.

 


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 trout fishing has really turned it on for anglers over the past few weeks since the opening, and there have been plenty of fish caught in the lakes during the week. The Eildon region is still well worth a drive to either fish the lake, pondage or rivers.

Customer Adam caught an absolute cracker brown from Lake Eildon recently, from the Jew's creek area. Adam caught the fish on a Yakamito 'slim minnow' in brown trout colour. This particular lure is nearly 10cm long, which shows that trout are not afraid to hit larger offerings, especially in rival trout patterns.


Also fishing the Lake, customer Mick had a weekend away with some mates and while the fishing was relatively slow there were still some nice fish caught. Mick managed a couple of browns around 1kg on the troll. Mick tried a few different options but the ever-faithful pink Tassie Devil got the job done. Something about a bright coloured lure, especially pink really gets the attention of the trout. One of the trout was hooked in the pec fin so the fish may still be running a late spawn and showing aggression towards anything in their space.


The pondage at Eildon is still fishing well for the large rainbows that have been lurking since opening weekend. These big fish will eat a fairly big lure if you are spinning, so don't be afraid to tie on something big, bright or just different to what you would normally use. Customer Nicole fished the Burke Street end of the pondage recently to land a thumping big rainbow around the 10lb mark casting lures. Fish of this size are capable of eating a lure or soft plastic 15cm long or so, and often the large 'main course' offering will get a more aggressive strike than the 'appetizer'.


Back in the local lakes, most of the suburban stocked lakes will be receiving a top up stocking any day now - just in time for School Holidays. Down at Karkarook Park, customer Ismail tried his hand at 'coarse' style baitfishing and caught a couple of small rainbows. While these fish can bite their heads off when they are berleyed into a frenzy, incorrect tackle and rig setup and the lack of a mixture of dough style baits will see most go fishless. There are plenty of anglers who catch consistently in these stocked lakes, through proper setup and persistence.

HOT SPOT: If it's trout luring you're after - the Eildon region is hard to beat. For a nice casual fish with the kids, Lakeside in Pakenham has just been stocked with 500 rainbow trout which will respond well to the coarse angling methods.

 


Many keen anglers relish the start of the spring weather, as with the warmth comes the multitude of species waking from a winter docile state. Anglers in the know will out looking for freshwater natives such as bass and yellowbelly as they become more active. This is especially true with the yellowbelly, and generally the very best fishing for them will occur over the next 8 or so weeks.


Customer David has been on the lookout for the 'yellas' around some of the stocked lakes and has been catching fish to around 2kg on lipless crankbaits. Yellowbelly really hone in on these lures and the spring 'vibe' bite can be red hot when you find a patch of fish hungry and hunting. 


Customer Ryan has also been catching some nice yellowbelly over the past week, with the biggest weighing around 4kg. Again the lure of choice for Ryan has been a lipless crankbait, but there are also plenty of other successful options for the thinking angler to try; Small spinnerbaits and jig spinners, floating crankbaits with 'double' hooks, swim-jigs, and carolina rigged soft plastics to really fish in the heavy stuff.

HOT SPOT: The best spot around for trophy yellowbelly is no doubt Lake Eildon. The northern end of the lake around Bonnie Doon is worth a good look as snow melts slowly floods the gradual edges and gives the fish plenty of food to find, and this is generally where you will find them. The next 5 or 6 weeks are the prime time, especially if we get a string of milder days.