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 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!

 


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.

 


While there are still some crowds around the Gippsland lakes region, the fishing has been very good - especially if you can find a bit of quieter water. The whole region from Sale through Lakes Entrance and out towards Mallacoota near the NSW border has plenty on offer. Flathead, King George and sand whiting, luderick, bream, silver trevally, tailor, pinkies, salmon and prawns are all on offer at present if you're still out towards Lakes Entrance or thinking of heading down that way.

The beaches have been producing salmon and tailor around first and last light, with Eastern beach getting runs of fish to just over a kilo. The prawns have also been around in good numbers if you can find a quiet cove or bay to work, and we're currently just around the new moon so they should be easier to find. Cunninghame arm, North arm, Tambo bay and around Metung have all been good.


Customer Jordan has found lots of variety in his catch lately out towards Mallacoota. Jordan has been lure fishing with mostly 'crankbait' style hardbodies and surface pencils working the best, due to the large number of small 'school' sized king prawns in the estuaries. The sand whiting in particular have been really fixating on the surface lures when worked correctly, and most hits have turned into solid hookups after a few small modifications to terminal hardware. Big tailor to 60cm have also been blasting the surface offerings, along with deeper crankbaits worked through blue pockets and holes.

 

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.

 

 

For anglers hot on the game fishing scene, the Summer run of striped marlin along the south coast of NSW has been good again this year. The fish seem to be good from around Eden/Merimbula north to Bateman's Bay. Customers Andrew and Steve fished out from Bermagui just last week in search of these fish and they weren't disappointed. In a short 2 day trip the boys hooked up to 2 marlin, one which was lost after a 45 minute fight and estimated 100kg+ and another one boated at around 50kg. A few more fish were raised on lures but no more strikes, but during their stay they heard of over 20 fish tagged and released. The marlin fishing in the area has been exceptional, with fish seen free swimming and also herding baitballs around as well.

Staff member Dylan spent the weekend just north of Sydney last week, and although not a fishing trip some fishing was still done, surprise surprise.....Dylan took some mates out collecting prawns near the entrance and plenty of small prawns in the 4 inch size were caught. In a short hour session fishing a small entrance channel Dylan caught dusky flathead to 68cm, along with yellowfin bream and also tarwhine. The new Squidgy 'paddle prawn' pattern was dynamite when worked along the channel edges and drop offs.

 

The gippsland lakes region has had a bit of traffic over the long weekend and has been a bit slower fishing because of this, but it will bounce back between now and Easter. Most anglers have been catching a few bream hear and there, along with the odd flathead, trevally, and tailor. Water conditions are good and clear water means the fish are a bit flighty, but as usual a bit of persistence and change of techniques will normally see a bite happen. 

Staff member Dylan fished around Lakes Entrance over the weekend where a few nice bream were caught, but tougher to come by. Fish to 40cm were caught using shallow running hardbodies and slow sinking lipless baits, including the Cranka crab. Using the sinking lures around the jetties and dropoffs even landbased produced results on some hard fighting bream. 

Customer Con also found some chunky bream in the lakes during the week, with deep running hardbodies doing well. Con said that some of the larger fish were hard to pull away from the bank, with a few to 40cm making it to the boat. 

Customer Lucas had some good bream fishing with his two kids around Lakes Entrance over the weekend, with some lovely bream caught on lure by the youngsters. Fish to around the 40cm mark took hardbodies and prawn plastics around Lakes and also Nungurner. Speaking of prawns, staff member Dylan reports that there are a few to be had around Lakes at the moment. Even though the moon phase wasn't optimal over the weekend, a few kilos worth were easily caught wading the edges. A Perfect Image cree LED prawn light and scoop net were all that was needed; with less weight needing to be dragged around, which resulted in easier and more successful prawning!