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By Tackle Tactics Pro Angler Luke Smith
First published: Oct 15 2018

From bream to barrel size bluefin, Luke loves fishing his home waters of southwest Victoria, while also being up for a trip anywhere around Australia to get stuck into some good fish.

Ep.6 - Bream & Mulloway

After a couple of sessions on Port Phillip Bay, chasing snapper and squid, it was time to roll south to fish the rivers for bream and school mulloway. We were again fishing with Luke Smith and also catching up with another Tackle Tactics Pro Anglers Corey McLaren, fishing from his tournament boat. I was asked if I wanted a box to stand on for filming, with both of these guys being pretty tall, and looking back at some of the footage maybe I should have taken up the offer. An early start, on what was an absolute glassy morning, and we were on the water and ready to get into a few.

The backdrop was beautiful and we were all excited to get a plastic in the water. All that was required to make for a magic day was a few fish. Gearing up for southern black bream fishing often requires light jigheads, fine leaders and a finesse approach, with slow retrieves, lots of pauses and some patience.

The frightening thing for a Queensland angler in Victoria is that these guys are fishing systems that also often hold plenty of school mulloway (and larger fish) that like to eat the same lures bream eat, that are tied onto 4lb leaders! The photos of some of the mulloway they have landed on bream gear is pretty impressive and so we began our bream session, with a chance of a mulloway.

We didn't have to wait long and Luke hooked into something a bit more solid than a bream and our first school mulloway was in the net. These fish are great fun on light gear and in these systems they can be in large schools that keep you busy for hours with bent rods and screaming drags.

I started with 8lb leader and a heavier (1/8oz) jighead, however after the boys had a few bream in the boat I was convinced to go light to get the bite. It was 1/16 and 1/12oz TT Lures HeadlockZ Finesse (finer wire) jigheads, rigged with ZMan 2.5" Slim SwimZ and scented with Pro-Cure Super Gel Scent, which makes even more difference when you are fishing these slower, more finesse retrieves.

We were fishing a mix of structure, including rubble, weed edges, rocky edges and drop offs, with a cast close to structure and then a retrieve that varied from a few hops and a pause, to a drag or shake followed by a pause. It's a matter of varying the movement of the lure and the duration of the pause until you work out what the fish want on the day. Be ready for a strike as it can come on the pause or as you begin to move the lure again.

We all landed a few bream and then the next mulloway that we came across was a really cool experience. When we got colour near the boat it had half a dozen mates with it. We're not sure if it was just the school following their mate or if they were trying to pinch the food out of its mouth. It was still a great sight to witness and it still amazes me how many cool things I see when fishing, from crazy lure strikes, to fish doing bizarre things, weird captures and the wildlife that surrounds us when we fish.

This mulloway was legal for the system that we were fishing, however all fished were returned to the water from this session to put a bend in someone else's rod. Once that fish was released we decided to head in, visit the local store with their delicious homemade treats for breakfast and then launch the boat further up the river in search of the often elusive estuary perch. I had never seen an estuary perch in the flesh and was super excited just to be fishing the waters where they reside. It's a pretty magical sport that we're all involved in and a sport that offers us so many new experiences, with every day being different, new species to encounter, new techniques to try and an infinite number of snags out there that need to have a lure cast at them.

See you on the water...
Justin Willmer

Gear List
ZMan 2.5" Slim SwimZ -
TT Lures HeadlockZ Finesse Jigheads - 1/16oz #1 and 1/12oz #1 -
Okuma Helios Spinning Rods HS-S-701L 7' 1-3kg -
Okuma Helios SX Spinning Reels -