We were told by one of our friends that Bemm River is a very nice place for fishing, therefore we have decided to make a trip there to check it out.
Bemm River is approx. 420km away from Melbourne CBD, which would take a good 5-6 hours of driving depending on the road condition and weather, also whether you will be towing or not. It is a very small township in East Gippsland with a population of less than 300. It has a pub, a caravan park and a store, the closest petrol station would either be at Orbost or Cann River. Although, it is a small township, but don’t let its size fool you, as Bemm River is also known as ‘The Bream Capital’, renowned for its great bream fishing! There are many tourist who would travel here just to fish for bream, either recreational or competition.
We’ve chosen to stay at the Bemm River Caravan Park’s powered site. During the time of our stay, our fee was $25 per night, which was considered to be quite reasonable, given the nice environment, with clean facilities, friendly neighbourhood and friendly staffs. To many pet lovers, this caravan park has advertised itself as being pet friendly, we have seen the managers with their dog on site, and many other campers who brought their beloved dogs along. Even though, it is a pet friendly site, the grass camp sites has been kept clean without droppings everywhere, we didn’t stayed in their cabins, and hence, cannot comment on their condition.
On the next day, we went down to the local store for some bait, and more importantly, some local fishing knowledge. There are two main boat ramps in the area, one near the Bemm River Hotel, and the other between the Hotel and the caravan park. Both were facilitated with cleaning tables and water hose, which is very considerate for people to clean their catches at the end of the day. Many seagulls and pelicans awaits for leftovers in the area and it can be quite an interesting sight! For those who don’t have a boat (like us), you can either choose to hire a boat or simply fish at the jetty near the boat ramps.
We first tried in the afternoon, one of us did managed to catch a small size bream, which we had to release. Other than that, we haven’t had much luck with it, after all, bream is one of the smarter fish out there, and the water was clear. So, we have decided to try again in the night after dinner.
It was dark and obviously not many people liked the idea of night fishing, but we thought we would give it a go anyway. There were a lot more activities in the water at night comparing to day time, where there were mainly prawns and small fish splashing in and out of the water surface. We haven’t had much luck with both lure or baits, not to mention there were a lot of sea weeds and rocks underneath. It was getting late and my patience was wearing thin, but my friend, Sean was encouraging me not to give up so easily. So I was going to do one last cast with a worm bait and was I glad that I did! It was when I started reeling my line and suddenly I felt there was a bit of a struggle at the end of the line, I wasn’t so sure at first, but as I reel the line in faster, the clearer the struggle. We were both delighted when we see the fish surface on the water, it was a legal size Flathead! We were both very excited, especially myself as this was my first ever night catch! It was late at night, so we quickly cleaned the fish and went back to camp.
The next day, we asked our neighbour Glenn and Deb to show us how to properly fillet a fish. They were very kind not only to show us how to fillet our fish, but were generous enough to even share their catch with us to taste! They are also travellers on the road with their dog, Buddy. So they also shared with us some of their knowledge and insights about travelling on the road. We tried to extend our catch, but the wind was picking quite quickly, and even we gave it a red hot go, we couldn’t add more to our tally.
Sadly, it was time for us to start packing up and leave. Yet, we were blessed by the short amount of time we have spent here at Bemm River, blessed by the fish we caught, and more importantly, the wonderful people we have met here, especially our neighbour Glenn and Deb. We hope to be able to meet them again on the road in the future.