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Bream Fishing

IMG_1465.JPG_(100-white)_2316
PathHow-To

Article by Craig McGill ( Watch )
Posted19/04/08 15:55:46 (Australia/Sydney)
This arcticle has been viewed 25293 times.
from North Bondi, NSW

Table of Contents: Hide TOC  ]

▲TopBream Fishing

By Craig McGill

Bream Fishing
Sydney Bream
It's not hard to catch a bream. Nearly everybody who's ever wet a line anywhere has caught a bream of some description. For a large percentage of fisho's their earliest introduction to fishing probably involved a four inch bream. They are widely distributed around the country, found from the fresh water reaches right through to the offshore reefs including the beaches and rocks and are distributed right around the country. They are abundant and take a wide variety of baits and lures. So it’s not hard to see why nearly everybody has had at least some contact with.

Craig McGill with Sydney Bream
Craig McGill with Sydney Bream
Catching Bream consistently and in numbers though, is a totally different story. Like every other fish Bream require a particular approach to tackle and technique that needs to be understood before they will become a regular part of your catch. These things include tackle selection, tides, bait and feeding grounds. In this article I'll give you some of the solid basics that you will have to know if you want to catch bream, on both baits and lures, regularly in our rivers and estuaries.

I don't want to bore you with the variety of common or scientific names of the different strains of bream that exist around the country. The physical differences between them in some cases are obvious and in others not so defined. They are all bream, looking and tasting much the same, and in most situations their behavior remains very similar. For most Australians, they are a cherished species with the exception of top enders who have their pikey bream listed under nuisance species along with Queenies and catfish.

▲TopFishing Tackle

Bream Fishing Tackle
Tackle for bream is the same whether for bait fishing or lure casting. I keep away from baitcasters for this purpose as they generally do not handle the light weights associated with bream fishing. Your standard outfit consists of a well balanced, medium to small single handed threadline outfit. Line class varies depending on the sort of country you are fishing. Around oyster racks or encrusted rocks I would suggest a minimum of 12lb. Over the clean sand flats or deep holes you can get away with a minimum of 6 lb. A classic example of a bream outfit is the Penn Applause 4000 coupled with a 3-4 kg pinpoint tournament rod and which I might add is one of the sweetest threadline outfits I have ever handled.

Bream
The Bream are on!
When it comes to hook selection I'd be looking at something between a No4 and 1\0 in a baitholder pattern. Mustad make a range of dangerously sharp hooks in the baitholder pattern that I find ideal for the job. The choice of hook size will vary depending on the type of bait being used. For the larger baits like a big prawn I would select a 1\0 as there's always the chance you could pick up a school Jew or a big flattie. For smaller baits like live worms, yabbies or skirt steak I select something between a No4 and a 1. By using a smaller hook, especially while using worms, you but yourself in with a good chance of picking up a whiting.

Bream
No hook is worth as much as a fish. Having said that, its amazing the lengths some people will go to retrieve one from an under sized fish. I witnessed one guy mutilate a small bream beyond recognition to retrieve a ten cent hook. There's two ways to release an under sized fish depending on where its hooked. If its lip hooked you simply grab the hook with your pliers, invert it and flick the fish off with one sharp motion. This way you avoid having to actually touch the fish which removes its protective coating. If the hook is taken out of sight hang the fish over the water and snip the line off close to the fish’s mouth, once again without touching the fish.

▲TopBait

Bait Fishing
A great Bream bait
Bream are opportunist feeders. That means that they will eat anything ranging from the rottenest oyster to accepting only the liveliest freshest worm depending on how hungry they are. It also means that they will turn predator and chase live food if necessary which is where lures come into play.

In the last few years my thoughts have changed as to whether live baits are actually always the best way to go. In water with low visibility I’ve had dead baits like steak and prawns out fish live prawns and worms on many occasions. In clear water under normal conditions live baits are definitely the way to go.

Blood worm
Blood worm an excellent Bream bait
Although bream will take stale baits under some conditions I would recommend using the freshest or live baits at all times. A bream will take a second rate bait or a fresh bait when its very hungry but it won't take the stale one when its not.

The best dead baits are mullet and chicken gut, prawns, skirt steak, chicken and pilchard fillets. The best live baits are prawns yabbies and worms.

▲TopBream Lures

Bream lures
Soft plastics a great Bream lure
Logic would tell you that for a method of fishing that relied on attracting a fishes attention visually, as it is with lure fishing, that clear water would present the best opportunities. In the case of lure fishing for bream it just hasn't worked out that way. While the quality of fish seems to be just as good from the clear water the quantities are definitely coming from the muddy water.

There's a wide range of lures suitable for bream on the market today but the one thing they all have in common is size. I have seen bream caught on lures as big as 15cm but that is exceptional and the best lures seem to fall somewhere between the 4 and 8 cm mark. Tiny soft plastic lures are currently taking the bream luring scene by storm.

Soft plastics for Bream
The worth of colour, rattles and action are all debatable but one thing that does stand out from the others is running depth. Most of the best bream luring is done in water ranging between two and eight feet. So a lure that runs somewhere between three and six feet and is somewhere between 4 and 8 cm long is ideal.

There's two methods of lure fishing used for bream - and we will talk about them now

▲TopTrolling and Casting

Trolling is done at very low speeds preferably on an electric motor. Because of the shallowness of the water that we troll in it is advisable to drop the lures back a good forty or fifty meters.

Casting is more effective if you know the river well as it allows you to cover the more productive areas thoroughly. It has the advantage of allowing you to place your lures closer to fish holding cover like mangroves and oyster racks.

Bream are an intertidal zone feeder which means they do most of their active feeding at high tide up in the shallow areas that are dry at low tide. They are feeding on things like worms, yabbies, oysters, pippies and crabs.

Bream double header
It all becomes quite clear when you examine the pattern. You pump yabbies and worms and collect crabs at low tide -- the bream can't get at these critters then but you can. Then at high tide the bream moves up onto the flats in search of exactly the sort of things you have collected. He rummages around until he finds a yabby that's looking a bit crook but its only crook because its got your hook through its back. It all happens in four ft of water.

The same applies to lure fishing. The bream is up along the intertidal zone scrounging, when a little morsel (your lure) goes wobbling by at low speed and being an opportunist the bream automatically has a slash.

At low tide the bream moves into the deeper holes and takes a break until the next high. Of course being an opportunist he will still feed at that time providing he is presented with an easy, fresh feed. They won't actively chase anything at this time so you've got to put it right on his nose. A depth sounder and a little bit of burly can be a great help at low tide.

For fishing up over the flats I would recommend an early morning or late afternoon high and the best thing about the deepwater fishing at low tide is that it presents your best chance in the middle of the day, so the two tie in well together.

The great thing about bream is that they are just so accessible to everyone.

They are great to eat and, on light spin gear, are sensational sport around the snags. But best of all they are no push-over, requiring skill and patience to catch and this makes them a worthy opponent.

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Thats a nice set of bream there, how the hawkesbury river doesnt carry them anymore
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I hope to catch one like that sometime soon :-) with your tip.
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