Bream on paddle-tail
  |  First Published: February 2013

I’ve recently started getting into a more exciting way to fish soft plastics; I use small paddle-tails on the surface.

Rigging them unweighted and working them on or just under the surface is very effective on many species of fish, such as bass and trevally, and is especially good on the humble bream. Ecogear Grass Minnows are one of my favourite brands, but there are plenty of others out there.

There are many technical things to consider when fishing these plastics on bream, as this species can be very picky. Paddle-tails often come in different sizes and many colourations, but size small is ideal for bream. Pink colour is also the most popular as it imitates a helpless fleeing prawn.

Fishing for bream can be difficult at times. Finding a school of hungry fish is key, so persistence is required. Lower light conditions, just after early morning for example, seems to produce better results. However, fish will still hit these throughout the day depending on the clarity of the water.

I use a size 4 Gamakatsu worm hook, which sits perfectly when rigged properly. Rigging plastics on worm hooks is different to just threading them onto a jighead, as the hook is shaped differently to become weedless of snag resistant. Rigging them requires the hook point to be passed through the top of the head, and pushed up to the eyelet, and then the exposed hook point must go through the centre of the plastic so it sits straight allowing it to swim properly. The hook point should be lying flat along the upside of the plastic, as this is a ‘weedless’ rig. When the fish strikes hard and applies pressure, the plastics will slip down exposing the hook point for a solid hook up!

Light lines and fluorocarbon leaders of 3-6lb are ideal; bream will not become spooked from the line and will allow a greater casting distance of these unweighted plastics.

Canals containing pontoons and jetties, shallow weed beds and fallen timber are prime places for this type of fishing. Fishing really close to good structure is important. In heavy structure quick reflexes are needed to set the hook and turn the fish away from snapping you off.

Nevertheless, the most important aspect of fishing these plastics is the technique. This technique incorporates two different styles, a high rod tip with a constant medium paced twitching action, making the plastic skip across the surface, or a low rod tip with a constant twitching retrieve. Timing is everything, as good reflexes are key.

If you have a pair of polarised sun glasses, it is good to use them as they help a lot with seeing into the water, and seeing when fish are chasing a lure and about to strike. When retrieving the lure, it is important not to stop working it, even if there are fish after it, as they will get spooked. If you can see a fish on the tail and is about to take it, this is when you stop until the fish turns it head after it’s taken it, then you strike.

You must get good casts right up into and next to the structure, where the fish will be holding. When fishing in lighter conditions on jetties and pontoons, cast down the side where the jetty or pontoons is casting the shade. In most cases, this will put the lure right on the fish’s nose!

Make the most of the nice weather and try out this style of fishing. There are a lot of things to take in as it is such an effective way to fish. If you’re fishing around Sunshine Coast region before school holidays are over, drop into Hooked on Angling and Outdoors in Tewantin as they will show you how to fish these lures like the pros do!


This feisty jetty dwelling bream fell to a well-presented Ecogear Grass Minnow.

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