With the temperature dropping and the days becoming shorter, we all know bream season isn’t far away. When I think of winter breamin’ it conjures up images of cold dark nights spent down the Jumpinpin, chasing that ever elusive monster bream.
There are two species of bream in Queensland, pikey bream and yellowfin bream, and they both have a legal minimum size of 23cm and no bag limit.
The best bream bait depends on where you’re fishing and the conditions on the day. Personally, I have found that setting up a berley trail before fishing is the best option. Just remember that it’s important to maintain a steady stream of berley trailing from the back of the boat if you want a good fishing session.
The fail-safe baits for me are chook gut and strip baits, although in some regions fish can be quite picky in what they’ll approach. In the case of bream I would suggest local baits, such as prawns, worms and yabbies.
When bait/lure fishing, I have found two rigs particularly useful when chasing bream.
For baitfishing, I like to use 6lb Fireline running through a small ball sinker and then tied to a small black barrel swivel. From the swivel, I tie 12lb Vanish fluorocarbon trace to a 2/0 Mustad long shank hook. All knots in this rig are either locked half blood knots or Pitzen knots. Both these knots are easy to learn and are extremely effective in the field.
When lurefishing I use 6lb Fireline, bimini twist to 12lb Vanish fluorocarbon and use a perfection loop to ensure a free swimming motion for the lure.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast are blessed with a multitude of prime bream hot spots.
The first location, the Tweed River, is an hour’s drive from Brisbane, and has easily access for both land-based anglers and boaties. The Tweed has all the structure that bream like – leases, rock bars, weed beds and fallen timber. The Tweed River begins just shy of the Queensland border, so to fish here you’ll need a NSW fishing licence, available from most tackle shops.
The Tweed River is noted for producing quality bream. A particular spot that fishes well is the Boyds Bay Bridge, especially during winter. This location has excellent structure for bream and regularly produces quality fish. The entire Tweed usually fishes very well for bream during the cooler months, and this superb waterway is definitely worth exploring.
The Jumpinpin region has been regarded as one of the best bream fishing grounds in the Brisbane area. For the last 20-odd years fishermen have flocked to this area to chase bream during the colder months. The ‘Pin has weed beds, sand banks, rock walls and oyster leases, and it produces extremely well throughout winter. It’s a consistent producer for the rest of the year as well. The eastern side of Crusoe Island along the rock wall, closest to the yellow beacon, fishes well in the right conditions, especially early in the morning and at night.
Another spot in the ‘Pin system that fishes well during winter is the channel which runs at a right angle to Little Rocky Point, near the mouth of the Logan River. This area has heavy structure which holds some nice fish. When motoring through this section, beware of the un-prop friendly bottom. I found that out the hard way!
The rock walls of Mooloolaba have been a consistent producer of excellent tablefish for many years, and during the cooler months there’s an influx of tailor and bream that come to spawn. Mooloolaba’s walls are easily accessible for both land-based anglers and boaters. This region fishes particularly well on the right tide and moon phase, and it’s famous for its catches of trevally, tailor and jewfish.
Fishing ‘light’ is the way to go, as bream can be quite finicky. When baitfishing I use the smallest sinker possible, in an attempt not to spook the fish upon striking.
Chemically sharpened hooks are the norm, usually long shanks or bait holders in the smaller sizes such as 1/0, 2/0 etc. The list of effective plastics and hard-bodies is endless, with new shapes and colours flooding the market, so I will leave the selection up to you. Light spin gear is usually the way to go, although a good estuary set-up with a small Alvey is great too.
Breamin’, whether it’s land-based or from a boat, is fun for anglers of all ages. The beauty of chasing bream is the by-catch, whether it’s whiting, dart, trevally, tailor or even the odd jewfish. All these species make for an exciting experience, especially on light gear, so get out there and have a crack at some of the big winter bream over the coming months.
Until next month, good fishing to all you junior anglers out there.
1) A Gold Coast bream caught on a Berkley Bass Minnow.
2) Felled timber, a breamin’ hot spot.
3) Vertical structure such as pylons are great places to target bream.Reads: 17001