Bream improve as jacks wane
  |  First Published: May 2006

We’ll have to get used to the colder mornings as winter slowly starts to change the target species in the river.

There will still be a few jacks around in the Tweed but they will be much harder to tempt. If you are still keen on chasing them then livebaits will be a better option than lures.

Some good-sized jacks were taken right through last winter but by much braver anglers than I.

I’ll pack the jack gear away this month and pull out the bream gear. The water should start to cool down in May and the sea-run bream will slowly move into the rivers. They normally make the push up around the full moon, but there will be fresh schools of fish moving in and out of the system right into June.

The area around the Jack Evans Boat Harbour and the rockwalls up around Fingal are excellent starting points for bream. Soft plastics normally produce some good specimens but unfortunately the tide really rips through these areas and we often lose a lot of jigheads to the rocky bottom. The Atomic 2” Fat Grubs and 3” Jerk Minnows and the Berkley Gulp range are good lures to start with.

I used a drop shot technique last year to target these fish in the deeper water and it saved me heaps of jigheads. It’s basically the same as fishing a dropper on the reefs. I tie a 1/4oz or 1/8oz weight straight onto my leader. I then attach a No. 2 hook about 30cm up from the weight using a palomar knot.

I then use one of the plastics that I have already mentioned. However, I don’t thread the plastics on, I just hook them straight through the head. I fish this rig vertically and just hop it up and down, constantly making contact with the bottom.

The fish normally take the lure on the drop, so when in doubt lift the rod straight up. We caught a host of different species while targeting bream using this technique last year and I am looking forward to refining it this year.

Yabbies, pillie cubes, chook gut and live or dead herring are all good baits to use when chasing bream. If you want to target the bigger bream, live or dead herring are the better baits because the smaller fish in the area have more trouble chewing on them.

There should be good numbers of flathead around in May as well. The colder water might mean that they will have to be targeted in deeper water.

Again, live herring is probably the pick of the baits. If you are going for a quick fish then trolling a few minnows around likely-looking flats is also a good way to catch a few flathead. If they aren’t on top of the flats then try the drop-offs.

The last of the falling tide is always a good time to chase them. Try to match the lure that you’re trolling with the depth you’re fishing. You want the lure to occasionally touch bottom so if it isn’t, pull it in and look for a deeper-diving model. The Lively Lures Micro Mullet and Rapala Shad Raps are both good lures to try.

May is also a good time to get out the long rod and floats and chase the blackfish around Boyds Bay Bridge or the Fingal rockwalls. There should also be a few tailor pushing into the river at the start of the run in and again, Jack Evans Harbour is a good starting point.


This is an excellent month to chase wahoo and mackerel around the Nine Mile and Fidos trolling Hex Heads and minnows. Slow trolling live mack tuna is one of the better ways to target the bigger fish but the tackle used must be up to the task and well serviced because the first run of a big wahoo is usually a few hundred metres.

The current out wide will have slowed considerably and chasing a feed of reefies will be a lot easier. For those interested in getting their arms stretched, this is a good month to start jigging again. Jigging 300g Chaos, Knife or Daiwa Sacrifice jigs will be a good way to find some good size kingies, ambers or samson on the wider grounds.

The end of the warmer weather is not necessarily a bad thing. The smaller day tides in the Tweed will make fishing the deeper water a bit easier and I will be able to flick my favourite little crankbaits tight up against snags for bream without having them stolen by jacks.

The Tweed’s year-round fishing possibilities become evident this month with the shift to the cooler part of the year.

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