Monday to Friday, Peter Cashman’s an unassuming, 53 year old Financial Planner who lives in Chapel Hill. Come the weekend he’s a super keen lure angler who spends plenty of time breaming in waters from Moreton Bay through to the Gold Coast.
Given Pete’s history – he’s a champion club-fishing angler from the City Hall club in Brisbane – it was interesting to spend a session with him lure fishing for a bag of five bream.
After watching an early-days AFC episode, Pete decided to shift his bait fishing skills to the lure fishing arenas. He’s not alone in the shift as readers may be familiar with names like Mick Lee, Chris Britton and Anthony Wishey, who have also spent time in the club and bait fishing ranks.
Typically, someone who’s quite capable of catching 100 bream in a session on bait has a good sense of when and where bream are located, so we took the opportunity to outline three of Pete’s favourite scenarios, techniques and tackle with the intention of giving you some ideas to try if you can identify some parallel situations in your local waters.
Pete’s good mates with his tackle sponsor, Michael Cole from Brisbane-based Austackle, and Michael came along for the day to keep an eye on how his products were performing. Austackle prides itself in supplying gear that catches fish at a fraction of the price of premium brands, so I was as interested as anyone in seeing how the catch rates compared.
To put the day in context, we fished standard BREAM tournament hours – 7am to 2pm – and recorded the lengths of Pete’s biggest five bream. It was an early morning low tide on the day we fished, followed by a medium sized high tide at nearly 11am. Pete had a good low tide, flooding tide and high tide pattern sorted out, so let’s look at how the day panned out and what tackle and techniques he used and when.
After launching at Jacobs Well, we travelled 10 minutes to Cashman’s first spot – a mid channel rock bar near the mouth of the Logan River. There was still a reasonable amount of current running across the sunken bar, yet only a couple of feet of water on top of it at its shallowest point. It rippled the water on the windless morning.
Peter likes a stealthy approach, stopping well short of the structure and manoeuvring the boat with the electric motor. I noticed straight away that he likes fishing across the current. He positions his boat parallel to the areas he wants to cast and throws slightly upstream, letting the lure tumble down with the flow.
“That’s the way we used to fish with yabbies for bream at the ‘Pin on club nights,” Peter reminisces, “it seems natural for the lure to tumble down, close to the bottom and with the current in the same manner.”
And as if to make the parallel complete, he uses a Gulp! Shrimp 2” in Pepper Prawn colour on a 1/12oz jighead and fishes it on 2lb braid with 6lb leader on one of the new Takeda Fireblade rods. It’s a 1-3kg rated, 7’ rod with a fast taper. Pete comments that he uses the same rod for plastics and topwater presentations and likes the fast taper for its hook setting abilities.
After a couple of short takes, he sets the hook on a nice fish that ate the Gulp! as it was tumbling across the rocks on the back side of the rockbar. It measures 32cm to the fork of the tail and rates as a ‘kicker’ fish in a BREAM event. A great start!
I notice that Peter works his plastic very gently – just lifting and twitching it quite slowly off the bottom with reasonably long pauses to let the fish mouth the lure.
“It lets the bream get it in their mouth properly before I wind to set the hooks,” he comments.
Nearly every drift, the lure hangs in the rocks and Pete flicks the line to free it. Obviously, you need the lure to be down there amongst the structure, because that’s where the fish are.
After another couple of drifts and no legal fish, we up and move down towards the ‘Pin bar for Pete’s second pattern.
During the second pattern, Pete points out a spot that he used to fish on the eastern side of Short Island. They’d bait for bream that are holed up in the eddies along the bank.
Not surprisingly, that’s the same pattern that we were using, except for the fact that we were controlled-drifting along the bank with the aid of an electric motor, rather than being anchored in with the sandflies.
Pete cast the same rig – a Gulp! on a jighead – up and into the eddies, and slowly swum the artificial back out, contouring the bottom.
He hooked into another of his ‘bag fish’ doing this – a 27cm fork length bream that ate the lure soon after the initial drop.
“I saw the line move and it was on when I lifted the rod tip,” Peter said.
Pete also said that there were far fewer fish than on this same bank a week ago. That’s pretty standard for the Jumpinpin area. Bream from the surrounding estuaries school there in winter to spawn and after the annual event, they disperse - sometimes quite quickly.
Still, there’s no shortage of bites. They’re mainly from small bream that are unable to mouth the lure fully. When Pete leans back, he simply pulls the lure out of the tiddlers’ mouths.
Looking at the composition of these banks, it’s obvious what’s going on. As the banks get eroded, the coffee rock and mangroves growing in it are washed into the water. These pieces of structure litter the edges and break the current. Bream find shelter from the heavy current in these structures and that’s where you need to get your lure.
Sensing the tide rising and a lack of bream in these ‘Pin channels, Pete suggests a move north to Macleay Island.
Cashy takes advantage of the top of the tide to showcase a favourite pattern of his. He pulls in to a rocky point on Macleay Island and checks the water depth.
“There should be enough water here now to have the bream up and in these trees,” he reports.
Naturally, the bream aren’t IN the trees, but it sure looks fishy in and under the mangroves that are inundated. Bream like rocks, bream like current and bream like shade, and these outcroppings offer all three.
It doesn’t hurt that there’s a 7 or 7 knot breeze blowing in from the east. Bream lurers will all tell you that fish bite better with some wind-ripple on the water rather then in dead-calm conditions.
Pete ties on an Austackle Sakana hard bait – medium running in a brown colour. He’s fishing it on an Austackle Camo Stik Rainforest 1-3kg rod with a slower action than his Fireblade. He’s still using a 2lb braid with 6lb leader, though.
He’s very specific in the structure he wants to fish. He’s targeting the windy sides of these points and firing casts alongside the structure.
Once the cast splashes down, he slow-rolls the lure along the structure. As it bumps along the rocky bottom, he pauses it when he feels it hit a rock or other piece of structure. You can see him expecting to get hit each time he does that.
And that’s how he picks up his next three bream –28, 32 and 29cm specimens to be exact – off three different points. Each of the fish ate the lure close to structure and each of them, he played carefully out and into open water – mindful not to pull so hard that he ripped the hooks out of the fish.
Pete also hooked his fair share of snags, but in the shallow water he was able to retrieve most of the baits that were hooked on rocks. He also sacrificed a lure or two to the mangrove pneumatophores that had hooks buried into the flesh of the root. That’s just the price of fishing this part of the bay.
You can see Pete’s final bag – estimated at around 2.8kg – in the factbox. It wasn’t an easy day of fishing, but if you put together an angler and some tackle that they’re confident with, then there’s no problems getting the job done.
You can see Austackle’s bream product range at www.austackle.com.au .
PETE’S BIGGEST 5
|7.19am||32cm (700g)||Gulp! Shrimp 2”||Mid Channel Rockbar|
|8.35am||27cm (450g)||Gulp! Shrimp 2”||Current on broken edge.|
|11.20am||28cm (500g)||Sakana (mid)||Flooded Mangrove Point.|
|11.45am||32cm (700g)||Sakana (mid)||Flooded Mangrove Point.|
|12.40am||29cm (550g)||Sakana (mid)||Flooded rocky point.|
Total Bag = 2.8kg.