Paul Thomas Fishing Profile

Paul Thomas

Sponsored Angler & Fishing Reporter

Paul has been passionate about fishing Victoria’s inland waterways for many years. He’s a sponsored angler who has fished a number of tournaments and has written fishing reports for Victorian Fishing Monthly.

Paul’s Top Tips For Eildon Yellowbelly

  • Don’t fall into the common trap of only fishing around the edges of the lake. Yellowbelly are often associated with submerged trees in deeper water, although they are often found to be suspending among branches only a few metres beneath the surface in these situations.
  • As in other storages, Lake Eildon yellowbelly tend to be schooling fish. If you catch one fish from a tree or other piece of structure, don’t move continue to put in casts and you’ll probably catch more fish. Likewise, if you take a fish while trolling don;t continue to troll away from the school, do some laps and work the area over for more fish.
  • The areas north of the wall tend to fish better for yellowbelly during the spring months. Look for groups of standing timber, rocky pints or banks and exposed banks where the water gets warmed by direct sun. Use your sounder to locate concentrations of fish on standing timber. When the water levels are rising it can be productive to fish the grassy banks.
  • A rising water temperature helps with getting yellowbelly on the bite, once the water temperature reaches 18C the fishing usually starts to improve. In contrast to cod fishing, best yellowbelly fishing tends to coincide with a rising barometer.

Paul’s Preferred Yellowbelly Tackle

  • Paul takes two spin rods and two baitcast rods with him when he’s on a yellowbelly mission.
  • His spin outfits consist of 6’6″ to 6’8″ rods rated at 4-8lb and 6-10lb. He uses these in open water and couples the lighter one with 10lb braided line and a 12 – 15lb fluorocarbon leader. The heavier one he couples with a slightly heavier line and leader.
  • Paul does a similar thing with his baitcast gear, having a lighter outfit for flicking light lures and heavier one when extra grunt is required. Lines are no heavier than 20lb and a 20lb fluorocarbon leader gives a little insurance in the event a cod eats a lure internded for yellowbelly.

Paul’s Best Yellowbelly Fishing Lures

  • A lipless crankbait is a great option and Paul’s favourite is the Daiwa Pro Vibe in natural colours such as AU or clear ghost. He’d cast these on a baitcast outfit and run the lure through the branches of standing trees. He’ll switch out the trebles for singles or assist hooks if he finds he’s having trouble with snagging. The lure is cast around the outside of the tree or through gaps in the branches and counted down to the depth the fish are holding. It’s then worked back through the structure, with fish typically taking the lure just as it leaves the tree.  
  • A 65mm Zerek Fish Trap in natural colours such as redfin or tiger pattern are good. Once you’ve found the fish, cast the lure and let it sink to the bottom then hop it back along the bottom using gentle rod lifts, just enough to get the lure working before allowing it to sink again. Continue until the boat is under the boat, then start again.
  • Size two Stumpjumpers or a Custom Crafted Extractors are both around 65mm and are excellent choices for Lake Eildon yellowbelly. These work well along gently sloping banks where they can be worked down and don’t need to dive too fast. They are also effective around fallen timber or the bases of standing trees in relatively shallow water. Paul prefers to slow roll these lure at constant speed and finds that yellowbelly will often hit the lures a few times before hooking up.

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