Bream biting in a big way
  |  First Published: November 2014

I can't believe the huge turnaround from the last few months when hooking a bream was almost impossible, to the astonishing tallies of now, which are beyond belief.

Since way back in 2001, I have never seen such a hot bite at this time of the year and it comes off the back of an awfully quiet winter, my worst on record when it comes to bream lure angling.

Early spring has been very hit and miss. That is all behind us now and this current mad bite has caught all of us totally off guard, but we have all made up for lost time and have been very busy hooking great scores of bream while being blessed with the odd day of kind weather.

Big tallies out of season

Often I write and talk about the amazing number of bream that lure anglers can amass during a hot bite. Most people think I'm talking ‘cow pats’ and that it's impossible to land 50-60 bream a day or even over 100! For those that see it or take part in it, the reality is that at certain times of the year it is not hard to hook a bream with almost every cast. That situation arrived a few weeks back and nobody can work out why! It's almost like the bream forgot to take part in their usual winter bite and waited another 3 months to start feeding up big time. More likely, however, I think it may have more to do with the very cold winter water temperatures that we had this season that for whatever reason, delayed or prevented the usual great winter bream fishing.

Right now some of the best bream fishing can be had in the lower Mitchell River, middle sections of the Nicholson, especially the Tambo from the boat ramp to the entrance, and a few lake locations like Swan Bay, Duck Arm, around Raymond Island and Paynesville.

Bait anglers in the Tambo have said sandworm has caught them their best bags of bream in years, with most of them 1kg and around that 40cm mark. I've also watched a few cagey anglers dropping unweighted shrimp down beside jetty pylons and saw their rods bent down hard with nearly every cast.

Lure madness

Check these tallies out with all the following anglers fishing most of the locations mentioned above.

Stevie Wheeler and Owen Pierce were the first to find them with a modest two-day tally of about 60 bream to 38cm, but in all fairness they didn't sit on big schools, they went searching far and wide with soft plastics and hardbodies.

Then, Justin Dingwall and Josh Morgan went out and totally smashed the bream scoring a monster tally of about 180 fish with most of them 26-34cm and a couple of them to 38cm. Not bad for an 8am start and a 3pm finish!

Nick French and Dylan Henness got into the action and they stopped counting at about 60-70 bream each!

I sent Neil Morrison and Ray Clissold out with strict instructions to keep hooking until they stack enough bream to lose count. They had no trouble lifting in a cricket score as well as dozens of tailor that were busting up on huge schools of baitfish.

Fellow kayaker Jason Deenan joined me and we fished side by side and kept very careful count and had a great day together laughing at just how hungry the bream were, by eating nearly any lure we bounced near their nose. At one stage Jason cast a tiny black Strike Pro Micro Vibe at the same jetty pylon and in 25 casts he pulled 23 bream off it! After a long day we left the bream biting and I updated my fishing diary that night and recorded our 216 bream for the day.

They were some great memories and it was a joy to share the fun with Jason, who for the first time caught a new PB, exactly 100 bream for the day. He was not going home until he cracked the ton. Thanks to Justin Dingwall for putting me right onto the fish and to Owen Pierce who found bigger bream to 1kg in the lower Tambo just below the ramp.

Josh Smith who is a regular in the Hobie bream comps also fished the same areas and he reckons that counting so many fish gets too hard but said he landed well over 75 bream for his efforts, also caught on a Micro Vibe.

Techniques and lures

I received 2 emails from readers recently and I was asked to spend a little time in discussing how to get these hungry Gippy Lakes bream when they are so willing to eat lures.

First of all, use a small blade no bigger than 40mm and don't worry about colour or brand, they all work. If there was only one deadly colour or type of lure it would have totally and utterly dominated the market by now, so it's important to get this out of your head before you even start. Cheap lures work the same as dear ones, sometimes even better. Expensive blades should at least have much better hooks and split rings to make them worthwhile.

It's all about technique and bream respond best to small, tiny hops of the lure. Start off with constant but very small lifts of your rod tip every 2 seconds or so, but always leave the lure on the bottom completely motionless in between hops. This is the important part, because that's when the bream attack. You should feel the lure vibrate for less than a second on each lift before you let it settle again. Short, sharp, very small but constant hops of the lure, almost leaving it in the same spot by ‘tea-bagging’ if you can. In fact to vertically tea-bag a blade is the most deadly thing around. I call it the ‘Lipton lift’ or the ‘Tetley tweak’. The only change around this method should be about how long you leave the blade on the bottom. Some guys can leave it there for 10-20 seconds and more and catch fish! I can't do this and it probably costs me fish but I suggest you try to at least experiment. Do not lift the rod up with long sweeping draws of your arm that makes the lure rise 1m or more up from the bottom. I see this often with people trying everything possible to get their first bream on a blade.

Last thing, don't give up! Yes, I have rare times of a bream a cast but plenty more days of a couple of bream for 5 hours casting!

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