Winter fishing is starting to come alive again! Getting on the water at 5 o’clock in the pitch black, rugged up from head to toe, is what makes it so much fun.
Another thing to be excited about, especially for me, is the winter bream. The chance of hooking and catching a 40cm+ bream is on the increase as they begin to feed prolifically for spawning.
Over the past two years I’ve started to get right into fishing for bream with lures and I find it one of my favourite styles of fishing. Larger, much wiser bream however, can be quite brainy and it can sometimes take some skill and knowledge to trick them into taking your lure. I fish the Noosa River, but this can relate to any tidal system down the South East Coast.
I’ve target bream mainly in Noosa Waters and Noosa Sound. The main structure here is jetties, but other bream attracting structure include overhanging trees, gravel patches, shallow sand flats, around mangrove systems, rock walls and also under moored boats. This covers a large portion of the river but that’s just what makes bream fishing enjoyable, as they can be found nearly everywhere!
Some key points to remember about bream and their surroundings is that they are quite smart and will try their best to bust you off on some kind of structure. They are also hard to fool in clear water.
They like ‘shady areas’, especially on a fine and sunny day. Shade casted off overhanging trees, jetties and boats is where the bream will cruise around in, as this is where they feel safe and secure.
I have found fishing for bream toward the end of the incoming tide is the best producing, as they begin to move back toward the jetties to chew on any bait that has tried to move in. Also fishing dawn and dusk are the peak surface luring times, which has to be my favourite way to fish for them.
Larger bream can be smart, and hide in dense structure. After a good cast is landed at the back of a jetty and you hook one, it is quite easy for them to bust you off on an oyster pylon or whatever sort of structure it may be.
If fishing for bream in deeper water, whether you’re using plastics or deep diving hardbodies, a sounder can become a very helpful tool. Locating the fish on the bottom, then bouncing a plastic over the bottom or slow rolling a small deep diving hardbody over the structure, will get you ‘in the zone’.
Choosing the right gear for bream fishing is important. With all fishing, your rod, reel, line, leader, boat and angler must all work in harmony; otherwise your fishing won’t be successful.
Firstly, make sure your rods are made of quality, lightweight graphite, that allow for exceptional sensitivity. Rods with excellent sensitivity will assist you to feel even the smallest hits, and at the end of the day, you’ll end up with a lot more fish!
Rod setups should usually range from 2-8lb, matched with a 1000-2000 size small profile and lightweight reel, with good components.
With a good reel, it’s important to have a spool of thin diameter braid, such as 4lb Sunline Super PE. This braid is super abrasion-resistant, and is very sensitive, making it an ideal choice for bream.
It can be expensive, but a good outfit (rod/reel/braid) should cost starting around $350-400. Personal preference however will always influence what people buy, which is why there are so many brands out there to choose from. But remember for your bream set up, think ‘lightweight’ and choose carefully.
We can’t forget about the leader! I generally use 4lb fluorocarbon leader for bream, but if needed when fishing denser structure, it doesn’t hurt to use 6lb and even 8lb leader just in case. Although, you will notice the lighter leader you fish with, the more hits you will get.
My lure boxes have now nearly been fully converted for all bream fishing situations. The collection includes small profile surface lures, shallow and deep diving minnows and chubbies, blades/vibes, sinking and suspending stickbaits, and a good range of soft plastics with jigheads to suit.
Bream can be quite picky, so it is ideal to have a good variety of lures, of different colours, to cover all situations. My favourite lures at the moment for bream are Ecogear Grass Minnows in the okiami colour, Ecogear PX45 for surface fishing, and Z-Man 2.5” Grubz in bloodworm colour.
To narrow down my bream lure choices, I use these general rules:
• If the water is clear, use natural coloured soft plastics and hardbodies with a translucent finish;
• If the water is dirty, use very bright or very dark coloured lures as this creates a silhouette in the water and makes it easier for the lure to become noticed by a hungry bream. Also use lures like blades or vibes, or even lures with a bit of rattle to grab the attention of the fish;
• Use surface lures in low-light conditions. Surface bream fishing is great fun. The most important thing to remember, whether using a ‘walk-the-dog’ style lure or a popper, always have a 5-10 second pause in your retrieve.
• At low tide fish will move to deeper holes and gravel patches. This is where lures such blades or vibes, deep diving minnows and chubbies come into action. The best retrieve is a constant slow roll.
• Use lighter weighted jigheads of at least 1/20oz in size or lighter when fishing near jetties or shallow structure. However, if fishing in slightly deeper water, use 1/16oz to 1/8oz in size.
It is very important to fish finesse for bream, or in other words fish slowly. If your lure retrieve is too fast it will just spook the fish and your fishing will be unsuccessful.
Also, if you have been constantly working a lure and not getting any fish with it, change up. You may even go through a few different styles of lures until something begins to work. This is why it is good to have a decent selection of lures if a situation occurs like this.
Bream fishing will be in full swing soon, so if you’re keen to target them, make sure you have the right gear and a good lure selection to suit. Also practice catch and release fishing as we want this great species to thrive! It feels good to catch the fish, but even better to take a nice photo and release them back into the water.
If you’re fishing the Noosa River area drop into Hooked on Angling and Outdoors in Tewantin and find out from the friendly staff on what gear to choose from and what lures are working best in the area, and you’ll be pointed in the right direction for a successful fish. See you on the water!Reads: 1957