DARE TO COMPARE!
FOUR years ago, if an angler had tried to convince me that luring bream compared favourably in any way to the use of bait, I would have thought that he not only had rocks in his head, but sand and gravel as well. Today I’m glad I never made those thoughts public, because eating my words might have been a little rough on the gums!
I admit that bait will take out the numbers award during the Winter bream season, along open, clean channels, sand bars, flats and blind gutters. Fish in these areas are inclined to be more in forage mode than the ambush approach, I reckon. But there are certainly plenty of situations where lures come into their own!
THE RIGHT CONDITIONS
I have long been sceptical of some of the hard and fast rules applied to bream angling regarding how, when and where is best. Traditionally, the ‘prime times’ include early morning and late afternoon sessions, and fishing the days leading up to, and after, both the new and full moon phases.
If only it were as simple as that! Sure – these are good times and tides, but the quality of the fishing also depends on the location and season. So let’s keep an open mind and consider other factors, such as:
• food availability and accessibility;
• water quality, clarity, salinity and temperature; and
• shelter – bridges, rock walls, jetties and pontoons, oyster racks, weed beds, rocky shoals, submerged timber overhanging greenery, uncut banks, drop-offs or the hours of darkness.
Now let’s look at these factors in more detail. I’ve included diagrams to help you out.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
Bream find well-presented artificials irresistible. I have been extremely impressed with the number and quality of fish I’ve landed between the hours of 10:00am and 2:00pm on clear, sunny days. In my experience, those areas containing vast amounts of structure within close proximity to major ocean currents produce good numbers as well as quality fish.
In and around natural and man-made structure is where the use of artificials really comes into its own. Bream forage in amongst the marine growth of such structure, but the very same structure also offers these predators perfect ambush points from which to pounce on small fish and other mobile marine life. But bream don’t just position themselves in areas where they can hide for an ambush – they also take care to select an area where their prey has little room to move or escape.
Targeting the feeder creeks of our local estuaries in the very early stages of a receding small high tide can, at times, also be extremely rewarding.
Luring bream during the day usually means covering a fair bit of ground. Once you’ve taken a fish from a particular spot, seldom will a second victim fall immediately afterwards – and that’s one reason why luring bream at night is a viable option.
Not much has been written on night luring for bream as yet, and so far this method has been attempted by very few anglers. However, I have found that luring bream at night has its advantages. The fish don’t tend to ‘spook’ as much, so you can anchor in one area and take several fish in a short time. Additionally, you don’t need to perfect your technique and are not restricted to specialised tackle.
Luring bream is challenging but also very rewarding, and it certainly opens up a wide range of possibilities that you may never have attempted when following traditional techniques and using bait. I have to admit, if I’m under pressure to provide a feed of fish for the family barbecue I’ll be out on the water at dawn with a fresh bait on the hook.
But that’s the only time I’ll resort to bait these days!