BREAM ON LURES? YOU BET!
Bream a wintertime species that doesn’t take lures? No way! Let’s look at how to lure a summertime bream.
I THINK that scribes who’ve penned stories about the ‘wily’ bream had every right to do so. Lots of times, bream can be shy and timid feeders, especially in bright light and clear water, and when competition for food is low. But I don’t think those worthy anecdotes were chronicled after witnessing a pack of hungry bream peel from cover and shoulder each other out of the way to eat a wiggling piece of plastic.
Don’t expect similar bream encounters every time you target them on artificials, but do expect to catch fish and to experience some excellent sight fishing opportunities.
There are no secrets to luring a bream, and being successful is simply a matter of putting a few pieces of the puzzle together. Let’s look at some of the things you can do to enhance your chance of a bream snaffling your lure.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
In the wintertime, bream frequent river mouths and estuaries, so where do you think they go in the summer? Easy, back up the rivers, so the best places to target summer bream are in the tidal reaches of our coastal rivers, right up to the brackish water reaches.
A few places, such as Caloundra and the Brisbane River, have a summer run of bream at the estuary mouths, so it’s a case of keeping an ear to the ground and fishing the locations that are likely to hold fish. After all, you won’t catch a bream on a lure if there aren’t any there.
Some of my favourite spots within a couple of hours’ drive of the CBD include the Brunswick River (from the Highway bridge to Mullumbimby), the Tweed River (Chinderah to Murwillumbah), the Nerang River canals, the Coomera River (around Sanctuary Cove), the Pimpama River (upstream of Diamond Head), the Jumpinpin’s smallest offshoot creeks, the mouth of the Brisbane River, and the upstream reaches of the Maroochy and Mooloolah Rivers. Check these out as places to start if you need something to work from.
LURES AND TACKLE
If there’s only one point you remember from this article, make it this one: bream love small lures. Throwing a barra-sized minnow at a bream will scare it off. Something half the size of your little finger, though, will be easy prey for these relatively small-mouthed predators.
So, you should always use small lures, with 5cm being the upper limit of my bream selection. Floating minnows are always a good choice and I’ll explain the reasoning for this a little later on.
The catch with small lures is, however, that you’ve got to use light threadline tackle to throw them. Baitcasting experts will toss a small bream lure in good conditions, but when the wind picks up or you’re trying to fling a long cast in ultra-clear water, you really do wish you were using a threadline.
A five to seven-foot light-actioned rod coupled with a small threadline reel is ideal, and if you can match this with a fine diameter mono or fused GSP line, all the better. Using a leader stronger than the main line and made of clear monofilament is also recommended. You’ll be throwing lures at structure most of the time and even small bream can rub you off if you aren’t protected in this way.
Tie the lure on with a strong loop knot and you’re in business.
Recently, I’ve been modifying my bream lures, to decrease hang-ups in the snags, with no ill effect on bream hook-ups. It simply involves removing the lure’s middle treble (if it has one) and replacing the remaining tail treble with one of the chemically sharpened variety.
Why do I do this? When you observe the way a bream takes a lure, it’s invariably by swimming up behind it and plucking at the tail. Often the take is very gentle, if it’s a solitary fish, but sometimes, if there’s a few competing for it, it’s a more violent strike. In this situation, bream almost always hook up on the tail treble, and if it’s chemically sharpened, the chances of it holding are increased.
The middle treble’s great for grabbing snags as it wobbles over them. Take it off and you reduce your snag-ups without affecting your hook-ups on bream.
Floating minnows are useful because you can work them down into deep cover and then let them float up and over it.
TIME, TIDE AND TECHNIQUE
I had always favoured run-out tides for my bream luring because I’d always fished small creeks with shallow mangrove flats that filled at high tide, taking with them the bream and food into unfishable positions. As these flats drained into the creeks on the run-out, the bream would drop back and wait for the food to come to them. It was a simple matter of casting your lure to logical ambush points – such as creek mouths, bankside snags and bridge pylons – to tempt fate and hook bream.
Then I discovered oyster leases and retaining walls. These were structures that fished as well (if not better) on the floodtide because feeding fish can’t disappear from casting range.
So, as it presently stands, anglers can work out a pattern that will see them luring bream consistently throughout the day, fishing the creeks and feeder creeks on the run-out tide and the oyster leases and retaining walls on the flood.
Aim to cast as close as you can to the structure as the bream will generally hang quite close to it.
Retrieves for bream should be as slow as the lure’s action will allow. Let the lure sit for a few seconds after it has splashed down and watch for bream appearing below it to check it out. If a bream or three materialise, just the subtlest of twitches may get one to tackle it; otherwise, a slow and steady retrieve can tempt a hook-up.
Speeding up the retrieve, and darting the lure away from the fish, is a great way to catch a trevally or a bass, but bream hate it. Keep the slow and steady retrieve going for the best results at the end of the day.
A great all-tide option is fishing the host of man-made boat-mooring pontoons that line most popular waterways. They provide tide-round shade and cover for the fish as well as shelter for the food bream like.
While still respecting these structures as private property, cast as close as possible to the shaded areas and work the lure under the corners and edges – and hold on!
2000 will see the first year of the BREAM lure-only circuit in the south-east of the state. A spin-off of the popular BASS series, it will feature live weigh-ins, random partner draws, and cash and product prizes. Happening between June and August, keep an eye on Queensland Fishing Monthly magazine for more details closer to the dates.
BREAM LURING TIPS
• Use small lures
• Fish creeks on the run-out tide
• Fish retaining walls and oyster leases on the run-in tide
• Take the trebles off your minnows and replace the rear one only with a chemically sharpened one.
• Use a slow and steady retrieve and don’t speed up when you get a hit.