Tough Day Tips
  |  First Published: February 2011

Part of the appeal of fishing for bream with lures is the challenge it presents to anglers.

Anyone that has fished for bream with artificials will have experienced what breamers call ‘shut down’ mode. In short, these times are best described as periods of low activity or respite produced by environmental or seasonal changes.

Barometric fluctuations, low water temperatures and lack of water over feeding areas are a few reasons why bream can go off the bite.

But don’t despair, as there are a few tricks that can help to get anglers connect to a rampaging bream.

Go the Fluorocarbon

One of the most widely accepted finesse tactics in shallow water situations is the use of fluorocarbon line as a main line instead of merely a short leader or tippet.

While many anglers still shy away from using light 3-4lb fluorocarbon over shallow rocky areas, this technique is a proven finesse option.

Unlike opaque braided lines, fine diameter non-reflective fluorocarbon is a great way of presenting small minnow-style lures to bream in clear water conditions. Bream find it hard to detect this line when inspecting lures and as a bonus the more elastic nature of this line assists lure action by allowing the lure to bounce or wobble when being retrieved.

Small sized reels with good quality drags systems in 1000 to 2000 sizes are best for this type of use. Softer style lines are also a good choice for what we call ‘straight through’ rigs. This is where the spool is filled 100% with fluorocarbon instead of a braid and leader set-up.

Long Casts

An uncomplicated but very affective way to deliver long casts to bream in clear, shallow water areas is to simply use the breeze.

Position yourself upwind of your target and use a lob style cast to allow the breeze carry your offering a lot further and without spooking the fish. You can use this method from the shore or from boats and kayaks.


When using unscented hardbodied lures, bream can sometimes refuse the take at the last second.

Apply a wax-based scent to the sides of the lure and hopefully the next fish that falls in behind your lure will get a sniff and commit to a full-blooded strike.

Scents can also be used to refresh already-scented plastic that have been used for a while and have lost most of their flavour.

It may some weird but many tournament anglers rub a little scent on their hands and then rinse them prior to commencing a days fishing to mask human or chemical odours.

Sinking Lures

At times, you may find your crankbait is not working deep enough. Try turning you favourite floating or suspending lure into a sinking version by adding strips of adhesive lead tape in order to get that lure running near the bottom.

You can buy this from golfing stores as it is used for tuning club heads. This is an effective way to get proven floating or suspending lure patterns to depths below their normal operating range and more importantly, right in the bream’s face.

Operating depth is very important when using hardbodied lures and what works on one day may not work the next time you visit a location as the water level is much higher.

Your sinking variation can now be counted down to the desired depth before being retrieved closer to the bottom where the bream like it.

If you place the lead tape toward the back of the lure it casts further and also becomes more castable into the wind.

The Rip and Pause

Most breamers will tell you that you won’t catch too many bream on a moving hard bodied minnow. The pause part of a ‘rip and pause’ is very, very, very important - OK!

Often a one second pause or what you think is one second is not nearly enough. If you are not doing too well then double or triple the length of pauses your are using.

The rip part can and should vary quite a lot until you work out exactly what the fish prefer on any given day.

At times a short and soft creep will do and on some occasions and violent stab of the rod tip can get them going. Mix it up until you find the desired recipe for success.

The Change Up

Although you might be hesitant to move on from a winning formula, it always pays to be prepared to try different lures or tactics when things go quiet. It can be difficult to move away from what was a hot bite or to put away that lure that caught all the bream last week.

Breaming can be a day to day proposition or even an hour to hour one. This part of bream fishing is a tough one but does help to explain why I have all those lures.

If a hot bite does stop all of a sudden, try throwing a very different looking lure.

This can happen a lot when fishing to schooled bream but a quick change of size and colour frequently gets things rolling again.

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