The next target species in our kids fishing series is an estuary staple, bream. Bream were probably the fish I targeted the most when I was going up fishing the Crookhaven River, they bite and fight hard so they are great fun for kids to catch.
Whether you’re casting lures for them or using bait you can catch monster bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri) in local estuaries and off the beach in the local area. Bream can grow up to a whopping 54cm or 3.6kg and I’ve landed them over 2kg in both the Crookhaven and Shoalhaven Rivers.
You will catch both black and yellowfin bream locally. The black bream is commonly referred to as the blue-nose bream or southern bream and is found in brackish and fresh waters of estuaries and rivers. In southern NSW the black bream is often confused with the yellowfin bream as their range overlaps. The yellowfin bream has whitish-yellow ventral and anal fins, as opposed to the black bream, which has greyish-brown/black ventral and anal fins.
Bream of all species are quite timid and very sensitive to light and sound. Try keeping unnecessary noise to a minimum. Some of the best live bait items include yabbies, prawns and bloodworms; fresh tuna, slimy mackerel, mullet gut and even skirt steak proves very effective as baits. Bream also love smashing both soft plastic and hard bodied lures, perhaps the most exciting way to catch them is using surface lures.
This week I’m joined by gun bream lure fisherwomen Charlotte ‘The Reel Blondie’ Doherty who is a member of the Pro Lure Australia Pro Team. Here are Charlotte’s Top 5 tips for lure fishing for bream.
No.1: Charlotte’s favourite way of targeting bream is on soft plastics and her go to lure is the Pro Lure Motor Oil Grubtail on a lightly weighted jighead roughly a 1/16th or slightly lighter or heavier depending on the depth and how fast the tide is going. Your local Pro Lure dealer locally is Totally Immersed Water Sports on the Princes Hwy, South Nowra.
No.2: 99.9 per cent of the time Charlotte is targeting bream it’s out of her Hobie Kayak so she loves to get in close to moored boats and jetties casting as close she can, letting the plastic sink to the bottom then with a rather slow retrieve she adds in a few little lifts and pauses with slow winds, usually on the pauses is when the bream will attack!
No.3: Charlotte likes to add scent to her lures and she uses a particular brand called Dizzy Scent. In their range my favourite scent is the garlic. Smear the scent over soft plastics and hard bodied lures which helps get more attention from the fish as they can now smell and see your lure as well. In the Shoalhaven and Crookhaven rivers Jonno recommends using Sax Scent in the Gold Prawn or Crab to get a bend in your rod from a big bream on a lure.
No.4: Another technique that is great fun is using surface lures for bream! Charlotte likes to use the Pro Lure Surface Pencils. A few spots to target them are on the sand flats, weed beds or any structure, just casting out as far as you can and work the lure back moving the rod tip from side to side with little flicks so that it imitates a bait fish, making sure to give pauses in between. St Georges Basin is a great spot to chase bream using surface lures. Greg Reid from Bay and Basin Sports Fishing also recommends a walk the dog retrieve, remember “no wobble, means no gobble”.
No.5: Casting Pro Lure Shallow or Deep diving cranks is another great way to catch bream, slow winding them along weed beds, sandy flats, rocky drop offs where they like to hide up waiting for bait to drop down, and structure like pylons & racks that have oysters growing are places you would have the best chance of catching bream from. Don’t forget that just because you may not catch a bream first cast doesn’t mean they aren’t around. Make sure to check your local tides - incoming tides are always great to fish as it washes all the bait in and that’s when the fish are most likely feeding.
Charlotte hopes that some of these tips can help you to catch some of the feisty bream our river systems hold! If you would like to follow Charlotte for more tips and photos make sure to check her out on the Facebook page Charlotte -The Reel Blondie.
In terms of tackle when fishing for bream we recommend a 1000 size reel (Shimano have a great range to choose from), a 2kg to 4kg light spinning rod (Jonno recommends the 7ft 2” Finesse Bream Raider Rod from Shimano) and 3kg fluro carbon line. Another good option is to use mono line in a 3kg breaking strain straight through to the lure or bait rig.
Next week I’ll give you my bait fishing tips for catching big bream with the kids over the school holidays.