The start of winter equals big bream
  |  First Published: June 2017

The mercury will be dropping and so will the water temperature in the Tweed this month. Generally the days are clear, barometers read high and the river runs nice and clear.

During this time the big run of sea bream into the estuary for their breeding season provides some great entertainment on light tackle. This can mean cricket scores of fish, and the sea run fish are plump and well-conditioned. I’m not usually sold on the humble bream as table fare, but these fish have a nice clean flesh and thick fillets – great to take home for lunch!

As a lure fisher, I’ll be focussing this month on bream on lures. I prefer to fish the clean water in the lower reaches around this time of year, sometimes sitting on schooling fish drifting upstream along rockwalls with them on the last two hours of the run-in tide.

Hopping Ecogear blades or small jerkbait style plastics can be dynamite. You will often find that the bite comes on the drop. If you aren’t sounding fish or can’t see them in the clear water it is best to try and keep your lures close to where the rocks meet the sand. When the tide slows try dead-sticking Cranka Crabs with the odd slight hop to get the claws going.

After the turn of the tide, I will focus my time on bridge pylons. Up your leader size here to 6lb fluorocarbon for a little more abrasion resistance. Look out for fish stacked in the eddies and try mixing up your presentations with 2” grubs and small blades as well. By-catches of trevally can often have you wondering what just happened as you get buried in the pylons. It’s great fun.

Crankbaiting the draining flats and weedbeds can also be super productive. Loose schools of bream will hang on the edges of these flats and hunt throughout the seagrasses and weed. Stealth and long casts can be the trick to fooling these fish. In lower light periods a small surface lure that imitates a fleeing prawn is probably the most exciting way to target winter bream.

The start of the run-in tide is a great time to hit the oyster racks. Use slightly heavier leader again with unweighted grubs worked through the racks, and suspending jerkbaits around the edges. Topwater lures like stickbaits or Bent Minnows are also a sound option here when conditions permit.

There you have my game plan for a few hours chasing winter bream in the Tweed. Tight lines everyone and remember to be safe and courteous on the water. It’s just lovely being out there!

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